Maple wood comes in many varieties, all of which fall into either of two categories – hard maple and soft maple. Hard maple, as obvious, is harder and heavier than the alternative. It is generally more expensive than soft maple species because of its high demand and uses. Here you can read all about the properties, types and various uses of maple wood in detail.
What is Maple Wood?
It is a popular hardwood species used in many applications such as furniture making. The beautiful look and straight grain of maple makes it a preferred choice for a variety of woodworking projects. The maple furniture looks great naturally as well as after finishing or staining.
Hard Maple, also known as sugar maple or rock maple, is the most commonly found and used type of maple wood. It’s also the one with the best properties.
Types of Maple
Hard Maple Species:
- Sugar Maple
- Black Maple
- Florida Maple
Soft Maple Species:
- Red Maple
- Silver Maple
- Striped Maple
- Bigleaf Maple
- Box Elder
Maple Wood Properties
Hard maple trees are commonly found in Northeastern North America but also grow in some parts of Canada. The scientific name for the wood is Acer saccharum. The trees are about 80-115 ft (25-35 m) tall and have a 2-3 ft (.6-1.0 m) trunk diameter. The janka rating of 1,450 lbf (6,450 N) means the wood is pretty hard. The average dried weight is 705 kg/m3, which means it is also heavy. Despite all that, maple is considered easy to work with, owing to its usually straight grain.
As for the appearance, hard maple has a nearly white or off-white coloured sapwood, which is the most commonly used part of the tree. There are mineral streaks present all over the body, adding some brownish hue to the wood. The heartwood is darker red or brown and particularly unusable. It is known for its distinct birdseye figured grain that is high in demand and cost. Other grain patterns such as curly, rippled, flame, and quilted are also not uncommon. The colour of light maple wood might darken with age and constant exposure to sunlight and oxygen. Maple looks great both in its natural state and as a stained timber.
Hard maple has a generally straight, but sometimes figured or wavy, grain with a fine, smooth texture. The wood is durable in terms of resistance to insects, decay and rot. It’s also water and shock resistant, which makes it suitable for both indoor and outdoor projects. Maple is easy to work with. The straight grain goes easy on both machine and hand tools. Though the higher density of hard maple can sometimes be a problem in cutting operations. Also, maple will sometimes burn when cut with high-speed cutters. It finishes, turners, and glues well. It can be stained but blotches can occur when staining without a pre-conditioner.
Maple is extensively used in both indoor and outdoor applications. It has good durability, which makes it suitable for outdoor uses such as flooring. It is also very commonly used in furniture making. Flooring for residential premises, bowling alleys, basketball courts, dance floors and all kinds of commercial facilities are made of hard maple. Other common uses of maple wood include veneers, kitchen accessories, cutting boards, cabinets, sports equipment such as baseball bats, paper wood, musical instruments, workbenches, turned objects, butcher blocks, and specialty wood items.
Hard maple or sugar maple trees are the primary source for maple syrup.
Availability & Cost
It is easily available and moderately priced. Hard maple grows slowly but has plenty of availability. Figured pieces can be more valuable and highly priced. Soft maple is less expensive than hard maple but shares similar characteristics, except for hardness. Imported maple wood can be slightly costlier.
Hard Vs Soft maple
The primary difference between hard and soft maple is hardness. Hard maple is harder and denser and weighs more than soft maple species. Hard maple trees grow slower, which is why their grain is tight and dense. The colour of hard maple species is lighter as compared to the colour of soft maple, which grows faster and is easily available at a less expensive price. Hard maple can be slightly more expensive, especially figure pieces such as quilt or birdseye.
How to Buy Maple Wood at the Best price online
Maple has so many species that one can easily get confused when looking to buy the best quality hard maple online. When buying maple wood, make sure to ask these questions: is it real maple? Is it solid wood? Is it good quality? Was it sustainably-sourced?
Here at CameroonTimberExportSARL, we sell top quality, all-natural hard maple wood and timber. All our wood is FSC-certified and sustainably-sourced and we guarantee the best price for our wood. We export our wood to all major countries across Asia, Europe, Africa, America and other continents. Contact us to buy the best maple wood at wholesale rates.