Both maple and walnut are solid and beautiful hardwoods considered suitable for a wide range of applications. Even though both are hardwoods, maple is far more robust and durable than walnut. While maple is light-colored, walnut has a dark, chocolaty hue, which most people favour.
If you are confused between maple vs walnut woods for your next project, here’s everything you need to know about the difference between walnut and maple timber based on factors like appearance, strength, durability, workability, availability, price, and uses.
Maple vs Walnut : Choosing Factors
There are a number of things to be considered when selecting the ideal wood for a woodworking project, whether it’s furniture making or outdoor construction. First and foremost is the wood’s hardness and strength. The best way to determine this is the Janka hardness rating. The harder the wood, the more resistant it should be to scratches and dents. Between maple and walnut, maple is the harder and stronger timber choice.
Other than that, durability is another important factor to consider, which refers to the wood’s ability to resist moisture and insect attacks. The more durable the wood, the less likely it is to be affected by insects and/or water damage.
Another important factor is the wood’s appearance. Depending on the type of project you’re making, the appearance of wood might matter a lot. For instance, furniture items such as chairs, tables, beds, and cabinets must both look beautiful and be strong. Other than that, the workability of the wood is another crucial thing to consider.
The last factor in determining the right wood type for a project is the availability and cost. Your options are probably limited to woods that are easily accessible to you and fit your budget. Thankfully, there are now many reputable, global timber sellers and exporters like White Knight Consulting Ltd. selling wood online offering the facility of purchasing wood from your home with easy & safe online payments.
About Maple Wood
Maple hardwood is a popular choice for a range of woodworking applications, including furniture and flooring. The wood is known for its durability and unique appearance. There are two primary types of maple: hard and soft Maple. Hard Maple, as the name suggests, is harder and dense and is commonly used for flooring in heavy-traffic areas such as commercial premises. The durable wood is also favoured for cabinetry and provides good resistance to wear and tear. It’s also used for making cutting boards due to its resistance to scratches. Soft Maple, on the other hand, is a popular choice for furniture making. Both types of maple are light creamy coloured. The wood offers great versatility and longevity to every project.
Maple wood is also famous for maple syrup, which is a popular syrup made from the sap of maple trees. Maple has more than 20 species
About Walnut Timber
Walnut is a popular hardwood which is known for its natural beauty and versatility and is used in various woodworking applications. Walnut features a deep, rich brown colour, which gives an incredibly attractive appearance to the finished project. It has a fine, straight grain and smooth texture, which make it easy to work with and a favourite choice for making beautiful, cabinetry, and decorative items.
There are over 30 types of walnut wood, each with its distinct properties. A walnut tree can reach up to 30 metres in height and a trunk diameter of up to 4 metres.
One thing you may not know about Walnut timber is that the wood can naturally heal its small cuts and scratches over time. It is a durable wood with natural resistance to wear and tear. It is softer than maple wood but still good enough for applications like cutting boards due to its ability to heal cuts. Walnut wood is very easy to work with and holds finishes well.
Maple vs Walnut : Differences Explained
Before we talk about the differences between maple and walnut, let’s discuss the various similarities between the two popular timber types.
Both maple and walnut are hardwoods.
Both are beautiful woods recognised for their distinct appearances.
Both are used in similar applications, ranging from flooring to making stunning furniture.
However, maple and walnut woods are quite different from each other in terms of appearance and other physical properties. Let’s explore more here.
Almost all species of maple have a light creamy or brownish colour. Some species are almost white while others can be slightly darker. The colour of maple wood remains intact for a very long time and can be further improved through proper finishing.
Walnut is darker than maple, with the wood colour ranging from light brown to dark brown or reddish. The sapwood is lighter, yellow or greyish, and easily distinguished from the heartwood. It is usually polished to enhance and preserve its natural appearance.
Walnut wood comes in many varieties with distinct grain patterns. European walnut is more prominent than American walnut. Black walnut, though relatively hard, is easy to mould and polish but it can be costly due to a wide sapwood. Walnut wood is moderately heavy, with a density of up to 650 Kg/m³.
Maple, with a density of 590 kg/m³, is slightly lighter and less dense than walnut wood. Norway maple, with a density of 620 kg/m³, has higher density, making it practical and versatile. It’s resistant to shrink and abrasion. Maple is a hard and medium-weight wood with slightly wavy grain.
Walnut wood exhibits good natural durability. It is moderately resistant to fungi and insect attacks but susceptible to termites. Walnut furniture is strong and durable. The wood is also suitable for carving and turning. It has low water resistance and is not suitable for outdoor use. The heartwood doesn’t decay easily but the sapwood is susceptible to moth attack.
Maple wood surpasses walnut in strength and durability. It is moderately durable against moisture and insects. It’s prone to biological damage but can be treated to enhance its durability. It offers good dimensional stability.
Hard maple wood has a slow drying rate and notable shrinkage is likely when drying. It is easy to nail and screw with little care. It works well with machines and is easy to cut, turn, and glue. A fine finish can be achieved through paint or polish. Maple is generally easy to work with and responds well to steam bending.
Walnut wood is easy to work with and cut. It is suitable for actions like screwing and joining and can be used with both hand tools and machines. As a heavy, hard, and resilient wood, walnut doesn’t deform (shrink or expand) easily. It responds well to sawing, turning, carving, and peeling, and is easy to polish and stain.
Availability & Price
Walnut is a highly sought-after wood, especially in carpentry. The price of walnut wood might range from 600 to 1,500 euros per m³, which is moderately expensive. European walnut is even more expensive. Despite its popularity, walnut remains affordable compared to other more popular hardwoods.
Maple’s cost varies by type and availability. It has more demand than walnut, which may drive the price up. European maple costs about 850-1,000 euro/m³. Canadian maple is more expensive at around 1,500 EUR/m³. Figured maple woods such as bird’s eye maple are much more expensive.
Walnut wood has many uses ranging from making fine furniture to luxury car interiors, inlays, plywoods, flooring, and veneers. It’s also used for making turned items like bowls, musical instruments, durable floors, interior cabinetry, carpentry, doors, decorative handles and small speciality items like toys, gun stocks and pens.
Maple is one of the most versatile woods and can be used in many applications, from furniture production to structural frames, musical instrument parts, art and inlays, floors, veneers, cabinetry, panelling and mouldings. The wood is also suitable for making toys and kitchen utensils, doors, windows, delicate items, and carving and turning.
To maintain walnut furniture and ensure a long lifespan, regular cleaning is recommended. It can be easily done using a dry microfiber cloth. This coupled with occasional wood polish application is all you need to preserve the wood’s appearance. For fresh walnut wood, using soap and hot water solution for cleaning is a good idea.
Maple requires moderate maintenance, including weekly dusting or cleaning. Remove stains immediately. Can be cleaned with warm water and soap. Avoid using chemicals or cleaning methods that can damage carvings and marquetry. Polish every once in a while.
Conclusion – Maple Vs Walnut : Which Should You Buy?
As we discussed the difference between maple and walnut based on different factors like physical properties, appearance, and uses, you should now be able to make the right choice for your particular project. Walnut is easy to use, attractive, and resistant to warping. But, it can be expensive to buy, is heavy and has low resistance to moisture and weather. Maple wood is durable, easy to use and carve, and resistant to chipping. However, maple is not resistant to weather, marks and scratches and tends to crack over time.
Buy high-quality, sustainable wood from FSC-certified White Knight Consulting Ltd. with worldwide delivery. Visit our website to explore our timber range or contact us to request a quote.