Maple is a popular, strong & attractive hardwood used all across the world for a wide range of applications, from furniture making to construction and flooring, musical instruments, and more. Maple wood is prized for its durability and affordability. Woodworkers and merchants favour this wood for its impressive looks and strength. Here’s everything you need to know about maple wood properties, types and uses.
What is Maple wood?
It is a type of hardwood that is sourced from Maple trees which can be identified by their distinctly shaped, palmately lobed leaves. It has many species, though hard maple or sugar maple is the most popular in terms of the wood most suitable for woodworking.
Hard maple, commonly known as sugar maple, is produced from the same tree that is also used for obtaining maple sugar/syrup.
Maple wood grows throughout Canada and Northeastern North America and is available easily and at a moderate price.
Types of Maple Wood
The two most popular types of maple wood are:
1. Hard Maple
Hard Maple is a type of maple wood that comes from the Acer saccharum species. It is also known as sugar maple (due to the fact that the hard maple tree is used to obtain maple syrup) or rock maple (due to its incredible hardness). Hard maple is sourced from Northeastern North America. Its trees are about 80-115 ft (25-35 m) tall with a 2-3 ft (.6-1.0 m) trunk diameter.
The average dried weight is about 44.0 lbs/ft3 (705 kg/m3) and it has a Janka rating of 1,450 lbf (6,450 N).
2. Soft Maple
Soft maple is not actually a species but a common term used to refer to multiple maple species that are softer than hard maple. They have a relatively lower average dried weight and a lower Janka rating. However, that does not mean that soft maple species are actually soft. They’re not. In fact, some species of soft maple can be as hard and strong as black walnut.
|Lower or high depending on species
|1,450 lbf (6,450 N)
|700 to 950 lbf (4,230 N)
|Average dried weight
|44.0 lbs/ft3 (705 kg/m3)
|30.2 to 38.0 lbs/ft3 (485 to 610 kg/m3)
|Easy to work with, but more difficult than soft maple
|Very easy to work with
|Average to high
|greater diversity of ray widths
|uniform medium-width rays
Exploring the Different Types of Maple Wood
1. Curly Maple
Curly maple is a type of wood that is highly prized for its unique and striking grain pattern. It is a variety of hard maple (Acer saccharum) that has been affected by a genetic mutation that causes the wood fibers to grow in a wavy or curly pattern. This gives the wood a 3-dimensional effect & a shimmering appearance that can be enhanced through polishing or staining.
Curly maple is commonly used for high-end furniture, musical instruments, and decorative woodwork. It is also known as tiger maple, flame maple, or fiddleback maple, depending on the specific characteristics of the wood grain.
2. Silver Maple
Silver maple is a type of hardwood native to North America. It is a fast-growing tree that can reach up to 100 feet in height and has a distinctive silvery-white bark. The wood of silver maple is typically soft & lightweight, with a fine texture and straight grain. It is often used for making inexpensive furniture, flooring, and pulpwood.
The wood is also popularly used for carving, as it is easy to work with and can hold fine details well. However, it is not as strong or durable as other types of maple hardwoods, and may be prone to warping or cracking if not properly dried & treated.
3. Bigleaf Maple
Bigleaf maple (Acer macrophyllum) is a large hardwood tree that is native to the Pacific Northwest region of North America. It is also known as Oregon maple or western maple. The wood of bigleaf maple is generally straight-grained & hard, with a fine and even texture. It is prized for its unique figuring, which can include quilted or curly patterns that gives it a 3-dimensional appearance.
The wood is commonly used for furniture, cabinetry, flooring, and decorative woodwork. It is also a popular wood for making musical instruments, particularly acoustic guitars, as it is known for its bright and clear tone. Bigleaf maple is a sustainable and renewable resource, and is harvested primarily from private lands and managed forests.
4. Black Maple
Black maple (Acer nigrum) is a type of hardwood tree that is native to the eastern regions of North America, including the Great Lakes region & the Appalachian Mountains. The wood of black maple is hard, dense, and strong, with a fine and uniform texture. It is typically light brown in color with a close, straight grain.
The wood is often used for flooring, furniture, and cabinetry, as well as for tool handles and other specialized items that require strength & durability. While it is not as well-known or widely used as other types of maple wood, black maple is highly valued for its strength, hardness, and beauty.
5. Birdseye Maple
Birdseye maple wood is known for its unique and striking grain pattern. It is a variety of hard maple (Acer saccharum) that features small, swirling “birdseye” patterns throughout the wood. These patterns are caused by irregularities in the growth of the tree, and can vary in size & shape. Birdseye maple wood is known for its fine texture, even grain, and creamy white color with subtle brown or reddish highlights.
It is a popular wood for high-end furniture, cabinetry, & musical instruments, particularly guitars and violins. The wood can be difficult to work with due to its hardness and irregular grain patterns, but is highly valued for its beauty and rarity. Birdseye maple is mainly harvested from hard maple trees in the northeastern United States and Canada.
6. Quilted Maple
Quilted maple wood is a type of hardwood known for its unique and intricate grain pattern. It is a type of hard maple (Acer saccharum) with distinct 3-dimensional quilt-like patterns of wavy or curly lines that intersect and overlap. Quilted maple wood properties include its fine texture, even grain, & light color with subtle brown or reddish highlights.
It is a popular wood for high-end furniture, cabinetry, and musical instruments such as guitars & violins. While quilted maple can be difficult to work with due to its hardness and irregular grain patterns, it is highly valued for its beauty and rarity. Quilted maple is typically harvested from hard maple trees in the northeastern United States and Canada, where it is known for its durability, strength, & unique figuring.
7. Striped Maple
Striped maple, also known as moosewood or goosefoot maple, is a small tree or large shrub that typically grows in the northeastern regions of North America. The wood of striped maple is light-colored with a straight and fine grain. It is relatively soft & lightweight, making it less durable than other types of maple wood.
Striped maple is not typically used for construction or furniture, but it is valued for its attractive striped bark and decorative qualities. It is often used for making walking sticks, canes, and other handcrafted items.
8. Field Maple
Field maple, also known as hedge maple, is a deciduous tree that is native to Europe, North Africa, & western Asia. The wood of field maple is hard, dense, and strong, with a fine and even texture. It is typically light brown in color with a straight grain, and is used for a variety of applications, including furniture, flooring, cabinetry, & musical instruments.
9. Norway Maple
Norway maple, also known as Acer platanoides, is a deciduous tree that is native to Europe & western Asia. The wood of Norway maple is hard, dense, and strong, with a fine and even texture. It is typically light brown in color with a straight grain, and is used for a variety of applications, including furniture, flooring, cabinetry, & musical instruments.
10. Red Maple
Red maple, scientifically known as Acer rubrum, is a hardwood deciduous tree that grows naturally in the eastern regions of North America. The wood of red maple is soft to moderately hard, with a uniform texture that is fine & even. Its light brown coloration complements its straight grain patterns, making it a popular choice for various applications such as furniture making, flooring, cabinetry, & the crafting of musical instruments. In addition to its practical uses, the red maple is also valued for its stunning ornamental qualities.
Maple Wood Properties
Unlike most other hardwoods, it’s the sapwood of maple that is primarily used in woodworking. The colour of sapwood ranges from almost white to off-white sometimes with a reddish hue. Maple wood is also famous for its variety of figured patterns, which include quilted, curly, birdseye and other grain patterns. The presence of minerals in its grain is responsible for reddish-brown tints, which can become darker upon staining. The heartwood of maple is darker, brownish-red and generally very fragile.
The colour of light-wood hard maple will become darker with age and upon constant exposure to sunlight.
Grain & Texture
The grain in hard maple is usually straight. The texture is fine and uniform, which makes the wood easy to work with. Figured grain is, though, not very uncommon. Figured maple, such as birdseye, curly, wavy, tiger, flame, rippled or fiddleback have high demand and price.
Hardness, Strength & Durability
Maple is a hardwood. Hard maple is stronger than soft one and other species of maple. It has a Janka hardness rating of 1,450 lbf (6,450 N). However, soft maple is not actually soft but only a little softer as compared to hard one. All species of maple are hardwoods.
Hard maple is one of the hardest types of hardwoods used for domestic applications. The heartwood is not durable, but the sapwood is durable enough for use in flooring and other heavy-duty applications. Maple is not naturally resistant to moisture and decay or insect attacks and is not generally recommended for outdoor uses.
Maple is generally easy to work with, though the high density of hard maple can sometimes make cutting it difficult. It glues, turns, and finishes rather well.
Price & Availability
Most maple wood types are easily & widely available throughout the Northern US and Canada and is exported to other countries, including the UK. The price should be moderate for imported wood. Hard maple and figured maple pieces are generally more expensive.
Maple Wood Uses
The above mentioned maple wood properties makes it is a versatile, strong and durable wood that comes in the mid-range price segment. It is highly versatile, which means it can be used for a wide range of applications.
The most common use of hard maple is for flooring for basketball courts, bowling alleys, homes, commercial places, & more. It is a hard and durable wood and can withstand scratches, which makes it perfect for flooring.
Maple is also used for sports equipment and kitchen tools, such as baseball bats, cutting boards, knife handles, butcher blocks, bowling pins, and more. It is strong and subtle.
It is also used in the pulp industry as a pulpwood for making paper.
Maple is easy to stain but also looks gorgeous in its natural state, which makes it a wonderful choice for interior use, for cabinets, furniture, doors, windows & more.
Hard maple is also used in some musical instruments. Other than that, it is used for making veneers, plywood, turned objects, and small wood items.
Where to Buy Top-Quality Maple Wood at the Best Price?
If you’re looking for the best place to buy genuine hard maple wood and timber at the lowest price with a quality guarantee, there’s no need to go further. White Knight Consulting Ltd. is a premier wood manufacturer & seller that can provide you with the best quality, genuine, sustainably-sourced maple hardwood in various sizes & dimensions at the most competitive rates in the market. We deliver our wood all around the world, including countries like Australia, Canada, Vietnam, Germany, UAE, South Africa, Turkey and many more.s. All wood is processed locally at our mill in London by expert artisans who work hard to ensure the finest quality in every piece of wood that we manufacture.
We not only have various types of maple lumber available in all standard sizes, but we can also make maple in custom dimensions to fit your particular needs and criteria. Contact us to know more about or explore our wood collection.