American Maple, also known by its botanical name Acer saccharum and A. nigrum (Aceraceae), is a hardwood species. The heartwood of Maple is a uniform pale reddish-brown or light tan, while the sapwood is white with a reddish tinge. It has a typically straight grain, which can sometimes be wavy or curly, and a fine, even texture. The distinctive Birdseye form has brownish dots on a whitish background, while other decorative figuring found in Maple can include fiddle back, leaf, blistered and burr. American Maple is a strong and durable wood species, making it suitable for a variety of applications.
Rock Maple, White Maple, Sugar Maple, Black Maple, Hard Rock Maple, Black Sugar Maple
Although American (hard) Maple is more durable than some other maples, hard maple has little natural resistance to insects and fungi, and can be attacked by common furniture beetle. The sapwood is can be treated, but the heartwood is resistant.
The drying and seasoning of Maple (American) is dependant on a number of factors; the speed in which it is processed after felling and logging, the method of drying and the specific kilns or location (if air dried). Generally the care taken by those processing the wood will have an impact on its drying and seasoning. As an overview; Maple (American) - It dries fairly quickly, but fast drying can cause severe warping. Shrinkage is common and ring shake can occur. The wood is dimensionally stable in service. Please note that all wood is liable to move when in service plus there can be dimensional change. The extent of this will depend on; the stability of the species itself, the conditions it is exposed to, the coating, decoration and protection. You will find more information about the suitability of this wood, for any proposed application, by using our interactive system and the filters shown.
Maple has medium stiffness, is rated high in all other strength categories and has very good steam-bending qualities. The wood has a tolerable blunting effect and can be quite challenging to work with. Sawing and planning can present challengingy but the wood turns, drills, moulds well. Requires pre-drilling for nailing and screwing. Polishes, oils and stains to high quality finish.
Furniture, musical instruments and interior joinery. Because of its resistance or abrasion, hard maple is suitable for heavy-duty flooring, and is used for roller-skating rinks, dance floors, squash courts and bowling alleys. It is also used for butchers' blocks, rollers in the textile industry, sports goods, casks and woodenware. Select figured stock is peeled for bird's-eye figure, or sliced to make fiddle back, mottled, cutly or blistered veneers.
Maple bestows the spiritual lessons of change, communication, and even rebelliousness. Known as a traveller's wood, maple will have you adapting, learning and growing in many ways.
Possible Health Risks:
Slight affects to breathing caused by dust.
Wood Worker's Thoughts:
Although a very hard timber, it finishes very well and sands to smooth, almost satin sheen.
Commonly asked questions about American Maple Wood
Is Maple a hardwood or a softwood? Maple is a hardwood. It is the same for; is American Maple hardwood or softwood? - American Maple is a hardwood.
Most groups/families of species share the same characteristics but this normally relates to their life as plants. Individual species do not always share the same characteristics as their relatives, in terms of the wood. Many factors influence how we use the wood and what we use it for, including where it grows, how it is forested, how it seasons/dries, etc. The answers to the following common questions, therefore relate to this particular species/wood and not the Maple family as a whole. Even more specific – our answers relate to the wood (as we know it) in its form as a useable resource.
What colour is American Maple? American Maple can be described as light brown, white/cream (very light brown)
Is American Maple good for outdoor use? or is American Maple good for exterior use? American Maple is most suited for interior/interior use. American Maple can be used as an exterior/external timber (without treatment).
Whether the wood is naturally durable or not we would still recommend that it is decorated and/or coated with a suitable product to provide protection and/or maintain its appearance. This even applies when using the wood internally as, even subtle, changes in temperature or humidity will affect the wood. This will depend on the application/purpose of the wood and the user’s desired appearance. We also recommend that a recoating, care and maintenance programme is adhered to, for the life of an exterior wood. Wood cannot rot if it is kept dry – coatings and decoration can provide this protection. All of that said there are many durable timbers that are often left to weather naturally and will last for many years untreated/coated – movement and visual changes will occur but this is sometimes the desired effect. All wood is hygroscopic (it 'wants' to be in tune with its environment) it will therefore take on water from moisture in the air (or when directly exposed to or submerged in water) and ‘release it’ when dry or exposed to heat. This, inevitably, results in movement and dimensional change. For more about moisture in wood please click here - Moisture in wood