Maple

Sugar / Hard Acer saccharum

Appearance

Shown with water-based finish (top), and oil-based finish (bottom)

Shown with water-based finish (top), and oil-based finish (bottom)

Color: Heartwood is creamy white to light reddish brown; sapwood is pale to creamy white.

Grain: Closed, subdued grain, with medium figuring and uniform texture. Occasionally shows quilted, fiddleback, curly or bird’s-eye figuring. Figured boards often culled during grading and sold at a premium.

Species & Grade Variations: Black maple (B. nigrum) is also hard; other species are classified as soft.

Properties

Hardness (Janka): 1450; 12% harder than Northern Red Oak.

Dimensional Stability: Average (change coefficient .00353; 4% more stable than Red Oak).

Durability: Dense, strong, tought, stiff; excellent shock resistance — often used in bowling alleys and athletic facilities. Markedly resistant to abrasive wear.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Density makes machining difficult.

Sanding: Sands satisfactorily.

Nailing: Fair resistance to splitting; good holding ability.

Finishing: Takes neutral finish well; does not stain uniformly

Comments: Light color lends itself to contemporary light floors. Extra care must be taken during sanding and finishing, as sanding marks and finish lines are more obvious due to maple’s density and light color.

Cost

(Relative to plain sawn select Red Oak)
Multiplier: 1.30

Availability

Commodity item; figured grains limited.