The Varieties of Maple Lumber
Maple trees are some of my favorite wood for Woodworking. You probably even have one in your front yard, maybe in your neighborhood.
The prevalent ornamental trees are very slow growing can get very large. So I wanted to talk about other types of variation that you can see in maple.
There are around 132 Different maple species out there.
Most of which are native to Asia, with a number also appearing in Europe, northern Africa, and North America.
Still, only a handful are cut up into timber, lumber.
When I looked at the maple pieces that I had, I was amazed at all the variations.
There are many different varieties or many other species of maple out there, and When we talk about lumber, it is split into two distinct categories, Hard and Soft Maple.
Hard Maple is essentially the sugar maple used to get maple syrup, and It’s also known as rock maple.
It’s a fairly common tree in western Pennsylvania and kind of throughout this area and the maple leaf of Canada.
Hard Maple is what you’ll see commonly used in the manufacture of flooring, used for floors of basketball courts and the blades of the bowling alley, furniture, cabinets, billiard cues, and other finished wood products.
The other type of maple that you’ll see is called soft maple. Now aside from the hard Maple and soft Maple, there can also be many different nicknames or names for different grain patterns or varieties or characteristics in the wood.
Soft Maple lumber has sapwood that’s most used instead of its heartwood; sapwood varies from practically white colored towards an illumination gold or even reddish-brown. The heartwood is a darker reddish-brown.
Soft maple has four species of maple trees: Silver maple, Red Maple, Boxelderand Bigleaf maple. Soft maple commonly uses for cabinetry, furniture, flooring, boxes, crates/pallets, musical instruments, interior trim, and other small specialty wood items.
As the name implies, it is softer, and it’s much closer to the hardness of walnut than it is hard maple is quite a bit lighter of weight.
A guitar maker might pick this wood instead of hard maple to make like a solid body guitar.
If you’re going to throw a guitar over your shoulder for a couple of hours on stage, you would appreciate a few pounds on it.
But the downside to soft maple is that it’s not exceptionally clean of white maple and as hard as white maple.
Still, it is close, easy to work with, like it’s easier on your hand tools, it’s easier to sand doesn’t burn as quickly in the table saw a little nicer to work with, it’s just not as in demand.
Maple Lumber Varieties
Sometimes maple lumber variety can be caused by wood growth, its cut, or how it’s stored or dried. Maple lumber variety can come from hard maple or soft maple, so please understand it.
So you may have heard of fiddleback Maple, flame maple, tiger Maple, curly Maple, ripple maple, tiger stripe, birdseye Maple, ambrosia maple, country maple, rustic Maple, and quilted Maple.
What else am I missing?
There are plenty of maple wood lumber varieties out there, and all these refer to different characteristics of the wood.
But sometimes, each type of maple pattern commonly comes from specific maple wood, and I wanted to talk about this and break them into some of the varieties.
Bird’s Eye maple
so this happens to be a variation of the Hard maple species, and the term birds are just a description of a highly generative character.
Little tiny buds grew off the tree, and they did not turn into orange dots or fertile for one reason or another.
Bird’s Eye Maple probably my favorite variety of maple.
The wood looked like a bird’s eyes, so they call it to reference, and I don’t have a concrete scientific reason why the birds-eye made the forms.
I think it’s actually due to unfavorable growing conditions, that’s because of how to start like branches that, for whatever reason, kind of break off, so it’s just like a bunch of starts with branches that create fascinating, a gorgeous screen will pay a premium for that, but those boards tend to be very expensive.
Birdseye Maple is much more common in hardening. You rarely see it in softwood.
It’s excellent stuff; choose small projects that you want to pack a lot because they look fantastic.
The downside to this one is just like any other bigger wood. All the best logs get sold off to the near manufacturer.
Let’s figure out the irregularity in the grain, which means that we will be more prone to chipping out. You should probably bust out to the end tools card scraper when you want to smooth it out and get a nice surface.
Generally, the most desirable maple that you’ll see it’s apparent, meaning it’s very light, a white almost off the way your cream color, and this is what people pay a premium; this is what people want.
The exciting thing about it is that we will look at kind of a cross-section of a maple tree, and you’ll find two types of wood, you’ll see a darker center layer and then a much lighter outside layer, the outside layer is called sapwood, and the inside layer is called hardwood.
The most desirable lumber comes from the heartwood, and it has specific characteristics, for example, in Cherry.
The heartwood is usually the darkest deeper red color, and the outer layers are much lighter with walnut. It’s the same thing.
The inner layers are much darker, and the outer layers are much lighter.
The other exciting thing about maple is that the sapwood of a maple tree is generally much larger than the sapwood you would find in other heartwoods.
You’ll find a lot more of that light-colored wood with the dark one. Maple can even go much darker.
Most other hardwoods that you might be using, like, walnut, cherry, oak. Usually, you tend to want the heartwood of those woods, but in Maples opposite.
Lumber producers take a load of maple and then separate by color, pulling out all the whiteboards.
If you’d like character and color variety, this would be. It’s always a gamble in a color variety.
Its characteristic is having a messy color with lots of different colors; these are natural characteristics of rustic maple and are not considered a defect.
This variance is what makes rustic maple wood so unique.
Rustic maple may include any combination of the Knots, Burled grain, Dramatic color contrast, Carmelizing, Mineral streaks, and Wane.
As with any rustic wood, these characteristics occur naturally, and no two pieces are alike.
Expect a dramatic display of natural color with country Maple.
Country maple describes the hard Maple leftover, Some leftover pieces of hard maple, white sapwood, brown heartwood, occasional dark mineral streaks, and whole mix stuff after the whiteboards separated. In turn, it costs less and offers eccentric color.
Country maple color range is Creamy white to yellowish or pale tan, with dark brown bands and streaks. The variety of clashing colors gives it a rustic or country appearance.
The spalting is essentially the cane, a little bit, and there’s some fungus that has gotten into the water Caden and started with the cane processing way.
The exciting thing about this piece, it’s on the edge of the woods. The wood was cut and then painted to seal in the grain before they dried it.
At some point, moisture got in and started the caning process of this would have created that kind of pattern.
Some people like those dark streaks and I would wear the entire piece of wood; it’s all sparkly.
Some people desire that they think it’s fascinating, it doesn’t harm the wood at all. The process of kiln drying sterilized the woods, so there is no problem here.
the curls like compressions in the grain just like an accordion, and they retract as Curley grain occurs.
Curly maple is an exotic wood with a distinctive wavy or curly pattern that can resemble tiger stripes, and Also known as tiger Maple or flame maple.
Curly maple’s durability and its array of patterns make the wood popular with woodworkers who want to design a unique, decorative piece of furniture.
The second finger gets nuanced too, or for example, you may have heard of it’ll black Maple or tiger-striped Maple. Still, they’re just all different intensities and types of maple.
When you’re working with curly maple, good chances it’s a soft maple variety, just like birch wood.
Depending on how thick you want it, just like with Birdseye Maple, I’m able to use a card scraper to get a special surface rate; finger sanding will give you the best surface.
Curly patterns are found often in soft Maple (red Maple, in particular) than in hard maple (sugar or black maple).
Curly hard maple is more expensive, partly because hard maple is more expensive than soft maple and because the curly pattern is found less in hard maple.
Soft maple is softer than hard maple, of course, but it’s not soft; it’s comparable to black walnut or cherry in both hardness and strength.
Quilted Maple comes in the big maple tree.
That’s a tree that grows on the Pacific coast, starting in British Columbia or even southern Alaska, and goes down through California.
Like truly maple the figures from compressions in the grave and for what reason quilted maple is broader kind of puffy pattern, and big leaf Maple is a lot like all these pretty soft, and it’s red.
It has a little bit different quality about it, so I think this is a fascinating wood because it captures the essence of nature at work.
Strict with dark brown or grey stripes, and then they started from tiny holes that you find in the blood.
This is where a little ambrosia beetle made its home for a while. The bug has a symbiotic relationship with the fungus and so what it does is tracks the fungus in. Then these streaks come from the infestation of the fungus.
But you don’t have to worry about bugs living in this wood.
It’s been kiln-dried, so that should everybody on and left us with some pretty cool projects, and for the most part, ambrosia Maples is usually found in the soft maple varieties, so it’s still charming wood for Woodworking.
Maple is excellent because of all that variety. It’s a great wood to work with furniture out of cabinets, out of tables, out of maple ideas for many different things.
What’s your favorite kind of maple?
Have you worked with maple before?
I enjoy Woodworking with maple wood because there’s so much variety, from light to dark, in everything in the process of building furniture.