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What Is Maple Wood? All Questions Answered.


Maple wood is one of the most popular woods available in the market, which is known for its durability, outlook, sturdiness, and it also stains nicely. Woodworkers gravitate towards maple wood for its creamy yet light color along with the smooth pattern.

There are dozens of species of maple trees around the globe, and the most common type among woodworkers in America is Hard Maple. Hardness is possibly is one of the most misinterpreted things about wood in general, but maple wood adds to the confusion because it comes in soft as well as hardwood.

With so many products on the market made of maple wood, people are more curious about its general information, characteristics, and uses as compared to other woods.

In this article, we will cover everything about maple wood.

Let’s deep dive into the topic:

What Is Maple Wood Good For?

It’s commonly used in premium furniture, cabinetry, flooring, and the making of kitchen accessories. Because of its sturdiness and durability, maple wood is widely used in bowling arena flooring and was also used in baseball bats before being primarily replaced by ash wood, which is equally as strong but more lightweight.

Its smooth texture, unique color, and strength make maple a popular choice among woodworkers of all types, which can brighten up your room exquisitely. Also, it’s relatively easy to stain maple wood in your preferred style for dressing up your room.

Is Maple Wood Expensive?

Comparing the price of maple wood with birch, hickory, and alder, it’s expensive. But comparing it from oak, cherry, and walnut, it’s less expensive.

How Strong Is Maple Wood?

Usually, hard maple wood rates 1,450 Janka, making it a popular choice for furniture makers. Compare to maple wood strength, oak rates 1,360, walnut rates 1,010, red oak rates 1,290, and cherry 995 Janka. In addition, red maple is considered a “soft maple wood”, which rates 950 Janka. So, it’s quite durable and stronger than other commonly used wood.

To determine the strength or durability of maple wood, a Janka Test should be performed, which displays the result as pounds of force or as a number followed by the word “Janka”. 

Is Maple A Hardwood or Softwood?

Maple wood can be both. Hard Maple comes from the lumber of the Acer species, which is synonymous with sugar maple. On the other hand, soft maple is used as an umbrella term to describe several different species of maple trees. Both soft maple and hard maple are reaped from dicot trees, so both types are technically hardwoods.

How Do You Identify Maple Wood?

Recognizing maple wood is quite easy, you can identify from its color. Because when it’s freshly cut, maple wood has the light creamy color that darkens to a light-yellow color, or sometimes a mild reddish-brown if it’s exposed to sunlight, making it an unfavorable choice for some spaces or items, especially for outdoor furniture’s.

Is Maple Wood Easy to Work With?

Soft maple wood is easy to work with because of its straight grain and fine texture, making it more stable than other woods. On the other hand, hard maple requires your tools, blades, and bits to be particularly clean and sharp, which makes handling effortless.

Working with sharp tools on hardwoods is not only going to produce better results, but it is safer than if they are a bit dull, simply because the tools will cut cleaner and be less prone to tearing through the wood.

What is the Best Finish for Maple?

Application of linseed or tung oil on maple wood after its sanding turns out to be the best finish for maple wood. It brings the curly, yet tiger looks of the maple out, making it incredibly beautiful.

In addition, following the procedure with a coat or two of shellac makes it more appealing, which looks best in furniture making. Woodworkers also use clear lacquer or polyurethane as a topcoat, which brings the best finish of maple wood.

How Do You Seal Maple Wood?

The fastest and finest way of sealing maple wood is Lacquer. It is the best choice for mass-production assembly lines. Once you spray it, you will realize how smooth and nice of a finish it gives. One of the best reasons to choose lacquer over others is that it dries very quickly.

Lacquer is available in various forms. You can get it in nitrocellulose form quite easily. Apply it with the help of a spray gun. You can also use aerosol cans for application. Aerosol cans are helpful if you’re using lacquer on big furniture. Otherwise, with a spray gun, you’re good to go.

How Do You Age Wood from Maple Trees?

To estimate the right age of the maple tree observes its color. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation, sunlight, and oxygen changes darkens the color of maple wood. If you want to increase the age of your maple wood, expose it to the above-mentioned extreme conditions.

Knowing about the age of maple trees is particularly important. You must know that sap extraction from a maple tree can’t be done unless the tree is about 30 years old. Once it is 30 years old, we can extract about 40-50 gallons of tree sap. This extract will help us in producing one gallon of syrup.

Does Maple Wood Change Color?

Yes, maple wood changes its color with the passage of time. Like all the other woods on earth, maple will get darker and darker as time passes. One thing that distinguishes it from other woods is that it doesn’t get darker as quickly and as dramatically as the other woods get.

It will turn into light brown and then may give hues of pink and grey. As more time passes, it turns out to be warm golden in color. However, it will not turn beige or amber like the other woods.

Is Maple A Good Wood To Stain?

You can stain maple wood, just like pine, birch, cherry, and other woods. But all these woods are a bit tricky to stain. If you don’t know the techniques and have no knowledge about maple wood, then don’t try staining it. Otherwise, you will ruin a smooth, pretty attractive wood piece by turning it into an ugly board with splotchy areas.

To prevent the stain splotches, you should learn the techniques and practice more. Practice will surely take your staining game to another level.

How to Care for Maple Wood Furniture?

The care recommendations for maple wood furniture are typically dependent on the type of top finish used to seal the wood. Because it has such tightly knit grain, it doesn’t absorb oil finishes as well as other furniture hardwoods.

Oil finishes also tend to cause maple to yellow slightly over time. For this reason, maple furniture is often finished with a lacquer or varnish. These finishes are low maintenance and generally care-free.

Kevin Nelson

I will always have a special place in my heart for woodworking. I have such fond memories working on projects with my parents on the weekends in the garage growing up. We built tables, shelves, a backyard shed, 10' base for a water slide into the pool, 2 story fort playhouse with a fire pole, and so much more. This woodworking blog allows me to write helpful articles so others can enjoy woodworking as much as we have.

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