Woodipedia: Maple Is a Marvel About the Home

Why choose maple for cabinetry, furniture, flooring or paneling? “It is strong, it’s durable, and price-wise it’s in the ballpark with all the additional wood,” states Anthony Fortner, a woodworking professor at Cerritos College in Norwalk, California.

Because of its dense pore structure, walnut is thick. For furniture, this means it stays in place. Upon opening and closing, it imparts a masterful swing for doorways. For millwork and cabinetry, this density makes maple much more resistant than other forests to dings, dents and scratches. “It’s a popular wood now since it’s a light color that falls into the modern category,” says Fortner. “And for the most part its grain pattern is calm and clean”

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The Basics

Maple is a hardwood, so it comes out of a deciduous tree (one which loses its leaves). Softwoods, on the other hand, are out of coniferous trees, such as pine, cedar, Douglas fir and redwood.

You’ll hear references to hard and soft maple, but those end up being relative terms because even soft maple is more challenging than most other hardwoods. Both are extremely pale-colored and dense with a fairly quiet grain pattern.

Price: Based on Dave Paulsen, a salesman at Bohnhoff Lumber in Vernon, California, which specializes in hardwoods, the wholesale price of maple is slightly greater than $3 per board foot. Comparatively, walnut is $5 per board foot.

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Other titles for hard maple contain rock maple, sugar maple and black maple — predicated on the species of tree it comes from. Similarly, ordinary species of maple are silver maple, box elder, red maple or large leaf maple. Soft maple is somewhat lighter in fat than walnut.

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Durability: The Janka hardness scale measures the amount of force, in pounds, it might take to push a approximately half-inch steel ball right into a piece of wood to a depth of about a quarter of an inch. The test is used to determine how resistant a particular type of wood is to dents, dings and dents.

Janka score: Hard maple is graded 1450 (lbs of force), which is stronger than red and white oak, walnut and cherry. Soft maple has a score of 950.

Types of Maple

Specialty maple — more commonly known as figured maple — has a visually convincing grain pattern which invites comment. Because there’s absolutely no such thing as a figured maple species, it’s a fantastic surprise if trees have been milled and the figuring is discovered. Nobody really knows what causes this extraordinary effect, but due to its rarity it’s quite a bit more expensive than regular maple.

There are several kinds of specialization maples, and their titles somewhat reflect the sort of figuring found in their grain pattern. Quilted maple has an almost 3-D overall look and reflects light in a manner that begs you to run your hands over it to sense that the optical-illusion “bubbles” It is reserved for tabletops.

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Curly maple, flame maple, fiddleback and tiger maple are characterized by either lighter or darker translucent rays shooting across its grain pattern. These specialty forests act as tabletops or door panels.

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Birdseye maple comes with a pattern of little brown swirling “eyes” (which are actually diminutive knots) that nearly resemble cells seen under a microscope. As it’s so expensive, this type of maple is sold mostly as a veneer and is a precious option for cabinetry. (It is also frequently used as interior trim on high-end automobiles.)

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Maple is one of the most sustainable species of trees used commercially due to its short growing life. Trees are harvested at maturity, and because maple trees grow more quickly than other species, they are not as endangered as slower-growing trees. Additionally, due to its durability, maple doesn’t have to be replaced very often, making it a great reclaimed wood. A prime source of maple countertops is your thick floors from alleys.

Reclaimed walnut flooring usually increases the value of a house.

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Because of its noteworthy toughness, hard maple is an superb choice for flooring. It also functions well as a kitchen countertop because of its closed-pore density. Some people would rather use their maple countertop as a chopping block and then view the eventual scuffed-up surface as adding overall personality to a space. Other people prefer to keep their maple counter in prime condition, maintaining it simply by wiping it dry after each use.

Maple is also an superb choice for baseboards, door frames and other mouldings which are subject to more intense levels of use and abuse.

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Covering walls using maple-veneered plywood may both warm and lighten basement rooms. Many distinct grades of plywood can be found, so make sure you define Grade A for your outward-facing side, so the maple veneer put on the fabricated core is free of visible defects.

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Over time, all walnut slowly develops a yellowish patina, which lends it a polished glow. Some people prefer to paint — and maple is an ideal wood for painting due to its density. When softer woods like poplar or alder get dinged up, the paint usually cracks at the indentation, which is unlikely to happen with maple. Its calm grain pattern doesn’t interfere with the impact of this paint.

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The downside is that maple does not stain. The most frequent complaint about pine is that it looks. So the best approach to stain walnut would be to go with a very dark color so that the blotchiness adds wallpaper feel. With a light to medium stain, the blotchiness would be much more notable — and some might say distracting.

If you would like to color the wood into a medium tone, you have the choice of dying it with water-based aniline dyes and then sealing it with a transparent coat of finish. Sometime stains residue solid pigments into the wood, dyes color the wood without leaving a residue behind, and consequently you attain a greater level of clarity.

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