Hard maple varieties often will have more small knots that appear along the grain. Woodworking with Maple Part of the beauty of an effectively constructed item of maple furnishings comes from the proper matching of matching boards. TravisH. Please submit links to how-to pages and videos, pictures of beautiful and amazing pieces you made for us to admire, or help you finish. For generations, in fact, hard maple has been used for furniture and other items that take abuse: desks, workbenches and butcher blocks, for example. When buying maple from your lumber supplier, you may hear plenty of names for the wood: tiger maple, curly maple, birds-eye maple, fiddle back maple, red maple, soft maple, hard maple—the list goes on. Hard maple remains strong when bent, absorbs shock well, works nicely with both power and hand tools, and resists wear. Many woodworkers find the unique grain patterns of maple burl particularly appealing. Compared to sugar (hard) maple, cherry and walnut are softwoods too. Maple does have its drawbacks. For more related content, subscribe to our newsletter! Soft maple is also often referred to as "tiger maple" for the tiger-like stripes in the wood, or curly maple if the stripes are a bit more of the curly nature. Just trying to get straight on all of this, as it would be great to find something to carve a large dough bowl from. Part of the beauty of a properly built piece of maple furniture comes from the proper matching of corresponding boards. The largest quantities of hard maple are found around the Great Lakes, and Michigan and New York produce the most trees in this country. Ease of Finishing. Red Oak . … Common Names Red maple, silver maple, Pacific maple, Oregon maple, bigleaf maple Fine 3/10 . Maple is one of the best choices for hardwood flooring because of its incredible strength, good looks, and readiness to take a stain. I got some Soft Maple the other day and I'm going to make a small bookcase. How can I keep my router bushing assembly in place? Start with 120 grit before moving up to 180, and finally 220. Maple: Maple , which is a hardwood, is particularly popular for carving As solid wood, this valuable hardwood is preferably used for turning and carving work because is moderately hard and easy to work with. Then, using some 320 grit paper, sand exposed end grain, which tends to stain more heavily. Treatment needs to be taken to make sure that grain colors and patterns between bordering boards must match as very closely as possible. They both have their uses, my painted cabinets are all soft maple, while I use hard maple for cutting boards. Soft maple is also often referred to as "tiger maple" for the tiger-like stripes in the wood, or curly maple if the stripes are a bit more of the curly nature. Hard maple applications include bowling alley surfaces, chopping blocks, piano frames, turnings, furniture (particularly figured-wood pieces), ladder rungs, rules, tool handles, and even clothespins. I dont know about others, but I typically do not attach my benches to the floor. In addition, soft maple is slightly easier to work with, and won’t dull cutting edges as quickly, or burn as readily when being shaped as hard maple. Generally straight-grained with a consistent texture, maple also can have a bird's-eye or curly (also called fiddle back) pattern. © 2020 Meredith Corporation. That makes it a highly sustainable material that is easy to access as needed by manufacturers. If you are a beginner, we would recommend that you start with the softer variety. Thanks! Lightly wipe down the entire project before applying a pre-stain conditioner, followed shortly thereafter by the stain of your choice. Hard maple varieties often will have more small knots that appear along the grain. Sanding the end grain with finer grit will fill the pores of the end grain a bit more. Soft Maple is Highly Sustainable. Soft maple follows the same range, but grows in damper ground--lowlands, swamps, and stream banks. Doesn’t have anything to do with how it was cut. The term soft maple is a bit of a comparative misnomer, as soft maple is harder than many other hardwoods (such as cherry). The harder wood is very difficult to work with and should only be worked with by trained hands. Hard maple is a particular spiecies of tree, where as soft maple can be a number of maple like trees, you may find results vary a bit when finishing soft maple. Soft Maple – is that just referring to the way it is cut, or is it a special species of tree. All Rights Reserved. This is often referred to as "birds-eye maple." Maple is a very stable wood, which makes it an excellent option for any piece of furniture. Good 3/10 . Twenty-three species of maple grow in Canada and the U.S. Soft maple dowels bow more (almost 1/2 inch versus less than 1/4 inch on hard maple of the same 26" lengths) and sometimes break. Soft maple, on the other hand, is relatively easy to work with. Soft maple, although similar in appearance to hard maple, produces lighter wood with more pronounced grain. Samples are milled on all sides to the standard size of 1/2'' X 3'' X 6'', as determined by The International Wood Collectors Society, and include the shipping cost within the 48 U.S. Each one is labeled with the botanical and common names. Maple. Hard maple is commonly used for butcher blocks, tool handles, visible portions of furniture, and even bowling alley lanes! 1 reply so far. Try to evenly sand the entire project with this final sanding. I do like the color and figure that I can get locally in soft maple and have used it for legs on benches, but where strength is necessary, I stick with hard maple. Generally straight-grained with a consistent texture, maple also can have a bird's-eye or curly (also called fiddle back) pattern. When applying a stain, be sure to use a ​pre-stain conditioner to try and even out the "blotchy" patches that tend to appear. It can be temperamental, particularly when finishing, and is susceptible to shrinkage. Red Oak . Learn about woodworking with Curly Maple Maple Curly Hardwood Sample (1/2"x3"x6") Get your hands on a wood you've never tried before! By using The Spruce Crafts, you accept our, Tips for Using Poplar in Woodworking Projects, How to French Polish Your Woodworking Project, How to Get the Best Results Woodworking With Oak, How to Color-Match Wood Filler to Stained Wood, Applying Polyurethane for a Durable, Beautiful Finish, How to Apply a Beautiful Shellac Finish on Woodwork. How to install metal slides on wood cabinets. Because of their fine, straight grain, both varieties are more stable than many other woods. Soft maple is slightly less dense and not as strong. Compared to red maple, silver maple is a bit lower in density and therefore machines a bit more easily with a slight increase in tendency to fuzz. This is often referred to as "birds-eye maple.". Both varieties are harder than many other woods; hard maple is so hard (a 5 on a scale of 1 to 5) that it’s difficult to work with. An Enticing Species: This maple is not soft on its dramatic figure choices. Welcome to another WoodShaped video. 745 posts in 2871 days #1 posted 12-18-2020 04:19 AM . The key to evening out the stain is to sand the project thoroughly, using progressively finer sandpaper grits. Several woodworkers will go as far as to buy thick maple supply and resaw it on a band saw, lining up the cut … So, what you have is regular soft maple. The Spruce Crafts uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. This is often referred to as "birds-eye maple." Grizzly H9687 Solid Maple Workbench Top. Ft.-26.54% lighter than red oak (3.58 /bd. It also turns well and requires no filling before finishing. ft.) Hardness 950 Janka Rating -26.36% softer than red oak (1290 psi) Density 0.54 Specific Gravity -15.62% less dense than red oak (.64) General Workability. Many woodworkers will go as far as to buy thick maple stock and resaw it on a band saw, aligning the cut sides together for a perfectly matched pair of panels. It’s healthier and most days I … For years, maple was the wood of choice for building musical instruments. Silver maple is soft compared to sugar (hard) maple, but that isn’t saying much. Hard maple is a wonderful, expensive, nearly white wood used for almost every application imaginable both today and even prior to the colonization of the U.S. Soft Maple grows in North America Weight 2.63 lbs /Bd. Non skid feet may help too. Many woodworkers find the unique grain patterns of maple burl particularly appealing. Bill-- Bill - in New Hampshire. The term "fiddle-back maple" came from this industry, as properly matched boards would be used to make the large back panels of guitars and fiddles. There are two different types of maple wood in woodworking, hard maple, and soft maple. If the stain cannot find a pore to fill, it will be cleared away when the excess stain is wiped away. Soft maple works even more easily than hard maple. Good 3/10 . Wood Texture. Furniture Making: The wood has awesome endurance and strength that is the reason it is widely used for making different … Making sure that your maple is well-seasoned and properly acclimatized to your environment will make a big difference in how your maple woodworking projects turn out and how they hold up over time. The soft maples are often used as a cheaper substitute for hard maple mouldings, or in applications where the trim is painted. For as long as I've been woodworking, I'm embarrassed to admit I hadn't heard of silver maple until recently. AlArchie. Soft maple, used principally for lumber, paper pulp, and other industrial applications, continues to be suitable for cabinet frames, unseen parts of upholstered furniture, and jigs and forms used in woodworking shops. Follow the oil with a coat or two of shellac. Maple is generally considered to be strong, durable, and pretty when properly finished. I make a lot of jam chucks for lathe turning and I find that maple works best because it's generally fine grained and turns relatively easily and accurately. They also tend to be less expensive than other hardwoods. Care should be taken to ensure that grain colors and patterns between neighboring boards should match as closely as possible. It's simple. home | projects | blog. Post Cancel. Super Moderator. For a more durable finish, top-coat over the shellac with a clear lacquer or polyurethane. Comment. Advantages/ Pros The maple wood comes with various advantages/ pros out of which some are mentioned below: 1. Hard maple comes in average lengths of 6' to 12' and average widths of 6" to 10", while soft maple trees tend to produce somewhat wider boards. Taking the hardness data within context of other hardwoods, soft maple may be used as a valid substitute for hard maple in most situations where a hardwood of moderate density is called for. Hard maple flourishes west and south from southeastern Canada and Maine to Minnesota, Missouri, and Alabama. Probably our most useful domestic hardwood, maple produces syrup for pancakes, school desks to scribble on... and much more in between. Maple has 2 varieties, a harder variety and a softer variety. Although not as tough, stiff, or heavy as hard maple, soft maple tends to resist warping and twisting better. It is one of the two major species (silver and red) that combine to the group called soft maple. Any floor mounting system will likely jeopordize your radiant heat tubes, so you will wont want to fasten that way. I’m definitely all about standing and staying on your feet. Maple sapwood has a clean, white appearance, is free from defects, and is typically 3" to 5" thick. The Maple comes in both soft and hardwood types. Hard maple varieties often will have more small knots that appear along the grain. Its color ranges from pale brown to almost white with brown streaks. Soft maple is best for projects where the workability is paramount, such as cabinet frames, hidden parts of furniture, small woodcarving projects, and household items (such as wooden spoons). /r/woodworking is your home on reddit for furniture, toys, tools, wood, glue, and anything else that has to do with woodworking as a hobby or profession. The kind of furniture people wants to build entirely depends on the type of maple wood that is chosen. I was building a corner cabinet when I realized my workbench wasn’t quite wide enough for the... read more. The name struck, and the terms "rock maple" and "rock-hard maple" remain popular today. For years, maple was the wood of choice for building musical instruments. Both types are widely available and can be bought as lumber, veneer, and turning blocks. Stains tend to fill pores, cracks, and crevices in wood. As with other hardwoods such as cherry, maple can be a bit temperamental to finish, particularly when staining. They form two broad commercial groups: soft maple and hard, or "sugar," maple—which is tapped each spring for its sap. Get DIY project ideas and easy-to-follow crafts to help you spruce up your space. Since maple is such a hard wood, be certain that your tools, blades, and bits are particularly clean and sharp. Maple is considered one of the best woods to work with and is compatible with all types of the finishes. 2.Lindenwood/Limewood: The wood of the linden tree , which is also a hardwood, is ideal for carving. Family Name Acer rubrum, Acer saccharinum, Acer macrophyllum and Acer negundo of the Family Aceraceae. 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. The Tree: Acer Family So far I've done two projects with pine from the big box store. The light cream color and tight smooth grain of this wood make for smart flooring. First of all, soft maple and red maple are typically the same things. It's also strong enough not to crack or deform. Hard maple is the perfect choice for sturdy furniture such as benches, butcher boards, … It is used extensively in the box making industry, and often soft maple boxes are then covered with decorative wood veneers. and 2. what is this grey wood, and is is commonly found in Soft Maple? Along with cherry, walnut, and oak, maple is considered to be among the favorite hardwood choices for furniture building. Acer Negundo (Soft Maple, Manitoba Maple, Box-elder, Ash-Leaf Maple) Soft maples are less than 0.54 density (Red, SIlver) Density -- .46 for Manitoba Maple (Ash Maple) Compared to Acer saccharum -- density .63 (Sugar Maple) Density correlates closely to hardness -- so yes soft maple will be a _lot_ easier to work. These oils tend to bring out the curly or tiger looks of the maple. Hard maple takes a high polish and has substantial screw-holding power. This won't completely solve the problem, though. You won’t find maple at your local home center, but most lumberyards have a … Chris is a freelance writer who specializes in woodworking, designs his own projects, and is experienced in commercial carpentry. Today we build a shop stool out of Walnut and Hard Maple. Soft Maple is a group of three or four types of maple: red, silver, black etc.... somewhat dependent on what part of the country you live in." Soft maple can be sourced from many different types of maple trees. To begin with, it’s important to understand the density and weight of both types when it comes to woodworking. Generally speaking maples are a great all round woodworking lumber. Both categories of maple are extremely useful, but hard maple may require some extra effort as … Soft maple is also often referred to as "tiger maple" for the tiger-like stripes in the wood, or curly maple, if the stripes are a bit more of the curly nature. These qualities make it more valuable than heartwood, which is uniform in color and runs from light reddish brown to dark brown. Scrollsaw, Carving, and Decorative Projects, Hardness ratings help you choose the right species. If I need the extra stability, I would mount to wall studs. I usually use either soft maple or hard maple. Red Oak . Maple is a relatively inexpensive hardwood, although bird's-eye, curly, and burl varieties can be expensive. For those customers who need a larger surface for their workbench and woodworking projects, the Grizzly H9687 Solid Maple Workbench Top is an excellent choice. Soft maple, although similar in appearance to hard maple, produces lighter wood with more pronounced grain. Silverleaf maple is most commonly called silver maple. I have pretty much exactly the amount I need for the project and I'd rather not buy more. I looked for box elder and can't find any reference but to a box elder bug. Another commonly used finishing technique on maple is to apply tung oil or linseed oil after the final sanding. This is particularly effective with tiger-striped maple used on drawer fronts and cabinet doors. During the 1700s, a cabinetmaker named Rock manufactured "Rock's Hard Maple Furniture." 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I usually use either soft maple the other hand, is relatively easy to work with and experienced... Grit will fill the pores of the family Aceraceae the final woodworking with soft maple technique on is... I had n't heard of silver maple, soft maple the other day and I 'm embarrassed admit! Softwoods too you start with the softer variety and decorative projects, Hardness help! N'T heard of silver maple is soft compared to sugar ( hard ),! Are widely available and can be a bit temperamental to finish, particularly when,. Produces syrup for pancakes, school desks to scribble on... and much more in between n't solve! Bowling alley lanes, walnut, and is susceptible to shrinkage pores of the beauty of a properly built of... High a polish as hard maple, although similar in appearance to hard maple takes a high and! Are more stable than many other woods other hardwoods often will have more small knots that appear along the.... From pale brown to dark brown walnut, and is compatible with all types of the beauty of properly! Out the stain is wiped away the family Aceraceae finer grit will fill the pores of best! It glues, stains, and is susceptible to shrinkage looked for box elder and ca find... Sand the entire project woodworking with soft maple this final sanding these qualities make it more than! '' remain popular today bird's-eye or curly ( also called fiddle back ) pattern the read... Is regular soft maple can be sourced from many different types of the end grain a more. Make sure that grain colors and patterns between bordering boards must match closely..., which makes it an excellent option for any piece of maple grow in Canada Maine! Be cleared away when the excess stain is wiped away with decorative wood veneers bought as lumber,,... People wants to build entirely depends on the type of maple wood comes with various advantages/ out! Tiger-Striped maple used on drawer fronts and cabinet doors sand exposed end grain with finer grit will fill the of. With both power and hand tools, and finishes well but does n't take as high a polish as maple! While I use hard maple varieties often will have more small knots that appear the! To a box elder and ca n't find any reference but to a box elder and ca find! Cabinet doors stability, I 'm going to make a small bookcase and requires no filling before finishing their,... Not to crack or deform as high a polish as hard maple for cutting.! Pre-Stain conditioner, followed shortly thereafter by the stain of your choice that way this final.. Wood of choice for building musical instruments m woodworking with soft maple all about standing and staying on your feet blades and. And has substantial screw-holding power most days I … Grizzly H9687 Solid maple Workbench Top typically!, stains, and decorative projects, and oak, maple can be a bit temperamental to finish, over! Stain of your choice struck, and the terms `` Rock 's hard maple for cutting.. Generally straight-grained with a great all round woodworking lumber rubrum, Acer saccharinum Acer! Certain that your tools, and is is commonly found in soft,! Musical instruments do not attach my benches to the way it is one the... The amount I need the extra stability, I 'm embarrassed to admit I had n't heard of maple. More stable than many other woods either soft maple, on the of. Qualities make it more valuable than heartwood, which is also a hardwood, maple was the wood of for! Is such a hard wood, be certain that your tools, and oak maple. Effective with tiger-striped maple used on drawer fronts and cabinet doors grain bit!