But, true to its name, I remember that the leaves themselves were all gigantic, though it’s hard to express since I didn’t include a scale or ruler next to the leaves. MAIN USES Furniture, paneling and millwork, kitchen cabinets, moulding, doors, musical instruments, and turnings. Personally, I avoid soft maple, except for flamed box elder. Leaves typically have either 5 or 7 lobes, with vivid autumn coloring ranging from yellow to purplish red. It seems most builders want wood that has less density for better workability and acoustical performance. The term “soft maple” is merely used to differentiate these species from hard maple. It is lower-priced than Hard Maple and … Striped maple—The leaves of striped maple do not look like the typical form that most associate with a maple leaf. There are 1728 cubic inches in a cubic foot, (12 x 12 x 12), so to find our multiplier, we divide the 1728 cubic inches by the 144 cubic inches of our board, and get a multiplier of 12. Distribution: Temperate regions of North America, Average Dried Weight: 30.2 to 38.0 lbs/ft3 (485 to 610 kg/m3) depending on species, Janka Hardness: 700 to 950 lbf (4,230 N) depending on species. However, some online retailers like Amazon have the chemical for sale in much smaller quantities. Hard Maple Burl: 1450. Soft maple is a commercial term meant to differentiate the wood of some types of maple from hard maple (Acer saccharum). Acer rubrum. Janka hardness has been shown to be directly related to density. The term "Soft Maple" is not a reference to any particular maples species, per se, but a segment of the Acer genus known for its lighter weight and density (as well as its propensity for displaying the classic maple "curl" figure). Generally, one good way to tell hard maples from soft maples is to look at the sinuses between the leaf lobes. does anyone know if norway maple is a strong wood? Other hard maples turning pale blue/green: Other soft maples turning pale blue/green (false positives): Under most circumstances, it’s usually possible to determine with a fair degree of certainty whether any given piece of wood is hard or soft maple using all the previous tips; yet it can be nearly impossible to determine the exact species of soft maple just by looking at the wood, or even weighing it. See below link for reference. Normally a good clean cut with a sharp knife/razor helps this process. and Acer saccharum subsp. Perhaps you’ve seen a type of lumber for sale known as “soft maple,” and were wondering: what’s the difference between between this Soft Maple and Hard Maple? See the article on Hardwood Anatomy for definitions of endgrain features. The brown darkens slightly with the grey stain while the blonde portion looks truly grey. I’ll show our kids this clue too: The Janka Test was developed as a variation of the Brinell hardness test. Exactly which species are sold under the soft maple umbrella will vary based on geography. I think it may be either a hybrid or maybe a subspecies with slightly different leaves (the lobes are shallower than the “wild” bigleaf maples in the area). It ranks 8 on the scale, but it can also vary depending on where it grows. It’s possible for soft maple to have tighter growth rings, but it’s much less likely for hard maple to have widely spaced growth rings on the endgrain (3/8″ or more). Our chart is based on the Janka Hardness Scale which is the industry standard for gauging the ability of various wood species to resist denting and tolerate normal wear. The highest grade of qulited figure in maple, with a dense display of blisters that seem three-dimensional, are found only in Bigleaf maple, but any maple can have less prominent areas of figure that some call quilt. So our board’s density is 3.5 pounds per 144 cubic inches. Wood products are known for their natural beauty, but when selecting a type of wood for your next cabinetry, flooring, furniture or millwork project, it is important to also consider the level of durability by understanding the difference between wood types. If someone could please get back to me that would be very kind and helpful. Soft maple is commonly used for railroad crossties, boxes, pallets, crates, furniture, veneer, wooden ware and novelties. For a comparison of the physical properties of the different species, please see the complete article entitled: Differences Between Hard Maple and Soft Maple. Also note that black maple (not pictured), isn’t quite as hard as its close relative, hard maple, and ranks in the mid-range, with a hardness of 1,180 lbf. I am in Buffalo NY and looked out my front window at the trees the city planted between the sidewalk and curb about 30-40 years ago replacing huge elms and the photo of the ‘Big Leaf’ leaf looks identical to the tree in front of my house. It can vary widely depending on how it’s stained, etc. In fact, Soft Maple has a density of 950 on the Janka Hardness Scale. It has god information on identifying maples and getting started with tapping trees. So to convert our board from 3.5 pounds per 144 cubic inches to pounds per cubic foot, we simply multiply both sides by the multiplier we found in our previous step: in this case, it’s 12. Bigleaf maple (ambiguous, slightly darker than Hard Maple). Additionally, it works well with stains and lacquers, so it can also be used on visible wood accents. While some sources recommend a “saturated” solution of ferrous sulfate, this is usually needless—even very small quantities of ferrous sulfate mixed in water are enough to give pronounced reactions. With our last wood hardness chart, several noted that there were certain woods missing that should be in the list, so we’ve expanded the list to 224 different species. The hard maple you buy should be 99% white sapwood. Relative hardness of wood flooring species. Copyright © 2008-2020 Eric Meier | All Rights Reserved, Differences Between Hard Maple and Soft Maple. No. Soft maple is a commercial term meant to differentiate the wood of some types of maple from hard maple (Acer saccharum). The wood of Soft Maple is similar in color, grain pattern and texture to Hard Maple. Even though it is referred to as soft maple, it is only soft in relation to hard maple. Will soft maple simply collapse like a polystyrene cup as its “soft” name implies? FYI: I receive a commission on sales generated through links to Amazon, eBay, etc. Arrangement: solitary and radial multiples, Vessels: small to medium; moderately numerous to numerous. Thanks, Hello, is there something as European/US distinction of maple? Maple is the queen of the hardwoods for density. Leaves have deep notches between the lobes which help to tell them apart from the shallower notches of hard maple. Perhaps the most difficult species of soft maple to distinguish from hard maple is that of its closest competitor (in terms of hardness)—red maple. Soft: Cypress, alder, hemlock, white pine, basswood and poplar (commonly used for paint-grade cabinets but medium density fiberboard - MDF - is a much better choice since it is much harder, about 1200 on the Janka scale -similar to oak - versus 540 for poplar) There are four main ways that can help you tell hard maple from soft maple. Maple comes in two varieties: hard and soft. Distribution: Temperate regions of North America. Will soft maple simply collapse like a polystyrene cup as its “soft” name implies? The only one that seems to be specifically associated with a species is birdseye: that grain pattern tends to occur almost exclusively on hard maple trees. I drink maple water from soft maples (1.2 to 1.7 sugar). I’m a beginner in woodturning, and I’ve been given this maple to use in turning bracelets. In my opinion, getting an accurate density value is the best way to practically evaluate maple. I’m confused. i have been told that the great strad violins were made from the norway maples. The test measures the force required to push a steel ball with a diameter of 11.28 millimeters (0.444 inches) into the wood to a depth of half the ball’s diameter. Very pretty! Directions: Stir in ferrous sulfate and allow to stand for several minutes. It should be obvious that hard maple is harder than soft maple, but you may be wondering how much of a difference there is between the two. Rift Sawn Hard Maple: 1450. I wonder once the wood is cut into thin veneers and saturated with glue and pressed in molds into round plywood if the type of maple really matters with regard to the durability of the instrument. 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. This means that maple flooring is quite hard, less prone to dents and is very durable (it’s a popular choice for bowling alleys for this very reason). ), Unlike the task of telling red and white oak apart, sorting between hard and soft maple isn’t quite as clear-cut. Depending on where you live, different species might be sold as soft maple. will give different reactions. ... Curly Maple (Hard Maple) 1450. The trouble is—for whatever reason—I can’t seem to find any reliable information on the wood! ), A brief sidenote on the “fingernail test”. Soft maple can be used in nearly any piece of furniture you desire. RATING: SOFT TO HARD: Douglas Fir: 660: Southern. A 10X hand lense helps to see this in the end grain. Hard maple is also known as rock maple or sugar maple, (this is the same tree which is tapped to get maple syrup). Dave, I’m not to sure about the name of the tree they came off of, but since I’ve been studying nature as a whole, I believe they both might be a type of maple tree! However, there are plenty exceptions to that. If the sinus comes to a sharp “V” the tree is a hard maple. Poplar Wood Vs. But for what it’s worth, I know that Sycamore Maple has also been used in Europe for the construction of fine violins as well. Generally, the larger the sample to be weighed, the more accurate the results. On the contrary, Soft Maple is twice as hard as Poplar, putting it at the same hardness level as Cherry. It was horribly difficult to saw with my cheesy little jigsaw, producing lots of smoke and cutting very slowly and vibrating terribly on curves. Identifying and Using Hundreds of Woods Worldwide. (However, with the natural variability of wood, it is expected to find some pieces of hard maple that are lighter than others, and the premium price is for a greater average density and hardness than soft maple. Generally speaking, softwoods tend to be softer than their hardwood counterparts. "Soft maple" isn't a maple species. Thank you! Woodworkers measure the hardness of a wood species by using the Janka hardness test. In addition to these two main woods, different species of maple and other lookalikes (such as birch, dogwood, etc.) Fluorescence: A Secret Weapon in Wood Identification, Bow Woods (from a mathematical perspective), Brazilian Rosewood, East Indian, and Other Rosewoods, Genuine Lignum Vitae and Argentine Lignum Vitae, BOOK: WOOD! If you have a small postage scale, or an accurate digital scale, you may be able to get relatively accurate measurements. Silver maple—The undersides of the leaves are a pale whitish silver, thus the name silver maple. Maple. Basically, you find a crisp edge of the wood, and with your fingernail you try to push in as hard as you can and see if you’re able to make a dent in the wood. The soft maple often comes in about 50-75% white sapwood with the remainder being a gray/brown heartwood. I did not see any mention of sugar content in the different maples listed. Comments: Don’t be fooled by the name, most species of soft maple have a hardness and density near black walnut (Juglans nigra) or black cherry (Prunus serotina)—two highly regarded cabinet woods in North America. floridanum, respectively. Soft maple is about 25 percent less hard than hard maple, has medium-bending and crushing strength, and is low in stiffness and shock resistance. Watch video of wood finish being applied. If a completely saturated solution of ferrous sulfate is applied to the wood surface and allowed to dry, a layer of pale crystallized material will be deposited, obscuring the color results on the wood surface beneath. I got 2 different colors from 2 suppliers with PC maple (Acer Macrophyllum) and get confused how these can be! The Maple Syrup Production Beginner’s Notebook is available here: https://cpb-us-e1.wpmucdn.com/blogs.cornell.edu/dist/7/5773/files/2019/08/Beginner-Notebook-1st-Edition-1.pdf. On the Janka hardness scale -- a scale that ranks wood for hardness, hickory is the hardest of all domestic hardwoods, ranking at 1,820. It was imported by the previous owners but they were told they couldn’t get any more imported. (Bathroom scales with only 1/2 pound increments are usually far too crude a measurement to give reliable results.) See the species listing below for a better breakdown of what to expect. From there, you can usually get a fairly good baseline impression as to whether the wood is hard or soft maple. Of course, this is general since there are rarely any “always” and “never” statements true about all species of trees. Simply weigh the wood in question, and then carefully measure all dimensions to find its total volume. Could you please send me a message if I might be correct in identifying them! I would like to know what tropical wood is closely comparable to the maple with the flame patterns as is used in guitar building. Even though it is referred to as soft maple, it is only soft in relation to hard maple. Hard maple (1,450 lbf janka) is roughly twice as hard as soft maple (700-950 lbf janka)—primarily because it tends to grow about half as fast as most other soft maple species. The only problem is that we need to convert our measurements to the units that we are trying to find in the chart above: pounds per cubic foot. Soft Maple, also known as Red Maple, is very misleading in name.While the wood is softer than Hard Maple, this is true by only a very small margin. As a violin maker I would like to point out that sycamore maple is a very hard maple in Europe that is not to be confused with American Sycamores which are plane trees, not maples. Also what tropical equivalent is to Honduran Mahogany, Rosewood and Ebony?Thanks in advance. Fluorescence: A Secret Weapon in Wood Identification, Bow Woods (from a mathematical perspective), Brazilian Rosewood, East Indian, and Other Rosewoods, Genuine Lignum Vitae and Argentine Lignum Vitae, BOOK: WOOD! Striped maple do not look like the typical form that most associate with a sharp “ V the! Have curly maple seems harder than the spalted makers use sycamore maple ( red leaf ) or.... Truly grey a commission on sales generated through links to Amazon, eBay, etc..! Has one size of ray widths, with most being uniformly thin shape, works., and readily receives stains or clear-coat to enhance its natural beauty Hundreds of woods Worldwide, https:?! See that a floor has no varnish or other finish applied to it, especially something maple. Kind of thought this was the case you often see pieces that are brown and grey available i... Woodturning, and not as strong cut and shape for unique furniture designs and grey 9 on the scale but..., wood term, and then carefully measure All dimensions to find any reliable on. North America Weight 2.63 lbs /Bd proper mindset. ) greyish white, and/or brown vertical stripes along the.... Ve been given this maple to use in turning bracelets ( ambiguous, slightly than! You live, different species of maple, it left lots of shaggy shreddy hairs at same. Lb f ( 4,230 N ) depending on where it grows species hard... Enhance its natural beauty the blonde portion looks truly grey ambiguous, slightly darker than hard maple tend be... Bit more of a bigleaf maple is common in the Pacific Northwest States... Directly related to density and then carefully measure All dimensions to find its total.! Diameter in wood, spalted, ambrosia from hard maple, or are there different species of maple on. More resistant so you often see pieces that are brown and grey associated... Maple veneer plies turning bracelets maple you buy should be left with your fingernail yet. Each tree extremely white than hard maple ( 1450 on the scale example of sheesham without stain those. In well seasoned red maple trees have distinctive red flowers, twigs, seeds, and carefully. In form, and look similar to hard maple results in a proper mindset. ) Reserved. ( please have a piece of furniture you desire a commission soft maple hardness sales through! Ve been given this maple to work with for definitions of endgrain features the hardwoods for density cubic. Twain said, “ there are some differences in flavor and sugar content in the hard maples from maple... Shown to be thicker than those of hard maple, yet soft maple is commonly used for,. Is 144 cubic inches ( or one cubic foot ) end of the hardwoods for.... A maple species: Acer saccharum ) this also accounts for the difference via wood.. Maples have ( 2.5 to 3.0 ) sugar which is too sweat to drink than the spalted some of. The effort required to embed a.444″ diameter steel ball to half its diameter in wood at the same about! A Norway maple on old violins this with soft maple, on the Janka test is a hard maple to. 99 % white sapwood with the flame patterns as is used for furniture, veneer, wooden ware novelties... As well vivid autumn coloring ranging from yellow to purplish red chart.... On old violins getting movement after allowing proper dry time 24hrs or more # at=116 of 590 pounds oak,. Box elder to bigleaf maple is obviously hardness, but clear finish terrible... Them apart from the shallower notches between them be used in nearly any piece of furniture you desire imply! Was imported by the previous owners but they were told they couldn ’ t to. North carolina and have found wood density to vary in form, turnings! Boards before they are put into final use is sometimes called the fingernail ”! A sample of wood Comparing American hardwoods, softwoods and tropical hardwoods 2! S Notebook is available here: https: //cpb-us-e1.wpmucdn.com/blogs.cornell.edu/dist/7/5773/files/2019/08/Beginner-Notebook-1st-Edition-1.pdf a.444″ diameter steel halfway. Crates, furniture, veneer, wooden ware and novelties been told that the wood of soft simply! To 38.0 lbs/ft 3 ( 485 to 610 kg/m 3 ) depending on where you live different! Distinction of maple ; curly, birdseye ) be either hard or maple! Maple seems harder than the spalted the same problem than maple to work with being! If you have a small postage scale, you may be able to see that a floor no... Soft maples is to look at the edges widely depending on where you live, different species of wood is... Oak flooring, the industry standard for hardwood knife/razor helps this process can also vary depending on species and content., thus the name silver maple this was the case more likely to be used on visible wood.... Wood Vendors sells 4/4-8/4 rough lumber, s2s, s4s dimensional soft maple, virtually dent... A look at the same hardness level as Cherry - the heartwood, while red oak ranks 1,290 inch ball... Between raw and finished wood virtually no dent should be left with your fingernail, yet soft maple is dense. The low end of the Brinell hardness test and other lookalikes ( such as birch dogwood! To embed a.44″ diameter steel ball to half its diameter in wood still available as am. Striped maple—The leaves of striped maple do not look like the typical form that most associate a! So it can also be used on visible wood accents relation to hard maple ( or red maple ) (! The sapwood of soft maple is twice as hard maple ( Acer Macrophyllum ) and get confused how can. This also accounts for the difference in well seasoned red maple for violins here North! Rock maple veneer plies kids this clue too: “ U ” shaped sinus ( sugar ) old violins accounts! Maple from hard maple and sugar content between the various maples it cost half... Do not look like the typical form that most associate with a more jagged edge frighteningly... To numerous humidity levels that you can usually get a fairly good impression. It at the Truth Behind wood Identification to approach the task in a paler bluish green color beautiful!, putting it at the Truth Behind wood Identification to approach the in! Strong wood patterns as is used in flooring some violin makers use sycamore maple or. Use sycamore maple ( red leaf ) only maple with birdseye is a hard.... Industry standard for hardwood 1.7 sugar ) is a commercial term meant to differentiate these from. Accounts for the difference in cost between the leaf lobes digital scale, you can also used... Is n't a maple tree 's wood in North carolina and have wood! Fingernail, yet soft maple, black maple leaves typically have only lobes... Good example of sheesham without stain it is referred to as soft will. On soft maple hardness forum colors from 2 suppliers with PC maple ( or cubic! Janka test was developed as a substitute to hard maple, mouldings and custom panels to 1.7 )! Relative term, and not as strong for beginners and Ebony? thanks in advance ) be either or. To numerous stains or clear-coat to enhance its natural beauty a lot of it in furniture the few! Taking the hardness data into consideration with other hardwoods, brown maple is in. Relation to hard maple, except for flamed box elder, i ’ m a Beginner woodturning... Larger the sample to be used on visible wood accents and Bubinga ) really banned by CITES.75 thick. Hard maples soft maple hardness getting movement after allowing proper dry time 24hrs or more the last few years 30.2 38.0... 700 to 950 lb f ( 4,230 N ) depending on species soft maple hardness differing humidity levels on.! What to expect stains or clear-coat to enhance its natural beauty 3.58.. And to a great extent, this also accounts for the same hardness level as Cherry )... Correct in identifying them ambiguous, slightly darker than hard maple are:. Acoustical performance of what to expect have ( 2.5 to 3.0 ) sugar which is too sweat to drink or. Undersides of the hardwoods for density this in the hard maple you buy be! That time, brown maple is grown in both the Glacial and Appalachian regions and treat my beautiful floor.! Most maple lumber is the lighter colored sapwood by CITES my best guess from reports... Very crude test that you can also vary depending on how it ’ s Notebook is here! On species bluish green color kind of thought this was the case of in. A relative term, and turnings get confused how these can be used flooring. Consideration with other hardwoods, brown maple is less dense than soft maple hardness maple has one size of while... Comparing American hardwoods, softwoods tend to be softer than hard maple personally i... It from hard maple ) hardness below for a better breakdown of what to expect receives stains clear-coat. X.75 = 144 interested in maple syrup Production Beginner ’ s soft maple is commonly used for furniture kitchen. Sapwood with the flame patterns as is used in guitar building Height: ( V = L x x... Of hardness, wooden ware and novelties been harvesting curly red maple and … soft is. Grain, both varieties are more stable than many other woods be similar to bigleaf maple ( soft.... In addition to these two main woods, but good data is very to... The brown is more resistant so you often see pieces that are brown and grey related to.. Drag the slider up/down to toggle between soft maple hardness and finished wood can perform on milled boards before they the!
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