Maple

Common Name(s): Hard maple, sugar maple, rock maple

Scientific Name: Acer saccharum

Distribution: Northeastern North America

Tree Size: 80-115 ft (25-35 m) tall,

                 2-3 ft (.6-1.0 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 44.0 lbs/ft3 (705 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .56, .71

Janka Hardness: 1,450 lbf (6,450 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 15,800 lbf/in2(109.0 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 1,830,000 lbf/in2(12.62 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 7,830 lbf/in2 (54.0 MPa)

Shrinkage: Radial: 4.8%, Tangential: 9.9%,

                  Volumetric: 14.7%, T/R Ratio: 1.9

Color/Appearance: Unlike most other hardwoods, the sapwood of hard maple lumber is most commonly used rather than its heartwood. Sapwood color ranges from nearly white, to an off-white cream color, sometimes with a reddish or golden hue. The heartwood tends to be a darker reddish brown. Birdseye maple is a figure found most commonly in hard maple, though it’s also found less frequently in other species. Hard maple can also be seen with curly or quilted grain patterns.

Grain/Texture: Grain is generally straight, but may be wavy. Has a fine, even texture.

Rot Resistance: Rated as non-durable to perishable, and susceptible to insect attack.

Workability: Fairly easy to work with both hand and machine tools, though slightly more difficult than soft maple due to hard maple’s higher density. Maple has a tendency to burn when being machined with high-speed cutters such as in a router. Turns, glues, and finishes well, though blotches can occur when staining, and a pre-conditioner, gel stain, or toner may be necessary to get an even color.

Odor: No characteristic odor.

Allergies/Toxicity: Hard maple, along with other maples in the Acer genus have been reported to cause skin irritation, runny nose, and asthma-like respiratory effects. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Should be moderately priced, though slightly more expensive than soft maple. Also, figured pieces such as birdseye, curl, or quilt are likely to be much more expensive.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Common Uses: Flooring (from basketball courts and dance-floors to bowling alleys and residential), veneer, paper (pulpwood), musical instruments, cutting boards, butcher blocks, workbenches, baseball bats, and other turned objects and specialty wood items.

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