Common Name(s): Hard Maple, Sugar Maple, Rock Maple
Scientific Name: Acer saccharum
Distribution: Northeastern North America
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.
Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; small pores that are uniformly spaced; solitary and radial multiples of 2-3; tyloses or mineral deposits are absent; parenchyma marginal; both narrow and wide rays, spacing normal.
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.
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.
Comments: Hard Maple ought to be considered the king of the Acer genus. Its wood is stronger, stiffer, harder, and denser than all of the other species of Maple commercially available in lumber form.