Find a wood species

Hard Maple (Acer spp.)

Hard Maple (Acer spp.) is composed of at least 120 species native to North America. The maples can be separated into two groups based on the ray widths of their microscopic anatomy, the soft maple group and the hard maple group. Species within each group look alike microscopically. Acer is the classical Latin name of maple.

Grades Available:  #1 & #2 White Sel/Btr, Paint Grade Sel/Btr, Select, #1 Common, #2 Common

Sizes Available:  4/4, 5/4, 6/4, 8/4

Distribution:  Throughout most of North America, with commercial species in the eastern United States and Canada.

The Tree:  grow to heights of 120’ ft, with a diameter of 3’ ft. Forest grown trees may have a clear bole of 60’ ft.

General Wood Characteristics:  Maple lumber comes principally from the Middle Atlanta and Lake States, which together account for about two-thirds of the production. The wood of sugar maple and black maple is known as hard maple. The sapwood of maples is commonly white with a slight reddish-brown tinge; the heartwood is light reddish brown, but sometimes considerably darker. The sapwood is from 3 to 5” + inches thick.

Hard maple has a fine, uniform texture, turns well on a lathe, is resistant to abrasion and has no characteristic odor or taste. It is heavy, strong, stiff, hard and resistant to shock, and it has large shrinkage. Sugar maple is generally straight grained bur the grain also occurs as “birds-eye,” “curly,” and “fiddle-back” grain.

Maple lumber sometimes has olive or greenish black discolored areas known as mineral streak or mineral stain, which may be due to injury. Maple wood stains well and takes high polish. It is intermediate in gluing and has low decay resistance.

Working Properties:  The wood turns well, is harder to work than softer woods, and has high nail-holding ability. It stains and polishes well, but is intermediate in gluing.

Durability:  Rated as slightly or nonresistant to heartwood decay.

Uses:  Lumber, distillation, veneer, crossties, paper pulp, flooring, furniture, pallets, boxes and crates, shoe lasts, handles, woodenware, novelties, spools and bobbins, bowling alleys, dance floors, piano frames, bowling pins, cutting blocks, pulpwood and turnery.