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Hard Maple Lumber
Hard Maple

Botanical Name: Acer saccharum

Family: Aceraceae

Other Common Names: Hard maple, Rock maple, Sugar maple

Uses: Furniture, flooring, interiors, cabinetwork, decorative veneer, woodenware, bowling pins, spools, and handles.

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Hard Maple

Distribution: The most commercially important maple, Sugar Maple is also the most abundant type found in the United States. It is reported to most prevalent in New England, but its growth range extends from the extreme southeastern region of Manitoba east to Nova Scotia, southward to North Canada, and west to eastern Kansas. It is found locally in northwest South Carolina and north Georgia. The tree prefers moist soils of uplands and valleys, and is sometimes found in pure stands. It may also be found at elevations of up to 2500 feet (762 m) in the north, and at 3000 to 5500 feet (914-1676 m) in the southern Appalachians.

General Characteristics: The official tree of several states including Vermont, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and New York, Sugar Maple grows to a height of 70 to 120 feet (21 to 37 m), with a diameter of about 24 to 36 inches (60 to 9o cm). The heartwood is uniformly pale reddish brown or light tan. Bird's-eye maple, a form of white or sugar maple, usually exhibits two colors, a whitish background with brownish dots at irregular intervals. The dots, which are rarely solid, usually have a circular rim that is of a different color than the center, rather like an eye. The dots are believed to be the starting-points of new side branches that may or may not have actually grown out from the trunk of the tree. The sapwood is white in color, with a reddish tinge. The wood has a very fine and even texture; Sugar maple grain is typically straight, but it can also be curly or wavy. The wood is described as close-grained and subdued, sometimes with decorative figuring including, bird's eye, maple burl, blistered, leaf, and fiddleback. There is no distinct odor or taste.

Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) 0.68; air-dry density N/A.

Working Properties: The wood is reported to be fairly difficult to saw. Wood with irregular grain tends to exert fairly high blunting effect on cutting tools. The wood is reported to be fairly difficult to plane. Turning properties are reported to be good. Boring characteristics are reported to be exceptionally good. The timber is reported to be relatively easy to shape without chipping and splintering. The material is reported to have very good mortising properties. Hard maple is reported to respond well to carving, and works without tear-outs or chipping. The wood has satisfactory gluing properties. The wood is reported to have good nail-holding characteristics, but very poor nailing properties since it is apt to split. Pre-boring is recommended, especially in thin stock. Pre-boring is recommended in screwing operations. The wood is fairly difficult to sand. Extra care is recommended since sanding marks are reported to be rather difficult to cover because of the wood's density and light color. The material is reported to polish satisfactorily. The timber is reported to stain satisfactorily but unevenly. The wood is reported to take paint or enamel very well. The wood is reported to have fair steam bending characteristics.

Durability: The wood is reported to have very little natural resistance to attack by decay causing fungi and insects, but hard maple is rated as more durable than some of the other maples. Its fire resistant properties are reported to be higher than the average timber.

Preservation: The heartwood is reported to be fairly difficult to treat with chemical preservatives.

Mechanical Properties



Bending Strength:

Green: 9,400 psi
Dry: 15,800 psi



Modules of Elasticity:

Green: 1,330 @ 1,000 psi
Dry: 1,830 @ 1,000 psi



Maximum Crushing Strength:


Green: 4,020psi
Dry: 7,830 psi



Drying and Shrinkage:


The wood dries slowly, but is reported to be fairly easy to season. Some level of care is needed during drying in order to minimize defects. Shrinkage is reported to be high. Sapwood discoloration may develop because of extractives, and collapse and honeycombing may also occur due to mineral streaks and wetwood. There is moderate tendency for the timber to warp. Kiln Schedule T8-C3 is suggested for 4/4 stock and T5-C2 for 8/4. Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 5%; tangential 10%.



Bailey Wood Products Kiln Dried Hardwoods

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