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Soft Maple Lumber
Soft Maple

Botanical Name: Acer rubrum

Family: Aceraceae

Other Common Names: Carolina red maple, Drummond red maple, Maple, Red maple, Scarlet maple, Soft maple, Swamp maple, Water maple

Uses: Furniture, wood furniture parts, cabinetwork, shoe lasts, dairy equipment, sporting goods, musical instruments.

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Soft Maple

Distribution: Red maple is reported to have the greatest north-south distribution of all species along the East Coast. It is found in Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Quebec in Canada. In the United States, its range includes Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Great Smoky Mountain National Park, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. The tree usually grows in mixed hardwood forests and thrives well in wet or moist soils of stream banks, valleys, swamps, and uplands and occasionally on dry ridges.

General Characteristics: The state tree of Rhode Island, Red maple, like other soft maples, is reported to grow very rapidly during the first 20 to 30 years, and is popular as decorative and street trees. The mature tree measures about 60 to 90 feet (18 to 27 m) in height and about 30 inches (80 cm) in diameter. The heartwood is light brown and may occasionally show a grayish or greenish tinge or a faint purplish hue. The wide sapwood is white in color. The wood is fine textured; the grain is straight but occasionally curly or wavy. The wood is described as close-grained. There is no distinctive taste or odor.

Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) 0.54; air-dry density N/A.

Working Properties: Red maple is reported to respond well to planing, and is comparably easier to work than hard maple because of its softness. Because it is close-grained, Red maple is reported to turn rather well. Soft maple is reported to have good boring properties. The material is reported to have fairly poor mortising properties. The material is reported to be fairly difficult to glue. Nailing properties re reported to be fair. Screwing characteristics are reported to be fairly good. Sanding properties are reported to be generally poor. The wood has satisfactory steam bending properties.

Durability: The wood is not resistant to attack by decay causing fungi and insects, and should not be used in exterior applications.

Preservation: Fairly or moderately resistant to impregnation. The heartwood has been found to be fairly difficult to treat.

Mechanical Properties



Bending Strength:

Green: 7.700 psi
Dry: 13,400 psi



Modules of Elasticity:

Green: 940 @ 1,000 psi
Dry: 1,640 @ 1,000 psi



Maximum Crushing Strength:


Green: 3,280 psi
Dry: 6,541 psi



Drying and Shrinkage:


The wood is described as easy to dry. It is reported to be easier to dry and more stable than Sugar maple. Drying requires adequate air-flow to prevent blue staining. Ring failure and honeycombing may occur because of wetwood. Kiln Schedule T8-D4 is suggested for 4/4 stock and T6-D3 for 8/4. Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 4%; tangential 8%.



Bailey Wood Products Kiln Dried Hardwoods

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