American Hard Maple is strong, heavy, hard, and straight grained with a fine texture. The colour is cream with fine red/brown bands. The sapwood is creamy white with a slightly reddish brown tinge and the heartwood varies from light to dark reddish brown. The amount of darker brown heartwood can vary significantly according to the region it is grown. Both sapwood and heartwood can contain pith fleck. The wood has a close fine texture and is generally straight grained, but it can also occur as "curly" or "fiddleback".
Physical properties: The wood is hard and heavy with good strength properties, in particular it is highly resistant to abrasion and wear. It also has good steam bending properties.
Working properties: American Hard Maple dries slowly with a high degree of shrinkage, so it can be susceptible to movement in performance. Pre-boring is recommended when nailing and screwing. With care it machines well, turns well, glues satisfactorily, and can be stained and polished to an outstanding finish.
Durability: Rated as slightly or non-resistant to heartwood decay. The heartwood is resistant to preservative treatment, but the sapwood is permeable.
In tree form, American Hard Maple is usually referred to as Sugar Maple, and is the tree most often tapped for maple syrup. Sugar Maple’s leaves are the shape that most people associate with maple leaves; they typically have either 5 or 7 lobes, with vivid autumn coloring ranging from yellow to purplish red.
American 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.
Common uses: Flooring, furniture, panelling, kitchen cabinets, worktops and table tops, interior joinery, stairs, handrails, mouldings, and doors. The hard wearing properties and tight smooth grain make this species ideal for high traffic flooring applications, such as theatres, concert halls, gymnasiums and basketball courts.
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