Here is a complete guide on Soft maple Vs. Hard maple wood for furniture.
Perhaps you may have seen heavy sales of Soft maple wood instead of Hard maple, and you are wondering what the difference between soft maple and hard maple is? Why does soft maple wood cost lower than hard maple? How can we tell the difference? Let us look at soft maple vs. hard maple and compare the two for home use.
Soft Maple Vs. Hard Maple Wood For Furniture
As we know, out of all the species of tree found in North America, Maple is one the common. While there are various species of the maple tree, the two most commonly seen ones are Hard Maple and Soft Maple.
Soft maple is not a variety of maple; instead, it is a broad term that includes different species of maple, like red maple and Big apple maple.
On the other hand, Hard maple is a specific and very popular species of the Maple tree. Hard maple is also known as Sugar maple or Rock maple.
When we talk about furniture wood, you can use both hard maple and soft maple to construct different furniture types. However, if you are looking for hardwood flooring, then hard maple wood is considered to have a better density and is 25% harder than soft maple.
Both Hard maple and soft maple come with different grain effects, like tiger, curly, birdseye, and even striped, giving the furniture a unique look. Furniture designers select such special grains for effect. However, many designers also prefer regular grain for furniture to get a traditional color and pattern.
You can easily distinguish between red oak and white oak when it comes to oak, but how can we tell the difference between hard maple and soft maple?
How Can I Know If My Furniture Is Soft Maple Or Hard Maple?
You must Check the End Grain.
We must know that hard maple grows slowly compared to soft maple wood; this is why hard maple wood has more and tighter growth rings than soft maple wood.
Check the Color
When you get furniture and want to differentiate between hard maple and soft maple, you can check it by the color of the wood. Hard maple wood has a lighter and uniform color, whereas soft maple has a darker color with hues of red or brown.
Weight Of The Board
When we talk about Hard Maple Vs. soft maple for furniture, you can quickly check the weight of their boards. You can check which one is denser and heavier. Usually, Hard maple wood is more solemn than soft maple wood. Although the results are not always accurate, hard maple is slightly or significantly heavier than soft maple board.
You Can Do Sulfate Test
You can check the difference by dabbing a bit of iron sulfate into the board. When you do it on a hard maple it will produce green or pale blue color on the board, but when you use it on a soft maple board, it will create a black or dark blue color.
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What Type Of Maple Wood Is Used For What Purpose?
Maple wood is a great wood type to work with due to its stability and durability; also, it offers excellent grain and finishes to work with.
Soft maple wood is harder than other wood types, and it is a decent option if you are looking for a heavy-duty project. But hard maple is much more complex and durable for such projects. Few items are particular for each type; they are:
Hard Maple Wood
Hard Maple wood is commonly used for bowling pins, flooring, and smoking wood. Hard maple is best for such types of uses as it has stronger strength and is denser than any other wood type.
Soft Maple Wood
The primary and common use of soft maple wood is furniture, decorative boxes, and musical instruments. This wood type carries the color well and can be effortlessly intricate in any shape per the person’s choice. It is a much better wood type for furniture than hard maple wood.
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Is Hard Maple or Soft Maple Better for Furniture?
You might be wondering why soft maple is good for furniture when generally, softwood is not used for this purpose. Let’s look at the reasons why.
What’s With The Name?
You don’t need to get confused when you hear soft maple furniture. Just because it has the name “soft” does not mean the furniture will be brittle; it is soft only when compared to hard maple; otherwise, it is harder and more durable than any other variety of wood. Here are reasons why Soft maple is good for furniture.
As soft maple is sourced from different maple trees, it is found in larger quantities than hard maple. Also, it grows twice fast as compared to hard maple. This means when trees are harvested, new growth takes place quickly.
Due to its fast growth and availability, soft maple is considered a sustainable wood (Sustainability means when you buy an item of matching furniture, it gives a uniform appearance) for furniture that maintains consistent quality.
# Saves Your Money
As we know, soft maple has many advantages. Despite its numerous benefits, it is less expensive than any other wood variety for furniture. The low cost of soft maple does not mean it is an inferior wood; instead, it outperforms when constructing high-end furniture. The main reason it is low in price is its easy availability and large quantity.
Soft maple wood can be used in any furniture you want. As the wood is easy to cut and get into whichever shape you would like, you can use it for almost any type of furniture, whether it is a chair, table, or bar. Moreover, the soft maple wood works great with stains and lacquers. On the other hand, hard maple does not work well with stains. Although hard maple is a beautiful wood, it is not versatile when it comes to customized furniture pieces.
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Frequently Asked Questions
# Is Soft maple a softwood?
Soft maple wood is softer than hard maple wood, but the good news is that soft maple is hard enough to be used for many purposes compared to hard maple.
# Can we use soft maple wood for cutting boards?
The good news is that you can use both soft and hard maple for cutting surfaces.
# Which option is expensive- Hard maple or soft maple?
Hard maple wood is more expensive compared to soft maple wood, as hard maple is rare and does not grow in large quantities.
Final Words: Soft Maple Is Better For Home Furniture .
Hard Maple and Soft Maple wood are good for anything to do, but if we talk about the difference between the two, hard maple is 25% more vital and denser than soft maple, and it is much more ideal for heavy-duty projects.
On the other hand, soft maple wood is a perfect choice for furniture, as it can be cut in any shape and stain well.
In the debate about Soft maple Vs. Hard maple wood for furniture, the choice is yours, but it is recommended to use soft maple for furniture as it is considered the better of the two by many furniture designers.