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Maple I.D.

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  • Maple I.D.

    Can anyone explain what the difference between 'hard maple' and 'soft maple' is?

  • #2
    Re: Maple I.D.

    My experience with hard and soft maple is I find that most maple's that are natural wild maples some people call them sugar or rock maple are far harder or dense than the maples we know in this part of the country as Manitoba maples that are quite soft in comparison. I just finished a carving in a natural maple and it was one of he hardest woods I have encoutered.
    Colin

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    • #3
      Re: Maple I.D.

      Here's what I know -

      Hard Maple (Sugar maple and Black Maple) grows in North Central U.S. and Central Canada (and probably a lot of other places through propagation). Is softer than Hickory and Pecan, but harder than White Oak. I have done sylized carvings in this wood and they finished beautifully. Actually should call them raspings instead of carvings as I found rasps worked the wood more easilly than carving tools.

      Soft Maple (Red Maple, Silver Maple, Box Elder) grows predominately on the East Coast of the U.S. But through propagation as an ornamental is can be found almost anywhere. Just a little softer than Black Walnut. Haven't done any carving in this wood. We used to make maple syrup out of Box Elder Sap. Not as good as the real thing, but you go with what you got.

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      • #4
        Re: Maple I.D.

        Thanks for the replys! I'm a landscape architect and can give the common and botanical name for most maples from Michigan to Florida...but it was never explained about 'Soft' & 'Hard'. I've never carved Maple and from the advice, sounds like this amature should stay away from it.
        I do mostly walking sticks with woodspirits. Usually carve Dimond Willow or Basswood...both easily available. I did carve one hickory, had more trouble with the fussies then hardness. Took lots of sanding with 1500 grit.
        I'm lucky to have a summer home in Michigan's upper peninsula and a winter home in Georgia. Sticks from a variey of wood are easily available for me.

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        • #5
          Re: Maple I.D.

          Where are you in the summer? We live in Bessemer, on the west end! Are you a native 'Yooper' who heads south or a summer transplant? don't be afraid to try carving maple. We have some pretty spectacyular figured maple. I've done some fish in birdseye and tiger maple and a few smaller pieces for bolo ties. The wood id hard to work, but really pretty.

          Al

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          • #6
            Re: Maple I.D.

            I'll second AlArchie - just take your time and you'll love the results ... restocked a rifle in birdseye maple, took awhile, but absolutely love it ... a bit heavy though.

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