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  • American white maple

    Hi Everyone. I have been offered quite a lot of American white maple. It is 200mm wide and 20mm thick and planed so on the surface it is ideal for scroll saw work but before I part with my hard earned cash I have heard that it is extremely hard and can be difficult to work on the scroll saw. I would be very grateful if you good people could pass on the benefit of your experience. In the main I will be making children's jigsaw puzzles up to 12 pieces and name signs.

  • #2
    I love cutting maple and have not had any problems cutting it. It is great for the kids puzzles.
    I use an Olson Mach 3 or the PGT 5 blade on that thickness depending on the detail.
    But any good blade will work for. I do put painters tape under my patterns it seems to help minmize any burning.
    Rolf
    RBI G4 26 Hawk, EX 16 with Pegas clamps, Nova 1624 DVR XP
    Philosophy "I don't know that I can't, therefore I can"
    Proud Member of the Long Island Woodworkers Club
    And the Long Island Scrollsaw Association

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    • #3
      American White Maple

      Hard maple is excellent to work with. It has a very even consistency and density with a fine grain, and cuts well for a hardwood. It is also great for carving if you wish to do some carved fretwork. As it ages, a nice patina develops.
      Dick Miraglia

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      • #4
        I cut maple all the time for standup puzzles and name signs. As hardwoods go, it's pretty easy to work with.

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        • #5
          Many thanks Rolf, Dick and sdguy. I was initially put off for a chap i spoke to said it was that hard that it was used for the floors of bowling alleys to prevent damage when people drop a ball onto it but going on what you guys have said I will get it. I have never cut maple before so will look forward to the experience and will post some photos of things I make from it.

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          • #6
            It's true that maple is used in bowling alley lanes. But if you use new blades and take your time cutting it isn't too bad.
            T
            Theresa

            http://WoodNGoods.weebly.com

            http://woodngoods.blogspot.com

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            • #7
              Bowling alley lane boards are placed with the "edge" grain up. I have used some salvaged alley wood for a couple of projects and the cutting was smooth and easy. Use good quality and sharp blades, cut slow and you should have some great results.
              Fredfret

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              • #8
                I agree, hard maple is a super nice wood to work with. I use a lot of it doing craft work.

                Bob

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                • #9
                  I cut a very intricate portrait with .5" maple and it came out great. Just keep the blades fresh and the speed moderate so as not to burn and you should be fine.
                  ---Joel; Central MD...rookie empter nester and getting back into woodworking!

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                  • #10
                    I love cutting maple. It has a nice consistency and is not too difficult to cut. The finished piece is strong and durable. I'd say go for it.
                    Tammy

                    Pressure makes diamonds

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                    • #11
                      There are a number of different species of maple lumber commercially available in the USA. They can vary widely in their relative hardness. I'm not familiar with one specifically referred to as American White Maple, but that may be a generic name used when exported. The most common types of maple are Red Maple, Silver Maple and Sugar Maple. Red & Silver are often called "soft" maple, while Silver is referred to as "hard" maple. The relative hardness of each species is measured on what is known as the Janka scale. The Janka scale is used by the commercial flooring industry and is based on how much pressure is required to push a steel ball some distance into the surface of the wood. I don't recall all the specifics, but it gives you a number by which you can compare different species for hardness.

                      Anyway, Silver Maple measures 700 on the Janka scale, while Sugar Maple measures 1450. In practical terms this means that Sugar Maple is about 2X harder than Silver Maple. As a frame of reference, Lignum Vitae, the hardest commercially available wood, measures 4500 and Balsa measures 100.

                      As others have stated, hard maple isn't necessarily all that difficult to work with, but it will depend on what you are used to. It's one of the harder woods, native to North America, but it's far less hard than many imported exotic species.
                      Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter. Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

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                      • #12
                        Thanks for the info, Bill. I like using Birdseye maple. Where does that fit in?

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                        • #13
                          Birdseye maple doesn't refer to the particular species as much as it describes the phenomena of the figure in the grain. Birdseye, curly, quilted, tiger, etc characterize the visual effect of the grain pattern. Typically these unique effects are found in Sugar maples, but they may occur in other types as well.
                          Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter. Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

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