Wood Species In Detail – Maple

At Osborne Wood Products, we supply the cabinet and furniture trade with the highest quality decorative wood components. Naturally, we work hard to source the highest quality wood possible. In an effort to better help our hobbyist and DIY customers make the right choice in which wood types to use in their projects, we are introducing a new blog series in which we go into detail discussing our various wood types and answering any common questions our customers may have.

An example of a mineral streak in a soft maple leg. Mineral streaks can present in many different ways.

One of the most common stock wood types we offer at Osborne Wood Products is maple, of which we offer two variations: hard and soft maple.

The primary difference between hard maple and soft maple is its density. Soft maple is not actually a soft wood – it’s only called soft maple due to the fact that its density (roughly 950) is notably less than that of our hard maple (roughly 1450). That said, soft maple is still one of the denser woods that we carry according to the Janka hardness scale.

The next most notable difference in our maples is that soft maple often exhibits mineral streaking in the wood, which can show through stains and affect the wood’s ability to stain evenly. These mineral streaks can present in many different ways, including but not limited to a typical streak (shown), as a spot or splotch, or as a large grayish-tinted area. That’s why we recommend soft maple as a paint grade wood only.

Hard maple and soft maple are not actual species of maple, but are instead designations of various maple species based on their density. Some soft maple species include red maple, silver maple, striped maple, and bigleaf maple, while hard maple includes species like Florida maple and black maple.

We also offer one specialty type of maple known as curly or tiger maple. This particular kind of maple exhibits a rippled or wave-like appearance on the surface, making it look like the wood has curled along the length of it. Some may also recognize this wood type as fiddleback maple, which refers to its historic use in making violins. This specific type of maple looks great when used with a light stain or a clear finish to help accentuate its unique properties.

All of our wood types are sorted into a Traditional, Premium, or Specialty selection. You can find soft maple under Traditional, hard maple under Premium, and tiger maple under Specialty.

Additionally, if you’re looking for a specific species of maple, you can contact us for a custom quote by filling out our online form, emailing, or calling 800-849-8876 and speaking with a representative today.

Check out the links below to read more in-depth about all the other wood types we offer:

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