Latin Name: Acer saccharum.
Origin: Eastern North America, mainly Mid-Atlantic and Lake States.
Common Names: Rock Maple, White Maple, Sugar Maple, Birdseye Maple, Curly Maple.
The Tree (characteristics): The Hard or Sugar Maple tree is a deciduous tree that can grow to heights ranging from 50 feet to 130 feet tall with a trunk that is 2 to 3 feet in diameter. Maple trees have palmate leaves meaning they resemble the shape of a hand. Sugar Maple leaves are smooth and turn various shades of scarlet, orange, and yellow in the fall. The bark on young trees is smooth and light gray, as the tree ages the bark becomes broken and scaly.
Appearance of Wood: Sapwood is a creamy white with a slight reddish tinge. The heartwood can vary from light to dark reddish-brown. The grain is straight with a close fine texture.
Density: Sugar Maple is hard and heavy with good strength qualities. The wood has a high resistance to abrasion and wear. Sugar Maple also has good steam bending properties. Average reported specific gravity ranges from .56 to .71 with an air-dried weight of 44 pounds per cubic foot. Janka Hardness is 1,450 pounds of force.
Drying and Shrinkage: Sugar or Hard Maple dries slowly with high shrinkage making it susceptible to movement in performance. Average reported shrinkage values are 4.8% radial, 9.9% tangential, 14.7% volumetric.
Working Properties: Sugar or Hard Maple machines well if the proper care is taken during the process. The wood will turn well and can be stained to an outstanding finish. Gluing characteristics are satisfactory.
Durability: Hard Maple is susceptible to insect attack and is rated as non-durable to perishable.
Uses: Hard Maple can be used in millwork, stairs, handrails
Availability: Hard Maple is readily available.