Types of Wood: What is Maple Wood Good For?
The Maple Tree is a sentimental favorite of many people. It brings to mind cozy times of maple syrup and brilliant fall foliage. Maple wood also one of the most popular types of wood used in the making of fine furniture. There are more than 120 species of maple trees, most of which grow in Europe and Asia. However, here the ever-popular Sugar Maple, also known as the Rock Maple, is the tree of choice. Sugar Maples love cold weather and are most usually found above the 42nd parallel in the northern United States and Canada.
Maple is a very popular hardwood for many things, including furniture. The grain is typically smooth and straight, giving finished pieces a simple, clean look. But you can also find other, more textured grains in tiger and curly maple. Unlike other hardwoods such as cherry and oak, furniture makers gravitate toward the sapwood as opposed to the heartwood when choosing maple lumber. Sapwood is found on the outer portion of the log and is often light and creamy in color. This lightness lends itself well to staining in many different colors. In fact, maple can take a dark stain so well that it’s often used to mimic more expensive hardwoods such as cherry or mahogany.
Due to its ultra-durability and versatility, maple wood is commonly used in a wide variety of applications. Three of the most popular are solid wood furniture, cabinets and hardwood floors. Let’s take a closer look at each of these three in turn.
While maple wood may not be the hardest wood in the world, it’s place among the hardwoods is in no doubt. If you want a piece of real wood furniture that you can hand down from generation to generation, this is a great option. Because it’s so strong, maple is one of the most popular types of wood for dining tables and desks. Both tend to get lots of heavy use and this type of wood is well up to the task.
Maple’s ability to take to a variety of different stains also allows it to fit easily into any type of décor. Left in its natural state, the creamy white hue can brighten up any room. If you are looking for a warmer tone, you can choose a medium or dark stain depending on your preference. Our Halifax Double Pedestal Table, Dover Mission Writing Desk, and Urbana Sit and Stand Desk are great examples of pieces that embody all these attributes. All are available in brown maple as part of our quick ship program, stained to a color of your choice and will serve you for years to come.
Maple Solid Wood Cabinets
There are several reasons that maple wood is an excellent option for kitchen cabinets. Cabinets undergo a lot of wear and tear. Think about it – they’re open and shut constantly, bumped into, scraped against, and even scratched and chewed on by your furry friends! You definitely want a wood that has the wherewithal to handle that type of daily abuse. Unlike other woods that can warp or even crack, maple can handle changes in temperature and humidity. It’s also beautiful to look at. The appearance of your cabinets can define the look of your entire kitchen. You have so many choices when it comes to the finish of maple cabinets. The possibilities are endless. Maple is also more affordable than other types of hardwood like cherry or walnut. In the end, you can expect maple wood cabinets to last you 30 years or more with minimal upkeep on your part.
Maple Hardwood Flooring
As you may have guessed by now, maple wood is strong! In fact, maple wood is second in hardness only to hickory wood. This makes it a natural choice for many, many different types of flooring. Maple is the second most popular choice for hardwood floors in the United States, just behind Oak. The smooth, uniform texture of the grain make for a consistent look across the entire floor. It can adapt to any color palette and truly lets furniture and other decorative accents of a room shine through. It is easily maintained with regular sweeping or vacuuming and a light wash using mild soap and water. Just ask the NBA or your local bowling alley! They both choose maple as the type of wood for their hardwood floors. How can you go wrong?
Other Uses for Maple Wood
There are a ton of other places maple wood is used that you wouldn’t even think of. We already mentioned the bowling alley floor, but how about the pins as well? Obviously bowling pins need to stand up to the extreme pressure of being knocked down over and over. Yep – they are made out of maple wood! So are baseball bats (in addition to the traditional ash bats) and pool cues. Take a closer look the next time you use either and you’ll see that signature smooth grain shining through loud and clear.
Butcher Block is also made from maple. Originally used primarily in butcher shops (hence the name) this style of manufactured wood quickly gained popularity for use inside the home. Butcher Block is a fantastic surface for prep and knife work. You can use it in the form of a cutting board, or fashion a kitchen island or countertop out of it. If you love to cook, having this work surface can be invaluable.
Maple is also known as a tonewood, which means that it excels in carrying soundwaves. It’s used in many different musical instruments such as violins, violas, cellos and bases. A lot of high-end guitars use maple to fashion the necks and tops of their instruments, and some wind instruments, such as bassoons and recorders, also use this type of wood.
So, as you can see, Maple wood has many, many uses. Whether you choose it for a piece of solid wood furniture, custom cabinets or your hardwood floor, you can rest easy knowing that your investment will last a long time.