Maple: A Versatile Timber
Sometimes fancy, sometimes plain, but never dull
Synopsis: From general contractors to turners, woodworkers appreciate maple’s beauty, its ease of workability, and its readiness to take a finish. It can be used in anything from the finest furniture to packing crates, floors, bowling alleys and pins, and eating utensils. In this article, Jon Arno talks about how many different species of maple there are, the differences between major types (such as hard and soft maple), its figure, notes on machining and finishing it, and its limitations. Side information and macro photographs show differences among types.
Maple has something to offer every woodworker, from general contractors to turners. Even though maple’s inconspicuous figure lacks the striking contrast that gives ring-porous woods, such as oak and ash, their bold character, this diffuse-porous wood is subtly beautiful. Unlike colorful walnut or cherry, light-colored maple has warm brown accents and a translucent, opalescent quality in the way light plays off…