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Hard Maple, Sugar Maple, Rock Maple
Grain is generally straight, but may be wavy. Has a fine, even texture.
Unlike most other hardwoods, the sapwood of Hard Maple lumber is most commonly used rather than its heartwood. Sapwood color ranges from nearly white, to an off-white cream color, sometimes with a reddish or golden hue. The heartwood tends to be a darker reddish brown. Birdseye Maple is a figure found most commonly in Hard Maple, though it’s also found less frequently in other species. Hard Maple can also be seen with curly or quilted grain patterns.
Notes of Interest
In tree form, Hard Maple is usually referred to as Sugar Maple, and is the tree most often tapped for maple syrup. Sugar Maple’s leaves (pictured below) are the shape that most people associate with maple leaves; they typically have either 5 or 7 lobes, with vivid autumn coloring ranging from yellow to purplish red.
Hard Maple ought to be considered the king of the Acer genus. Its wood is stronger, stiffer, harder, and denser than all of the other species of Maple commercially available in lumber form. (It’s also the state tree in four different states in the US.) For more information, please see the article on the Differences Between Hard Maple and Soft Maple.