Hard Maple is a fantastic wood type for furniture; and it’s among the most popular woods for Amish furniture. But is it the right selection for you? And what’s the difference between hard and brown maple?
Hard Maple Wood
The Use of Maple Wood in America
Maple trees cover the landscape of the Northeast and Midwest United States, and they can be found throughout the country. Maple trees are recognizable for their 5-pointed, jagged leaves and their bright colors in Autumn. They’re loved for the Maple Syrup that can be tapped from some Maple varieties in winter. And, for generations, American homes, products, and furniture have been made with Maple wood. But when you shop for solid wood furniture, you may have to decide between two maple wood options: brown maple or hard maple.
Brown Maple vs. Hard Maple
Neither of these is a species of maple tree; they actually come from the same trees. The difference is, “Brown Maple” lumber comes from the heartwood of maple trees—the wood that’s closer to the center of the trunk.
“Hard Maple” comes from the sapwood, located in the outer rings. It is here that hard maple takes on its light shades—creamy white hues with a bit of reddish brown. Some flecks and streaks may be found as well. It’s loved for its light colors, hardness, and fine grain. There’s less sapwood available in each trunk, and hard maple lumber manufacturers must be extra selective with this light wood type. This makes Hard Maple a premium lumber option.
The Characteristics of Hard Maple Wood
Hard maple offers the lightest coloring and least intrusive grain pattern of any Amish furniture hardwood; this makes it an excellent choice for light and medium colored furniture. Its subtle, smooth woodgrain makes for a stunning finish with a dark stain as well. You really can’t go wrong with any stain or paint you select on Hard Maple!
Due to its clarity and simplicity, hard maple fits almost any style, from formal to contemporary. Hard maple’s best quality is its versatility. It can match any style or home aesthetic depending on the hardware, stain color, and furniture design you select.
Hard Maple’s Strength & Durability
Hard maple is strong: 25% harder than brown maple. This makes it a fantastic choice for furniture that sees heavy use, including tables, desks, and chairs. It shouldn’t sustain dents or nicks as easily as softer wood types. With proper care, you can expect your hard maple furniture to last for decades. Hard maple wood is very attractive and certainly belongs alongside cherry and walnut as some of the most beautiful high-end wood types.
Is Hard Maple Right for You?
In summary, hard maple offers a fantastic combination of form and function. It offers great durability, fine grain, and a light, beautiful color tone at a higher price point than other hardwoods—ideal for fine dining, homes focused on entertaining, or those who want the best in durability. It may not be the right selection for someone who prefers rustic, distressed finishes or unique, highly characteristic woodgrain. So, is hard maple the right choice for your new furniture?