Smart, Cost-Effective, Treasured for Generations.

Soft Maple

Acer rubrum, Acer saccharinum - Other Names: Red Maple, Silver Maple, Box Elder
 
 

Stain Selector

Clear

Light

Medium

Dark

 

Where It Grows

Throughout Eastern U.S., and to a lesser extent on the West Coast (bigleaf maple). Average tree height is 60 to 80 feet.

Main uses

Furniture, paneling and millwork, kitchen cabinets, mouldings, doors, musical instruments, and turnings. Soft maple is often used as a substitute for hard maple or stained to resemble other species such as cherry. Its physical and working properties also make it a possible substitute for beech.

Relative Abundance

4 percent of U.S. hardwoods commercially available.

Did You Know?

Charcoal is often made from soft maple.

General Description

In most respects soft maple is very similar to hard maple. Generally the sapwood is greyish white, sometimes with darker colored pith flecks. The heartwood varies from light to dark reddish brown. The wood is usually straight-grained. The lumber is generally sold unselected for color.

Working Properties

Soft maple machines well and can be stained to an excellent finish. It glues, screws, and nails satisfactorily. Polishes well and is suitable for enamel finishes and brown tones. It dries slowly with minimal degrade and there is little movement in performance.

Physical Properties

Soft maple is about 25 percent less hard than hard maple, has medium bending and crushing strength, and is low in stiffness and shock resistance. It has good steam-bending properties.

Availability

Readily available.

Working Properties


Machining

 
 
 
 
 
Poor
Good

Nailing

 
 
 
 
 
Poor
Good

Screwing

 
 
 
 
 
Poor
Good

Gluing

 
 
 
 
 
Poor
Good

Finishing

 
 
 
 
 
Poor
Good
 

Strength and Mechanical Properties (inch-pound)a


 

Static Bending

Moisture Content

Specific Gravity (b)

Modulus of Rupture
(lbf/in2)

Modulus of Elasticity (c)
(106 lbf/in2)

Work to Maximum Load
(in-lbf/in3)

Green-12% 0.44-0.54 5,800-13,400 0.94-1.64 7.8-12.5

Impact Bending
to Grain
(in)

Compression
Parallel to Grain
(lbf/in2)

Compression
Perpendicular to Grain
(lbf/in2)

Shear
Parallel to Grain
(lbf/in2)

Tension
Perpendicular to Grain
(lbf/in2)

Side Hardness
(lbf)

23-32 2,490-6,540 370-1,000 1,050-1,850 — -600 590-950

a) Results of tests on small clear specimens in the green and air-dried conditions. Definition of properties; impact bending is height of drop that causes complete failure, using 0.71-kg (50 lb.) hammer; compression parallel to grain is also called maximum crushing strength; compression perpendicular to grain is fiber stress at proportional limit; shear is maximum shearing strength; tension is maximum tensile strength; and side hardness is hardness measured when load is perpendicular to grain.

b) Specific gravity is based on weight when ovendry and volume when green or at 12% moisture content

c) Modulus of elasticity measured from a simply supported, center-loaded beam, on a span depth ratio of 14/1. To correct for shear reflection, the modulus can be increased by 10%.