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Hard Maple (Acer saccharum, Acer nigrum)

Family: Maple (Acera­ceae)

Common Names: Sugar Maple, Black Maple, Bigleaf Maple.

Hard maple is a lumber term, not a tree classification. Synonymous with the other common term for this wood: "Rock Maple", it generally refers to two maple species common in Nebraska: Sugar maple (Acer saccharum) and Black maple (Acer nigrum). The two trees have very similar properties.

The sapwood is creamy white with a slight reddish brown tinge and the heartwood varies from light to dark reddish brown. The amount of darker brown heartwood can vary significantly according to growing region. Both sapwood and heartwood can contain pith fleck. The wood has a close fine, uniform texture and is generally straight-grained, but it can also occur as "curly," "fiddleback," and "birds-eye" figure.

Widely available. The higher quality grades of lumber are available selected for white color (sapwood) although this can limit availability. Figured maple (birds-eye, curly, fiddleback) is generally only available in commercial volumes as veneer.

Hard maple dries slowly with high shrinkage, so it can be susceptible to movement. Pre-boring is recommended when nailing and screwing. With care it machines well, turns well, glues satisfactorily, and can be stained to an outstanding finish. Polishes well and is suitable for enamel finishes and brown tones.

Commonly used in flooring, furniture, paneling, ballroom and gymnasium floors, kitchen cabinets, worktops, table tops, butchers blocks, toys, kitchenware and millwork: stairs, handrails, mouldings, and doors.