Maple, American Hard

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American hard maple is a cold weather tree that grows across the north-east States of the US and in Canada. It produces an attractive timber with creamy-white sapwood, sometimes with a pink tinge, and light to reddish brown heartwood. Higher grades of the timber are selected for the white colour of the sapwood, and this can limit their availability. While generally straight-grained, American hard maple can have a distinctive curly, fiddleback or birdseye figure. Figured maple is generally only commercially available as veneer.

American hard maple, as the name suggests, is a hard, heavy wood with a fine texture that is high in all strength properties except for stiffness, which is medium. It is a hardwearing timber, making it ideal for flooring applications where there is a high volume of foot traffic, such as gymnasiums or concert halls. It also has a very good steam bending classification.

American hard maple is considered to be quite difficult to work with due to its blunting effect. Pre-boring is recommended when nailing or screwing. The timber does not take glue well. When care is taken, the timber machines and turns well, and it can be stained and polished to achieve an extremely attractive finish. 

Readily available in Australia as both sawn timber and veneer, American hard maple is used in a variety of interior applications, such as furniture, panelling, cabinet making and interior joinery. It is also used in stairs, handrails, mouldings and doors. As mentioned above, the hardwearing properties of American hard maple means that it is an excellent timber for flooring applications in gymnasiums, theatres, concert halls and basketball courts. In its veneer form, American hard maple is also used in the construction of skateboards.

 

 

 

 

Appearance

American hard maple is an attractive creamy white timber with a pinkish tinge. Heartwood can vary from a light to dark reddish brown, depending on the growing region. Both the heartwood and sapwood can have a pith fleck. The timber is fine-textured and generally straight-grained. Sometimes a curly, fiddleback or birdseye figure can occur, which is considered to enhance the appearance of the wood. American hard maple sapwood darkens over time when exposed to UV light.

Common Applications

American hard maple is used in a wide range of interior applications such as flooring, panelling, cabinet making, table tops, joinery, stairs, handrails, mouldings and doors. Its hardwearing properties make it ideal for flooring in areas with a high volume of foot traffic. It is also used in boat building and in the construction of musical instruments and skateboards.

Common Form

Sawn

Workability

A hard, heavy timber, American hard maple is considered to be quite difficult to work. However, when care is taken it machines and turns well, and can be glued satisfactorily. Pre-boring is recommended when nailing and screwing. The timber steam bends well. When sanded, stained and polished, the timber has an extremely attractive finish.

Origin of Timber

North America

Readily Available

NSW

Availability - Further Information

American hard maple is imported into Australia in fairly high quantities and is readily available from specialist timber suppliers.

Availability - Further Information

Native Forest

Shrinkage

Very Low Low Medium High Very High

Tangential :

6.30%

Radial:

3.10%

Unit Movement Tangential:

0.35%

Unit Movement Radial:

0.17%

Strength Group

Very High

High

Reasonably High

Medium High

Medium

Reasonably Low

Low

Very Low

Unseasoned:

S1

S2

S3

S4

S5

S6

S7

Seasoned:

SD1

SD2

SD3

SD4

SD5

SD6

SD7

SD8

Stress Grade

Structural
No. 1
Structural
No. 2
Structural
No. 3
Structural
No. 4
Structural
No. 5

Unseasoned:

Seasoned:

F17

F14

F11

F8

F7

Density per Standard

Seasoned:

705kg/m3

Unseasoned:

925kg/m3

Joint Group

Very High

High

Reasonably High

Medium

Low

Very Low

Unseasoned:

J1

J2

J3

J4

J5

J6

Seasoned:

JD1

JD2

JD3

JD4

JD5

JD6

Colour

  White, yellow, pale straw to light brown Pink to pink brown Light to dark red Brown, chocolate, mottled or streaky
   

Mechanical Properties

Modulus of Rupture - Unseasoned:

65

Modulus of Rupture - Seasoned:

109

Modulus of Elasticity - Unseasoned:

11

Modulus of Elasticity - Seasoned:

13

Maximum Crushing Strength - Unseasoned:

28

Maximum Crushing Strength - Seasoned:

54

Impact - Unseasoned:

Impact - Seasoned:

Toughness - Unseasoned:

Medium - 15 - 24 Nm

Toughness - Seasoned:

Medium - 15 - 24 Nm

Hardness - Unseasoned:

4.3

Hardness - Seasoned:

6.4

Durability

Low Moderate Reasonably High High
(0 - 5 yrs) (5 - 15 yrs) (15 - 25 yrs) (more than 25 yrs)

In-Ground:

(0 - 7 yrs) (7 - 15 yrs) (15 - 40 yrs) (More than 40 yrs)

Above ground:

(0 - 20 yrs, usually < 5) (21 - 40 yrs) (41 - 64 yrs) (More than 60 yrs)

Marine Borer Resistance:

Lyctid Borer Susceptibility:

Susceptible

Lyctid Borer Susceptibility - Other:

Termite Resistance:

Not Resistant

Fire Properties

Bushfire Resistance:

Not tested

Flooring

Whether for structural or finished flooring applications, timber offers durability, versatility and adaptability. The warmth, strength and natural beauty of timber flooring has proved enduringly popular in a wide variety of interior settings.

Timber flooring is a timeless product, offering a warmth and natural beauty largely unmatched by other flooring options. This article provides an overview of the installation of solid timber strip flooring over bearers and joists, timber based sheet flooring products and concrete slabs. Timber flooring is typically supplied as either solid timber or laminated wood products, made from layers of bonded timber. It fits together with a tongue and groove joint and once in place, is sanded and finished. There is a wide variety of species to select flooring from and the right species for a given application will be dependent on numerous factors. Information relating to species selection, environmental assessment, finish selection and recommended maintenance routines are all provided in this section.

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