General: Found throughout the Eastern U.S. and to a lesser extent on the West Coast (Bigleaf maple) in terms of major timber stands. In some form it is found across the United States. It is called soft maple primarily to distinguish it from hard maple.
Description: In most respects soft and hard maple are very similar. 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.
Workability: 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. 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.
Common 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.
Widths: 3″ to 12″
Lengths: 8′ t0 12′
Surfacing: Skip planed
Soft Maple Links: