Soft Maple

Common Name: Soft Maple
Botanical Designation: Not a distinct species of maple. Soft maple is a commercial term meant to differentiate the wood of some types of maple from hard maple (Acer saccharum).
Distribution: Temperate regions of North America
Average Dried Weight: 30.2 to 38.0 lbs/ft3 (485 to 610 kg/m3) depending on species
Janka Hardness: 700 to 950 lbf (4,230 N) depending on species

soft maple grain

Comments: Don’t be fooled by the name, most species of soft maple have a hardness and density near black walnut (Juglans nigra) or black cherry (Prunus serotina)—two highly regarded cabinet woods in North America. Soft is a relative term, and is only used to differentiate it from hard maple (Acer saccharum). For many applications, soft maple’s hardness is sufficient, and its reduced density generally means it’s easier to work with and machine than hard maple.

Exactly which species are sold under the soft maple umbrella will vary based on geography. See the species listing below for a better breakdown of what to expect. For a comparison of the physical properties of the different species, please see the complete article entitled: Differences Between Hard Maple and Soft Maple.

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