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7 Types of Maple Wood for DIY Projects (With Pictures)

different kinds of maple wood

Maple is a fantastic hardwood for woodworking, flooring, furniture, and DIY projects. There are several species of maple, and each one is unique. One aspect they all have in common is their versatility; most maple types are easy to work with and have a beautiful appearance. In this article, we’ll look at seven types of maple wood for DIY projects. Continue reading to learn more about the various maple types, their suitability, and how they look.

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The 7 Types of Maple Wood for DIY Projects

Hard Maple

1. Sugar Maple

Color Reddish-brown
Janka Hardness Scale 1450

Sugar Maple, also known as Hard Maple, is the strongest maple wood according to the Janka Hardness Scale. It is very dense and can be difficult to work with, but it’s very durable and has an aesthetic appeal that people love.

It’s darker than other maples, usually pale brown or beige, and you can use Sugar maple for DIY furniture, cabinetry, musical instruments, or toys. It’s water, shock, and decay-resistant, making it perfect for indoor and outdoor use.

  • Durable
  • Dense
  • Aesthetically appealing
  • Water, shock, and decay-resistant
  • Can be difficult to work with

2. Black Maple

Color Deep dark brown/ almost black
Janka Hardness Scale 1180

Black Maple is another species in the hard maple category; however, some consider it hard while others don’t. Still, it has a Janka Hardness Scale higher than soft maples. It’s easy to work with, and DIY beginners can use it for their projects.

You can use it to create furniture, workbenches, musical instruments, or interesting wooden sculptures. It has a deep dark brown, almost black color that stands out from other species.

  • Good workability
  • Beautiful autumn foliage
  • Interesting color
  • Can be pricey

Soft Maples

3. Red Maple

Color Reddish-brown/white or golden
Janka Hardness Scale 950

Red Maple is interesting to work with due to its stunning color and occasionally wavy grains. Red Maple is usually affordable, but varieties with wavy grains are more expensive than straight-grained varieties.  It’s pretty easy to work with, but you need to be careful when using machinery, as it can burn if you use high-speed cutters.

It’s perfect for smaller DIY projects like making boxes, crates, pallets, musical instruments, or other wooden knick-knacks. It is not decay-resistant, so make sure you use proper stains and finishes after the building part of the project is done.

  • Easy to work with
  • Affordable
  • Stunning color
  • Can burn when using high-speed cutters
  • Wavy-grained varieties can be expensive
  • Not decay-resistant

4. Silver Maple

Color White/light-beige/reddish brown
Janka Hardness Scale 700

Silver Maple is known for its light-beige/white color that can sometimes even become reddish-brown. It’s another soft maple species that’s easy to work with, making it great for all DIYers, especially beginners. It is another type that can burn while in contact with high-speed saws, so be careful!

Silver Maple is commonly straight-grained but can be wavy as well. You can use it for DIY crates, boxes, furniture, or other interesting wooden items. Ensure you wear protective gear while working on Silver Maple since it can cause skin irritation.

  • Easy to work with
  • Great for DIY beginners
  • Can burn when using high-speed machinery
  • Can cause skin irritation while being worked

5. Striped Maple

Color Light brown/reddish-brown
Janka Hardness Scale 770

Striped Maple is affordable and can be used for various DIY projects and carving. It’s easy to use, both with machine and hand tools. Striped Maple is another species that’s commonly straight-grained but can be wavy and finishes nicely, but blotches may appear while staining.

Therefore, you might need toners to even out the color after staining. It’s suitable for carvings, furniture, accessories, boxes, or other small wood projects.

  • Easy to process
  • Affordable
  • Blotches may appear while staining
  • You might need toners to even out the color

6. Bigleaf Maple

Color Off-white/light brown with golden or reddish hues
Janka Hardness Scale 850

Bigleaf Maple is also commonly used for woodworking and DIY projects. It’s easy to work with, and it glues, finishes, and stains well. It can be straight-grained, burled, or wavy and used for carving, DIY furniture, boxes, cabinetry, architectural millwork, musical instruments, or wooden household items.

It’s pretty durable and robust but cannot be compared with hard maple varieties. Bigleaf Maple is affordable for anyone who loves DIY, and DIYers with any skill level can use it.

  • Easy to work with
  • Glues, stains, and finishes well
  • Durable
  • Affordable
  • Cannot be compared with hard maple varieties

7. Box Elder

Color Pale white/beige with yellow-greenish hues
Janka Hardness Scale 720

Box Elder is praised for its color and workability. It’s a soft maple variety that is straight-grained and has a fine texture. People use it for carving and DIY projects such as ornamental objects, crates, or boxes.

It’s best to use anything made from Box Elder inside because it has an unpleasant smell when wet and is prone to insect attacks and decay. It’s an affordable species, so beginners can use it until they decide to tackle more complex projects.

  • Good workability
  • Interesting color
  • Great for beginners
  • Prone to insect attacks and decay
  • Has an unpleasant smell when wet

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What can I make with maple wood?

There are many ways you can use maple wood to create interesting items. People use hard maple varieties for flooring, furniture, cabinetry, veneers, and much more.

Softer varieties of maple can be used to make boxes, crates, household objects, sports gear, and other small knick-knacks. People go for maple wood because it’s easy to work with and looks beautiful, so if you have a new DIY project, try using some maple varieties.

Is maple a cheap wood?

Maple wood is usually moderately priced and affordable, depending on the variety. It’s usually cheaper than other hardwood species like Oak or Cherry. Hard maples are more expensive than softer varieties. Wavy or curled maple will be more expensive than straight-grained, but it generally costs anywhere from $6 to $14 per foot.

What’s the difference between hard and soft maple?

The biggest difference between hard and soft maple is the hardness and density of the wood. Hard maple species are denser and have a higher rating on the Janka Hardness Scale. Also, hard maple varieties are usually lighter in color than soft maple. Soft maples are lightweight and grow faster than hard maples, and harder varieties usually have tighter grains.

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There are plenty of excellent maple varieties on the market that you can use for different DIY projects. It’s pretty, easy to work with, and usually very durable. Also, most types are affordable, so you can do multiple projects at once or test out each variety to see which works best for you.

Featured Image Credit: optimarc, Shutterstock


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