Maple trees are a common symbol of strength and endurance around the world and have been declared as the “national tree” of many countries. Our fair neighbors to the north, Canada, have the leaf of the maple on both their coat of arms and on their flag. As a symbol of strength and endurance it should come as no surprise that this hardwood is popular for its shock resistance and durability. These characteristics make it useful in many ways.
Maple has long been popular for making cabinets and furniture in the United States. It can posses a straight, curly, or wavy grain and it’s natural patina makes it a great choice for bright, airy spaces in which a uniform, clean appearance is desired. The natural make up of maple also makes it suitable for refinishing in a large variety of colors and stains. Often this is done to resemble other types of wood since maple cabinets and furniture can be crafted at a lower cost than many of the other popular hardwood choices used in cabinetry and furniture making.
In addition to the characteristics that make it a great choice for furniture and cabinetry, maple is what is known as a “tonewood”. Meaning it carries sound waves well. Maple’s innate hardness produces a bright sound making it a popular choice for guitar necks and fret boards. What is known as quilted or flamed maple is very popular for use in making carved guitar tops. This unique style of wood grain has become iconic through its use in crafting Gibson Les Paul guitars.
While not as common as hickory or ash, Sam Holman of Sam Bats introduced the maple bat to Major League baseball in 1998. While the hardness of maple makes it work well for hitting baseballs these bats do tend to shatter when they do break raising some concern over safety and their use in the game. Baseball is not the only sport maple makes an appearance in. Sugar Maple, also known as hard maple, is the all around preferred wood for crafting pool ques, bowling pins, and the flooring for the bowling lanes.
The Sugar, or hard, maple also provides an incredibly popular food item, maple syrup (obviously). An absolute must have in the cabinet or pantry. Many of us can not imagine a big breakfast without the image of a syrup drowned plate coming to mind. While other species of maple can be tapped for their sap in order to make syrup none work as well as the sugar maple. Hence the name. It takes roughly 40 liters of Sugar maple sap to produce 1 liter of syrup.
In conclusion we see that this hardwood has many, many uses. It can be crafted into fine custom cabinetry, a bowling pin, an instrument, or maybe a bat, and it’s delightful boiled down sap makes breakfast time rival desert. A symbol of strength and endurance across the world may the maple tree flourish and continue to provide for us and us for it.
Van Jester Woodworks