Q. We use soft maple and sometimes we get some material that is a lot softer than normal. It even finishes differently. Any ideas on this?


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Gene Wengert, aka The Wood Doctor, troubleshoots wood related problems, and explores lumber and veneer qualities and performance, species by species, in Wood Explorer, inside FDMC's Knowledge Center.

A. There are two kinds of soft maple in the eastern U.S.: silver and red. These are two different species of trees. There is quite a bit of difference (10 to 30 percent) between the two. Here is a tabulation of several properties with silver first and red second.
Density: 32 vs. 36 pounds per cubic foot
Hardness: 700 vs. 900 pounds
Strength (MOR): 8900 vs. 13,400 psi
Bending (MOE): 1.14 vs. 1.64 million psi
These differences will affect gluing, machining and finishing. So, check with your supplier and, in your case, ask for all red maple.


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