Q: What is rock hard maple?

A: There are two major classes of commercial maple lumber in the Eastern U.S.: soft maple and hard maple. In the west, big-leaf or Oregon maple is common. The lumber produced from several tree species (red maple and silver maple mainly) is called soft maple lumber. Lumber produced from sugar maple (and black maple, but black maple is not a common tree) trees is called hard maple. The sugar maple tree is called Acer saccharum (genus and species Latin names).

Some common names for the sugar maple tree are black maple, hard maple, rock maple, sugar tree, sweet maple, and thumbnail maple, in addition to sugar maple. Rock hard maple is a local name for sugar maple lumber. Box elder is also a maple. It should not be mixed with either soft or hard maple lumber, but should be sold separately. However, it does get mixed in with soft maple accidentally.

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