hard maple vs soft maple - is one or the other preferred?

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when would hard be preferred over soft? and vice versa?
other than "how is the piece going to be used" are there some other reasons to pick hard over soft?
I picked up some HD birch/maple 3/4" plywood for shop cabinets, built-in bookcase, and misc other cabinetry furniture. Should I trim it with soft or hard maple? Thoughts?
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Soft. The hard variety is from old growth and that is not a source that is sustainable forever.
--
mare

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In article
mare*Remove*All*0f*This*I*Hate*Spammers*@mac.invalid.com (mare) wrote:

The distinction between hard maple and soft maple has nothing to do with old growth versus recent growth. They're different species, and there's plenty of hard maple that isn't "old growth". Heck, I have better than a half a dozen sugar maple trees in my back yard that are *all* less than fifty years old.
Hard maple = principally Acer saccharum (sugar maple), less commonly A. nigrum (black maple). Some botanists classify nigrum as a variety of saccharum; certainly the sap is as sweet. (In fact, of the trees in my yard that I tap, the lone black maple gives more and sweeter sap than any of the sugar maples.)
Soft maple = almost any other species of maple, chiefly A. rubrum (red maple) and A. saccharinum (silver maple).
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snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

You do your own maple syrup? How much sap do you get per tree? Where are you located?
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Yes, we do. Typical yield runs around 35 to 40 quarts of sap per tree, which turns into about the same number of *ounces* of syrup. We're in Indianapolis.
CAUTION: if you're thinking of doing this at home, be sure to vent the steam *outdoors*. Don't boil it down in an open kettle in the kitchen. Some substance resembling latex boils off in the steam. You *don't* want that coating your kitchen ceiling. My mom said one of her uncles did that once as a kid... and they never, ever got the ceiling completely clean. I use a pressure cooker with the regulator removed, and a piece of poly tubing over the regulator fitting to carry the steam outdoors. Every so often, I have to ream out the discharge end of the tube to keep it clear of this gunk.
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Doug Miller wrote:

there was a show food network a little while ago on making syrup like this, he did it on a BBQ on the back patio, never did explain why, I just thought it was because of the smell, good to know if I ever try this myself, unlikely here in Idaho, but you never know
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wrote:

No, nothing to do with the smell. The steam coming out smells like maple syrup and, oddly enough, potatoes. It's an unusual smell, but by no means unpleasant.
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this,
thought
syrup
There's also a LOT of moisture produced as you boil it down. Don't want too much of that indoors.
Lot of steam coming out of the sugar shacks in the spring up here.
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In the quantities I'm dealing with, maybe 40 gallons of sap, boiled down over three or four weeks' time, I doubt that would be too much of a problem. The house could use a bit of extra humidity in late Jan - early Feb...
If the moisture were all you had to worry about, you could easily vent it with a kitchen range hood. But after seeing the gunk that builds up in my vent tube, I think I don't want that in my range hood.

Yeah, but they're processing thousands of gallons of sap, too. You couldn't do that on your kitchen stove if you wanted to.
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So vent your dryer into a filter and recapture both heat and moisture like we do.

over
The
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wrote:

Those larger syrup producers use reverse osmosis to get rid of the first 90% of the water. I attend the festivals around here every year (SW Ontario) I eat maple syrup pancakes till I wobble.
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On Tue, 14 Dec 2004 16:34:50 -0500, mare

No, they're different trees, entirely. And hard maple _is_ sustanable, it just takes a while to get a good sized tree. I've got acres of 'em growing (slowly) that some day my grandkids will hopefully get rich on.
Dave Hinz
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mare writes:

Say what? Soft maple grows faster than hard maple, but "old growth" for hard maple is way under 100 years. Much of it is in sugar bush country these days, and it is replanted annually as older trees lose their sap producing ability.
Charlie Self "He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire." Sir Winston Churchill
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why use soft?
-j

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It's a *lot* less expensive, and often has better figure. And with respect to maples, "soft" is something of a relative term anyway. Lumber from Acer rubrum (red maple) is sold as soft maple to distinguish it from that of A. saccharum (sugar maple), but A. rubrum is harder than black ash or American elm, as hard as cherry, and nearly as hard as black walnut.
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Doug Miller wrote:

I can confirm that in actual use too. I don't know for a fact that the "soft maple" is Acer rubrum, but it was branded as "soft maple" and was only a tad more expensive than poplar. Cheaper than birch, I think, and prettier too.
Anyway, I have (actually Dad has) a walnut/soft maple chess box that has seen a fair amount of use in the last year. I did a pretty good job on it, if I do say so myself, and the surface of the board is as seamless and glass-like today as it was a year ago. That's not exactly a long running test of time, but it's still encouraging that there is absolutely no indication that the "soft" squares are faring any differently from the harder walnut ones, and it still feels like the entire surface is a single piece of wood. The two woods seem to be very evenly matched.
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J asks:

Money. Soft maple is significantly cheaper than hard maple these days.
Charlie Self "He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire." Sir Winston Churchill
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(Charlie Self) wrote:

Always has been, not just "these days".
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
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thanks all, I have my answers.
though it's called "soft" it's relative hardness is right there with cherry and walnut, and back of hard maple and oak.
as long as i'm not using it for a baseball bat, i should be ok ;-)
and able to afford the mistakes i'm going to make !!
On Tue, 14 Dec 2004 13:10:45 -0700, nospam snipped-for-privacy@mesanetworks.net wrote:

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I am doing a test, albeit unintentionally. I turned a couple of woodworkers mallets with walnut handles and maple heads. I realized after the 2nd one was in process that it, unlike its predicessor (a month or so before) was soft maple. While the color is a little different, it is hard to tell the difference in use. They feel the same, sound the same and seem to be 'dinging' the same (which is to say, not very much). Time will tell.
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