how to tell hard vs. soft maple

I am planning a woodworking project and intend to build this project (work table) with maple. I understand that there are both hard and soft maples. How would you know hard maple from soft maple? My options for purchasing lumber include purchasing rough-sawn from a hardwood dealer or buying S4S from a lumber yard or my local big-box building supply company which recently began carrying maple 1X stock.
While I am sure that the maple at the hardwood deal is in fact hard - how might I tell if the maple at the lumber yard (S4S) is hard rather than soft?
Thanks in advance,
remsendh
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Press your finger nail in to the wood... If you "easily" leave a dent, it's probably soft maple..

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
You must have some pretty strong fingernails. IME, even "soft" maple is pretty hard. There's no way that I can dig a fingernail into it.
I don't know is this is universal, but the soft maple I've seen has a bit more color and a more pronounced grain, while hard maple is very light and has almost no noticeable grain. (But when you're looking at them rough, it's pretty hard to judge the color and grain.)
On Sun, 14 Sep 2003 18:25:48 GMT, "Leon"

-- jc Published e-mail address is strictly for spam collection. If e-mailing me, please use jc631 at optonline dot net
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I find it's not to hard to slightly dent a soft maple board with a fingernail. Hard maple is not so easy to dent. That's how I tell.
Rich S.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Welll... ;~) I keep my nails pretty short and the don't bend easily... and you may have a "harder" soft maple in your neck of the woods that what I see. My supplier keeps them both next to each other.....I don't know why, and they get mixed..
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

after working with tropicals hard maple seems soft to me. soft maple seems like fake wood.
--
Knight-Toolworks & Custom Planes
Custom made wooden planes at reasonable prices
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Oregon big leaf maple is pretty soft, its got great figure, but marks real easy. Rock or birdseye maple show little or no marking with the finger nail.
Bob P making sawdust in Salem Or
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 14 Sep 2003 16:30:36 -0400, "Mike G"

At my supplier I have to pick my way past the cowpats and I'm expected to help swing the engine on the tractor-powered sawbench if I want any big ripping done. They're not big on barcodes or shelf labels.

The density is probably the best guide. Hard maples have a specific gravity over 0.55, soft maples below this (total range is about 0.45 - 0.65). Although there's a correlation with species, there are no single "hard maple" or "soft maple" species. Sugar maples are hard, red maples soft. The rest are variable.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

No tags at the Borg, but it's all soft maple.

Silver maples are soft. Black maples are hard.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Andy Dingley wrote:

Variable?...never heard that one before. It's one or the other...
Hard maple: black, sugar Soft maple: red, silver
(from the "Wood Handbook...Wood as an Engineering Material", US Dept of Agriculture, Forestry Products Laboratory) http://www.woodweb.com/knowledge_base/Wood_Handbook.html
--
************************************
Chris Merrill
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

+ + + And this should be valuable in practice because ...? Also you forgot to specify OD or green. + + +

+ + + Actually it is simpler: Acer saccharum yields hard maple (also Acer nigrum if this is acknowledged as separate from Acer saccharum) Acer rubrum and Acer saccharinum yield soft maple All other maples yield maple (with or without a specifier) PvR
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.