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I'm just finishing up a project using soft maple. Typically, I've used hard maple up till now.

I really find the soft maple interesting. It soaks finish up like a sponge, it retains a nice grain depth as it absorbs in and doesn't slice my up the way hard maple does when I rip it down.

The hard maple always cuts into me as I handle it, it tends to absorb unevenly and can blotch a bit and it finishes a bit darker than the soft which seems to stay very light in color.

What's your experience with it?
 

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Pretty much like yours....around here it's easier to find interesting grain withe soft maple. I lucked into a bundle of curly soft maple and love the grain features.
 

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Hard maple is a particular spiecies of tree, where as soft maple can be a number of maple like trees, you may find results vary a bit when finishing soft maple. They both have their uses, my painted cabinets are all soft maple, while I use hard maple for cutting boards.
 

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I have both and am working on some M&T's in jewelry box frames right now. The hard sure is slower to work with. I love the curl in both. We get a lot of big leaf maple here and the curl, quilt and burl is great to work with. I agree though that hard is much better for cutting boards.
 

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My first cutting board was one of the soft maple species. Perhaps silver maple. Not sure. Purchased at a big box store many years ago.

Easy to work as mentioned. Dinged too easily. Eventually replaced with hard maple.

I like using hard maple. I do not stain hard maple. I tried once, and as mentioned, the blotching was awful. Sanded down to bare wood and used in a later project.

I read that soft maple is one of 5 different species.
silver maple
box elder
big leaf maple
red maple
striped maple

I recently got some pieces of Flame Box elder. Nice looking when it has the red flame. Very soft.

At the local wood turning club, a member had a bowl in the "show and tell" table made from red maple. Very nice looking bowl and grain. I would love to work with this.
 

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My first cutting board was one of the soft maple species. Perhaps silver maple. Not sure. Purchased at a big box store many years ago.

Easy to work as mentioned. Dinged too easily. Eventually replaced with hard maple.

I like using hard maple. I do not stain hard maple. I tried once, and as mentioned, the blotching was awful. Sanded down to bare wood and used in a later project.

I read that soft maple is one of 5 different species.
silver maple
box elder
big leaf maple
red maple
striped maple

I recently got some pieces of Flame Box elder. Nice looking when it has the red flame. Very soft.

At the local wood turning club, a member had a bowl in the "show and tell" table made from red maple. Very nice looking bowl and grain. I would love to work with this.

Dave, I have a bunch of hard maple- supposed to be red maple- very hard. Outside is maple color and heart is red. I will picture if desired. Also have Big leaf and silver. They all can have very nice figure.
 

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Dave, I have a bunch of hard maple- supposed to be red maple- very hard. Outside is maple color and heart is red. I will picture if desired. Also have Big leaf and silver. They all can have very nice figure.
I would love seeing the pictures of the different species. :thumbsup:
 

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I would love seeing the pictures of the different species. :thumbsup:

Hard maple is on top and soft maple on the bottom. From what I've seen so far both species can get a nice curly look to it but hard maple seems to be the whitest of the two. From what I was once told hard maple comes from silver maple trees where soft maple comes from the rest of maple trees.
 

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First off- PHinds is the expert here-These are just my observations. Here are some quick pictures. first one are 2 jewelry box frames I am working on. Left is silver maple- pretty soft compare to one on right- I was told Red Maple??- It is very hard- old tree. Next is quilted big leaf sanded to 220 and linseed oil- below it is unsanded same and next to it on right is hard red maple?? Next picture is planed silver maple. Last pic should be box made out of the silver maple- pretty sure of it- has the bark on planks.
 

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Personally The Harder the better for me, I don't stain so it just works better for me I love Birdseye Maple over all tho
 
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First off- PHinds is the expert here-These are just my observations. Here are some quick pictures. first one are 2 jewelry box frames I am working on. Left is silver maple- pretty soft compare to one on right- I was told Red Maple??- It is very hard- old tree. Next is quilted big leaf sanded to 220 and linseed oil- below it is unsanded same and next to it on right is hard red maple?? Next picture is planed silver maple. Last pic should be box made out of the silver maple- pretty sure of it- has the bark on planks.
Thanks for the pictures.

I LOVE the figure in the last picture whatever the species. :thumbsup:

I have some log sections of silver maple from a tree which fell in a storm last October. My friend cut up the tree into sections and gave me a few pieces. I have not yet cut into these to see if any nice figure inside.
 

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Thanks Dave, the box is silver maple- soft but not that soft. A little softer then walnut. I like working with both but I have access to a lot of big leaf maple and have a bunch of what I am calling Red Maple. Roy your bench vise maple is the same tree as the red. PS- sorry Gideon if I have taken your thread astray- no ill intent.
 
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Yap Mike good an hard to :laughing:
 
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