Acer saccharum of the family Aceraceae. Native to North America.
Actually, there are over 60 species of maple and several of them are sold as hard maple, so this needs further clarification, but USUALLY hard maple in the USA means Acer saccharum and it is also called rock maple (among dozens of other common names)
NOTE: this wood should not be confused with the similarly-spelled Acer saccharinum which is soft maple
both sides of a sample plank of sugar maple / Acer saccharum --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.
end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above
flat cut hard maple planks photographed at a lumber yard --- extremely large enlargements are present
closeup of a couple of the planks directly above --- extremely large enlargements are present
some planks shot at Lowes at different times --- extremely large enlargements are present; I shot that first one because of the extreme mineral stain. The darker brown color on some of these is correct (they might be all-heartwood planks). Brown heartwood can be seen in the middle of a few of these
Plank with some gum inclusions --- extreme enlargements are present
planks shot at Lowes and a closeup --- extreme enlargements are present
plank and closeup
more planks at a lumber yard
small plank and end grain
end grain closeup of the piece directly above
plank and end grain
end grain closeup of the piece directly above
side grain of the same piece, showing the fairly common small ray flakes that sometimes show up in hard maple.
plank with sapwood. This plank has more curl than you can see in this picture.
plank donated by Jim Glynn --- thanks Jim. There's a little figure in this that shows up better in the actual wood than it does in this pic. Jim called it a "baby quilt" but I think "mottle" might be a more accurate description.
mineral stain --- a common occurance in hard maple.
end grain closeup of the piece directly above --- this is VERY poorly surfaced but the almost-vertical lines ARE rays, not scratches --- note that they consitently run perpendicular to the grain, not parallel to each other as would be more likely for sanding scratches. If you look closely on enlargements, you WILL see parallel (vertical) sanding scratches.
lumber-yard plank with mineral stain
set of planks in a lumber yard with the top one having heavy mineral stain.
3" long piece of split maple (as opposed to having been sawed) that very nicely shows the small rays that sometimes give maple that nice tight ray flake pattern.
quartersawn planks, rough planed --- in just looking at these, I would not have readily identified them as hard maple (as opposed to other maple varieties; they clearly are some kind of maple) but I trust the vendor I bought it from so assume they are hard maple
NOT a raw wood color flooring sample that has been finished with a hard, shiny finishing agent that has only slightly yellowed the color --- many finishing agents REALLY yellow the color on maple, so this one appears to be pretty good.
the piece directly above, after I sanded off the finish --- the apparent sharpening of the grain in this pic is because the one above is slightly out of focus, NOT because the finish fuzzied the grain (something that DOES happen with some woods --- see western red cedar, for example).
sample plank and end grain --- this sample seems to me to be far less representative of the species than most of the others of my own pics but that lack of representative nature is fairly common in the samples I got from the IWCS. The color on this set of pics is a bit too green
top-and-side view and end view of a small piece; very accurate color
end grain closeup and side grain closeup of the same piece as directly above. This piece was chosen because of the nice ray flakes on the side grain. From the end grain shot, you can see that the side grain is quartersawn, although not perfectly so.
hard maple plank and a closeup
planks shot at a lumber yard
veneer --- I note that the color of the veneer, which is shown very accurately here, is lighter than many of the planks. Also, you can tell it's veneer because my felt-tip pen marking on the reverse side is visible through the wood on the left side. This sheet is very typical of flat cut hard maple veneer and the bottom of the sheet gives a good view of what quartersawn hard maple looks like.
flat cut veneer sheet and closeup --- the color on the closeup is too white; there's a yellowish cast that shows up better in the distance pic.
quartersawn flaky veneer --- the color is way off on this one; the wood is nearly white with none of the red tint shown here.
flaky hard maple and closeup
veneer --- this piece is slightly silver in color and is very hard, with a glossy surface that is unlike normal hard maple veneer
numerous pieces of hard maple veneer from different lots / flitches
fiddleback hard maple --- long piece and closeup. This is sold as "Fiddleback English Sycamore". This variety had me doubly-confused. When I first got a piece, I was convinced it was hard maple even though the vendor listed it as Enlish sycamore, so I put it with the hard maple. Then I saw a lot of places that advertised it as English sycamore so I though that it was a sycamore variety that just LOOKED like hard maple, so I put it with the sycamore. Now I THINK I've got it right. It is hard maple, but the British call it sycamore. In England, what we call sycamore is called "planetree". Confused? Me too.
At any rate, it is a very attractive wood and is a frequently a true fiddleback figure, although as you can see from some of the additional samples directly below, it isn't always a true fiddleback.
NOTE: this is such a distinctive and widely used variety that I have created a page for it (maple, curly) even though it is not a wood species in and of itself, it is just a figure variety of hard maple.
fiddleback hard maple ("English Sycamore") --- the figure on these is weaker than on the long sheet directly above, but it is stronger than what shows up in some of these pics. The first two of these, in particular, are a true fiddleback. The colors on these are all close, but not all perfect --- as usual, I have trouble with yellows.
curly hard maple veneer sheet and closeup --- the curl is weak but it is a little stronger than what shows up in this pic.
mineral stain is a very common flaw in hard maple. There are two types: first is a concentrated area of dark brown as shown in this picture and second is a diffuse but much larger area of light brown or gray discoloration.
a couple of small hard maple crotch veneer sheets --- looks like minor branch crotches, not big ones.
flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
hard maple (Acer saccharum, also listed as sugar maple, rock maple, and sugar-tree) from The Wood Book --- one level of enlargement is available for each of the 3 views
web pics --- colors are very suspect throughout
log section showing the typically small heartwood and wide sapwood
planks with wet and dry sections
quartersawn plank end grain
flat cut planks
flat cut with heartwood
planks with heartwood. the two sides of the set of planks show significantly different colors which is typical of the careless photography that you find on the internet.
quartersawn plank with excellent ray flakes
plank specifically listed as sugar maple, which is one of the maple varieties that are generally lumped together as hard maple --- the red color is unlikely
figured hard maple planks
fiddleback hard maple plank
curly hard maple
turning stock just listed as hard maple, although it is clearly curly
two curly planks
fiddleback hard maple veneer, sold as "English Sycamore" veneer
veneer listed as "brownheart" / Acer saccarum --- I take "brownheart" to be a descriptive marketing term used only by this particular vendor since I have not seen it elsewhere and it is not in any wood name database that I have encountered. It IS a good description, since these pieces have brown heartwood running through the middle. Also, these were not listed as curly or fiddleback but they ARE fiddleback and very nicely so.
fiddleback hard maple veneer
figured hard maple veneer sold as figured English sycamore veneer
nicely done door with rotary cut hard maple veneer outer ply, and an enlargement --- very large enlargments are present for both.
these were all listed as spalted hard maple but I think they might be spalted red maple. There are many more spalted planks on the "maple, spalted" page.
spalted hard maple crotch --- the original pic was a heavy purple color and although I've correct it to make it look more like real wood, I'm sure it's still not color correct.
hard maple veneer (sold as English sycamore)
a "thank you note" printed on hard maple veneer. the man who sent me this picture does printing of various sorts on various types of veneer