Working with Silver Maple

      Like Red Maple, it's a type of Soft Maple. Machines easily, but with a tendency to fuzz. August 29, 2006

I got a load of silver leaf maple today and wanted to get a little feedback on working properties before I surface it down, because at that point it's non-returnable. It was a little cheaper than regular soft maple, and it had nice widths and good color. It seems lighter in weight and softer, more like poplar, and I was hoping it machines and sands well. I will be making face frames, raised panel doors, and all other necessary components for custom cabinets. What I'm really asking is if anyone has used it before and if you like it or hate it and why.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From Gene Wengert, technical advisor Sawing and Drying Forum:
Silverleaf maple is most commonly called silver maple. It is one of the two major species (silver and red) that combine to the group called soft maple. So, what you have is regular soft maple. Compared to red maple, silver maple is a bit lower in density and therefore machines a bit more easily with a slight increase in tendency to fuzz. Knives must be sharp. High speed steel is better than carbide. As this is the normal soft maple, you can process it like you normally do. It is rare to see anyone separating red and silver; they are sold together as soft maple.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for responding Gene - that puts me a little more at ease. My supplier says the regular soft maple they sell is the red leaf, and this stuff is definitely different - almost a cottonwood-like texture. It looks like I'll just buy some extra #220 to sand the fuzzy stuff.

From Gene Wengert, technical advisor Sawing and Drying Forum:
A sanding sealer or wash coat is ideal for eliminating fuzz problems. One special aspect is that if a clear finish is used, you will notice that the color changes depending on the angle that the wood is viewed from. In fact, from one angle, two pieces appear the same and from another angle they contrast greatly.

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