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Acer rubrum vs Acer pseudoplatanus

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Acer rubrum vs Acer pseudoplatanus

Postby Simon Magennis » Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:21 pm

Or Soft Maple vs European maple.
I have only ever used European maple so I know it bends pretty easily, takes a good finish easily and is very hard. Thicknessing it with hand tools takes an effort. If its highly figured things get trickier. It is one of the great traditional instrument making woods in Europe for everything from violins to guitars via double basses and who knows what else. Hoyer or Hauser, Jazz or Classical, all have been made successfully with Euro maple.

How does Soft Maple work for classicals in particular?

I am thinking of experimenting sometime in the next year or two with some "new" wood. So I might grab a set or two of red/soft maple. (white oak and walnuts are two others on the "maybe" list).
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Re: Acer rubrum vs Acer pseudoplatanus

Postby Ron Belanger » Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:05 pm

I have been using figured soft maple for my last few Irish Bouzoukis / Octave Mandolins and I like it a lot.
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Re: Acer rubrum vs Acer pseudoplatanus

Postby Michael Lewis » Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:24 am

Choose your materials carefully, work carefully to a good plan, and you should be pleased with the results. Acer rubrum can be fairly similar to the European maple in working properties but keep in mind each variety can vary considerably. The American maples carry a bit (or a lot) more color. I like the western "big leaf" maple, which is generally a bit softer than the European maple, but it makes great archtop guitars and mandolins.
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Re: Acer rubrum vs Acer pseudoplatanus

Postby Alan Carruth » Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:30 pm

If you process American maple and dry it quickly after it's cut, it can be just as white as European, except.... The American maples often have small red 'sap marks' that you don't see in European.

I've used both Euro and American soft maple in fiddles and violins, and find no real difference. Hard maple is considerably denser and harder, and gives a different sound. For one thing, a violin with a hard maple back will probably be heavier than one made with soft maple, and not as powerful.

Alan Carruth / Luthier
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Re: Acer rubrum vs Acer pseudoplatanus

Postby Simon Magennis » Sat Aug 18, 2012 3:58 pm

Thanks for the info. I will give it a shot the next time I order some wood from a supplier who stocks it.
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Re: Acer rubrum vs Acer pseudoplatanus

Postby John Hamlett » Wed Aug 22, 2012 10:44 am

A tonewood expert friend of mine says that the working characteristics of maple, soft or euro', can vary quite a bit with how it is dried. According to him, many of the European wood driers do a good job of drying, so maple tonewood from Europe can sometimes be easier to work. My own experience with domestic (US) maples tends to back that up because I usually find air dried maple to work better and easier than kiln dried.
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