View Full Version : Is Maple anygood ?

04-05-2002, 09:06 PM
Hello, Is Maple anygood for boat trim? I am going to cover the trim with epoxy and varnish. Will it turn black like some wood will? Any input will help. Thanks Nick

04-05-2002, 10:24 PM
Tiger eye, birdseye or quilted? I scored some really high quality birdseye maple that I considered, if only for an instant, using for thwarts on Humble Bee. Nah, to gaudy. Plain old maple. Nah, to blau.

Otherwise, I have not experience with bright finished maple outdoors. I have a hunch it would be okay but, to assauge my curiosity, why maple?


jeff pierce
04-05-2002, 11:30 PM
This subject has come up before. If I recall, maple won't offer much rot resistance, but if its topsides and well sealed...maybe OK?

For what its worth, I've been told the folks at Riva used it for some of the trim work on their runabouts. Its doubtful that they would have used it if it tended to blacken (especially since the intent was to provide accenting light wood to contrast the mahogany)

Paul Scheuer
04-05-2002, 11:46 PM
Isn't it used a lot for canoe paddles ? I did my highly-sculpted, double-bladed kayak paddle with maple. It's a little heavy, and I probably could have carved it finer. It took and holds the finish real well, has not darkened or warped, and still looks good (to me) after fifteen years or so. I also used it for the cockpit coaming, with good results. Go for it.

Bruce Hooke
04-05-2002, 11:55 PM
It's not a brilliant boat wood both because it has little rot resistance and because it's probably somewhat more prone to warping than many woods. Also I think of it as somewhat brittle and so it might be harder to bend without it snapping. However, for trim on a boat that will be well maintained it should do fine. Few woods other than teak will look good finished bright if the finish is allowed to break down so that water can get at the wood.

Ron Williamson
04-06-2002, 06:41 AM
IMHO,maple is everything that you don't want in boat wood.It is heavy,it is unstable(expansion,contraction,warpage),has low rot resistance,and because of it's density and hardness,it doesn't absorb a finish that well.
I think that I would use it as an accent,but be really uptight about finish application.
Can you trade it? The price is quite high,(commercially) right now.
Have fun

04-06-2002, 07:26 AM
Thanks for all the info. I have some maple left over from a desk I built, and will go good with the dark hull. Nick

04-06-2002, 08:03 AM
....gunstocks for flintlocks........?

04-08-2002, 02:24 PM
I have used maple both for gunstocks and bows, the last one pulls 72#, flat pyramid design, 72" long, loaned it to a friend a year ago and he got his first bow buck after a week of practice with it.

Maple bends.

Sealed, even oiled it is quite rot resistant, it doesnt have the oil content of osage but more then oak and I would build big frames/timbers with it in a NY second.

Lastly, it has a pleasant odor, I would personally put it alongside cherry for interior trend attractiveness.

04-08-2002, 02:48 PM
Jake, what species of maple are you refering to? It probably isn't the same as the stuff we can get around here but I'm curious.



Bruce Hooke
04-08-2002, 03:46 PM
Jake - Much as I like maple for interior and furniture work I am rather surprised by your statement that it is quite rot resistant. According to "The Encyclopedia of Wood", which is based on a publication by the US Forest Products Laboratory, maples are classed as being "slightly or nonresistant" to heartwood decay. The oaks span all three categories with the red and black oaks falling in the "slightly or nonresistant" category, Swamp and Chestnut in the "moderately resistant" category and the White Oaks as well as some others (Burr, Chestnut, Gambel, Oregon White, & Post) falling in the "Resistant or Very Resistant Category". Osage Orange is in the top category with a footnote saying that it has "exceptionally high decay resistance". I wonder if the difference in perception on this count has to do with the fact that in a well-built house something is going wrong if the structural wood is getting wet, whereas on a well built boat it is assumed that much of the structural wood will be quite wet much of the time, or, even worse, cycle through wet and dry on a regular basis. Maple would, I'm sure, hold up fine in a house but I have my doubts about how it would do in the much harsher marine environment.

On the issue of maple being 'brittle' I think what my perception is based on is that it splits fairly easily (the strenght values for tension perpendicular to the grain are fairly low). So, if there is to much grain runout it will split rather than bend. In a good piece without any grain runout you are correct that it will, in fact, deflect more than many other woods before it breaks.