Spalted Maple doesn’t denote a species, but can be any member of the Acer genus that has black lines and/or streaks in the lumber caused by slight decay and a fungus in the wood.
Maple is the only American wood species harvested primarily for its sapwood, rather than heartwood. Since the beginnin of mass commercial production of the electric guitar, in the early 1950’s, Hard Maple has remained a pivotal lumber in the industry. It comes in a variety of figures — including Birdseye and Tiger Maple figurings — and its soft pale white to pale yellow complexion is sometimes augmented by light blue, red or pinkish tints and highlights, with a marvelous luster and often a luxurious sheen.
Its excellent strength-to-weight ratio, handsome looks, easy workability and steady supply has cemented Maple as a part of both American industry and culture. Despite its ready availability, premium-grade boards always command high prices and remain in constant demand, worldwide.
Sustainability: Not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Comments: For more than a century, Hard Maple has remained the preferred choice for commercial flooring in the US for applications — such as gymnasiums, bowling alleys, dance halls and any more — where light-color, strength and toughness are requisite qualities. It is the strongest and densest of all the commercial maple species.
Its trees are also known as “Sugar Maple,” being the primary species tapped for maple syrup.
Use caution, be slow and patient, and pay careful attention when cutting or sanding any maple species with high-RPM machinery, as its surface can burn.