A characteristic feature in the hard maples is bird’s-eye figure which usually appears as attractive patterns on veneer manufactured from the species. Flecks caused by inserts may also be present in the wood. Figured boards are reported to be often culled during grading and sold at premium.
The most commercially important maple can be found in the United States. It is reported to most prevalent in New England, but its growth range extends from the extreme southeastern region of Manitoba east to Nova Scotia, southward to North Canada, and west to eastern Kansas.
Maples makes excellent heavy industrial flooring for roller-skating rinks, dance halls, squash courts, and bowling alleys. It is used for textile rollers, dairy and laundry equipment, butchers’ blocks, piano actions and musical instruments, and sports goods. It is also a valuable turnery wood. Selected logs are peeled for bird’s eye figure, or sliced to produce fiddleback, curly or blistered, and mottled maple veneers for cabinets and architectural paneling.
The wood is of medium density, has good bending and crushing strengths, with low stiffness and shock resistance, and a good steam-bending classification. Maples fire resistant properties are reported to be higher than the average timber.