Maple and Walnut wood are two common types of hardwood used for different woodwork construction and purposes. They both have advantages, disadvantages, similarities, and differences. But which is the wood that will best suit your needs?
The Maple tree (Acer) comes from the ‘Sapindaceae’ family, with about 132 species native to Asia, Europe, North Africa, and North America. Most of the maple species are deciduous plants. It has an average lifespan of 80-100 years and can reach a height of 33-148 feet.
The Walnut tree (Juglans) is a deciduous tree from the ‘Juglandaceae’ family and produces walnut seeds. The trees are native to North America, South America, the West Indies, Southern Europe, and Asia.
There are so many differences between these two wood choices. Walnut wood is more expensive than Maple and is considered softer than Maple wood. The color of Walnut wood is slightly darker, while the color of Maple wood is somewhat lighter.
|Maple Wood||Walnut Wood|
|Color||It has creamy white sapwood with a reddish-brown tinge. The heartwood color ranges from a light brown to a dark reddish-brown.||The sapwood color ranges from a pale yellow to a creamy white. The heartwood color ranges from a light brown to a dark brown color. There are purple, gray, black, and blue tones.|
|Height||Majority of Maple trees can grow up to a height of 33-148 feet, while some shrubs grow less than 33 feet.||Black walnut trees can reach 100-120 feet, while the English walnut trees can grow up to 80 feet when mature.|
|Workability||Hard Maple wood is more challenging to work with than soft Maple wood because of its high density.||Walnut wood is easy to work with when the grain is straight and regular. It glues, nails, and finishes nicely.|
|Grain||The grain of Maple wood is generally straight but has variations (it may be wavy).||Walnut wood grain is usually straight but sometimes has waves or curls. It sometimes has a semi-porous end grain.|
|Price||Maple wood is the more affordable option ranging from $3-$8 per board foot.||Walnut is very rare, and this increases its price. It ranges from $2-$38 per board foot.|
|Density||Maple wood has a density of 625-753 kg/m³||Walnut wood has a density of 641-689 kg/m³|
Key Differences Between Maple Wood and Walnut Wood
Below are some of the things Maple wood is used for:
- Maple wood is used in the making of high-end furniture.
- You can use Maple wood to make cabinets.
- It is a good option for flooring in bowling alleys because of its durability.
- It is used in making musical instruments such as violins, bases, violas, and cellos.
- Maple wood is a good choice for kitchen utensils and accessories.
- You can use it for decorative woodwork.
Below are some of the things Walnut wood is used for:
- Walnut wood is used in the making of furniture.
- It can be used to make musical instruments.
- For accessories, it is used in making wooden sunglasses.
- It is used for carvings and used to make gunstocks.
- It is a good option for flooring and cabinets.
- Walnut wood is best for making veneers.
The durability of wood usually refers to the wood’s ability to resist wood-destroying agents. Maple wood has a very high density, making it perfect to use as floors in heavy-traffic areas. It is non-durable when it comes to being rot-resistant and is susceptible to insect attacks.
This makes it a good choice for indoor furniture. It is also water-resistant but not waterproof; maple flooring contracts when moisture is in the air.
Walnut wood has a very high resistance to shrinking and warping when exposed to water, and it is also resistant to decay. Like Maple wood, it is susceptible to insect attacks, scratches, and dents.
The strength of Maple wood differs from the different types; hard Maple wood and soft Maple wood. Hard Maple wood has a higher density than soft Maple wood. Soft Maple wood has a Janka hardness rating of 700-950 lbf, and hard Maple wood has a Janka hardness rating of 1,450 lbf.
On the other hand, Walnut wood is considered tough and heavy wood. It has a Janka hardness of 1,010, making it stronger than soft Maple wood and less strong than hard Maple wood.
Similarities Between Maple Wood and Walnut Wood
Color and Grain
One thing that Maple wood and Walnut wood have in common is similar colors. The sapwood and the heartwood of Maple and Walnut wood are pretty identical. The sapwood color is somewhat white, and the heartwood color ranges from light brown to dark brown.
The grain of both wood choices are also similar; a typically straight grain which sometimes has wavy designs. Maple wood and Walnut wood are also two types of hardwood, which they have in common.
Pros and Cons of Maple Wood
- Maple wood is versatile as it is used in making several things.
- It is more affordable compared to Walnut wood.
- It has a pleasant appearance.
- The light color makes it easy to stain well.
- It is a tough wood compared to other hardwoods.
- It is high in availability and easy to work with.
- Its lightness in color makes scratches and dents more visible.
- Its sensitivity to humidity and heat can cause it to warp, split, contract, and expand.
- The color will fade when exposed to light for a long time.
Pros and Cons of Walnut Wood
- It is one of the easiest woods to work with.
- Walnut is incredibly durable and has a lifespan of 150-400 years.
- It is resistant to decay.
- Its ability to resist shock is high.
The wood is easy to stain.
- It is susceptible to scratches, dents, and insect attacks.
- It is the costlier option when compared to Maple wood.
- It is a heavy wood which sometimes makes it challenging to work with and transport.
Walnut wood is a very durable wood that can be used for different purposes; the only downside is cost. Maple wood is affordable, has a great appearance, and can also be used for different purposes. It is up to you to choose which wood suits your needs best.