Difference between Maple and Oak

Key difference: Maple and oak are two different types of trees. The terms are also used to indicate wood obtained from their respective trees. Both are types of hardwoods. Maple is a white hardwood and is considered to have a very tight and even grain. Maple wood is available as hard and soft maple wood. Oaks are considered to be a hardwood, heavy, long lasting and expensive. Oak is also known for its strength and durability, as well as a high resistance to moisture and humidity.

Maple and oak are two different types of trees. The terms are also used to indicate wood obtained from their respective trees. There are various different types of species for each type of tree and have various different types of wood available.  Both are types of hardwoods.

Basically, hardwood is the wood that comes from an angiosperm tree. This is a type of tree that has seeds that are enclosed, be it in pods, a shell, a covering or in a fruit. For example, apples or nuts and seeds like acorns and walnuts. These types of seeds allow birds and insects to be attracted to the flowers of the tree and be able to carry the pollen to other trees. This is also the reason why hardwood trees are not often bunched together but are spaced apart and often have other trees in-between them.

Most hardwood trees are also deciduous is nature. A deciduous tree is a tree that loses its leaves annually. Hardwood trees are also slower to grow, taking their own time. Due to this, most hardwood is dense. This is also the reason that hardwood is expensive, as it takes longer to grow. Some famous hardwoods include maple, balsa, oak, elm, mahogany, and sycamore.

Maple is a type of tree belonging in the genus Acer. There are approximately 128 species of maple. They are mostly native to Asia, Europe, northern Africa, and North America. Fifty-four species of maples are currently under threat of extinction. Maple is characteristically known for its leaves, in fact the name ‘Acer’ means sharp and is derivative of the Maple leaves. Canada has adopted the Maple leave as its national symbol, and it also appears of their flag.

As a wood, maple is a white hardwood and is considered to have a very tight and even grain. Maple wood is available as hard and soft maple wood. Both are quite hard as compared to other woods and both are specifically used for certain applications. The soft wood is commonly used in furniture and molding very resilient and hence it used for durable purposes, such as a butcher block. In addition to butcher blocks, hard maple wood is also used for making pool cue shafts, wooden baseball bats. Maple wood is also often used for ornamental purposes such as bonsais, professional drums, syrup, smoking chips, and timber.

Maple wood is characterized for its white color and its tight and even grain. It does not have visible pores running through the wood, like some other types of wood, including oak. The lack of visible pores leaves a much smoother surface on all cuts. However, the lack of pores also does not allow maple to absorb dark stains, which means the staining the wood, a wood characteristic is out of the question. Furthermore, over time maple tend to grow yellowish.

An oak is a tree in the genus Quercus. It has over 600 species. Oaks have spirally arranged leaves with lobed margins. Some species have serrated leaves or leaves with smooth margins. The leaves of the oak tree tend to fall off in spring. Oaks bear fruits, known as acorns.

As woods, oaks are considered to be a hardwood, heavy, long lasting and expensive. This is mainly because oaks take a long time to grow; hence quantity or oak is not readily available in abundance. Oak is also known for its strength and durability, as well as a high resistance to moisture and humidity. Hence, it is quite popular for furniture, such as dining tables and chairs, as its can survive long and hard use. As it is heavy, it does not look well with painted, so staining is the ideal choice for oak.

Oak has many other applications including flooring, barrels for production of wines and brandies, and for tanning leather, due to the high tannin content. Also, bark of the white oak has many medicinal uses. Furthermore, Japanese Oakwood is often used for making professional drums.

Oaks are well known for their darker texture and their grain pattern. Due to its heavy grain, oak might feel more textural. The grain pattern can garner a lot of attention, and may look best in a simpler room. However, the grain pattern may be too bold for some, especially for ones seeking a classy chic finish.

Oaks come in different varieties, such as red oak, which has a dark reddish-brown color and an open grain, and white oak, which is much lighter with a tight, even grain pattern.

Image Courtesy: wood-database.com, sct-sh.com

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