Difference between Pine and Maple

Key difference: Maple and pine are two different types of trees. The terms are also used to indicate wood obtained from their respective trees. The main difference between the two is the fact that maple is a hard wood, while pine is a type of softwood.

Maple and pine 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.  The main difference between the two is the fact that maple is a hard wood, while pine is a type of softwood.

Hardwood and softwood are two categories used to classify different types of woods. Many people consider that hardwood is named such because it is harder and denser than softwood. This is true often enough, but not all the time. Take for example the balsa wood, which is soft, light and less dense than most other woods, but is classified as a hardwood. The classification of the wood is not actually done on the basis of weight or density; rather it is done on the basis of plant reproduction.

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. While, Softwoods generally are wood from a gymnosperm tree. A gymnosperm is a type of tree that has seed that have no covering and tend to fall to the ground. Gymnosperms reproduce by forming cones which emit pollen to be spread by the wind to other trees.

Pines are considered to be a softwood, light weight and less expensive. Due to its light weight, pine is quite popular for bedroom furniture, such as wardrobes, beds, as it is much easier to move this furniture around.

Pine is also known to be stiff and sturdy and resistant to shock, but it does wear down over time, especially when exposed to heavy use. It has a more rustic look and tends to show off natural characteristics like knots and other flaws. Hence, it is much better for an antique look.  However, pine will always be smooth to touch.

Pine is also more porous; hence it absorbs paints well.  However, pine does not absorb stains evenly, so a natural look or painted look is a better option for pine.

Difference varieties of pine, include yellow pine, which may have a yellow or red color, as well as a fairly deep grain; white pine tends to be pale with a barely visible grain; and red pine, which is the darkest of the pines and has the heaviest grain.

Maple, on the other hand, 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. 

Image Courtesy: made-in-china.com, wood-database.com

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