Maple Vs. Ash Wood

Overview

Ash and maple are strong, heavy hardwoods and both are used in furniture pieces. Each has qualities that set them apart and make them prized by woodworkers.

Color

Ash color varies from white to a light tan or reddish hue. Maple is a bit more creamy in color but some pieces also have light reddish brown tones.

Grain

The grain really sets these two wood species apart. Ash is similar in appearance to oak with a coarse, porous grain. Maple has a finer texture and tight, even grain.

Burls

Maple is also known for its burls, which are clusters of rounded grain patterns, and for small, elliptical shaped grain patterns known as birds-eyes. Burls are especially favored by wood turners and birds-eye patterns are striking in furniture pieces.

Properties

Because of its long fibers, ash is a flexible wood and it has the best bending characteristics of any hardwood. Maple is durable and particularly resistant to scuffing and denting.

Uses

Both woods are used in furniture production, cabinetry and food storage boxes as neither wood imparts a flavor. Since maple has such strong abrasion resistance, it is often used in flooring and for kitchen cutting boards.

Baseball

Ash has been the primary wood used in making baseball bats, but maple bats have gained favor by some players in the last decade or two. Maple bats last longer but tend to shatter when they do break, which has led to player safety concerns.

References

  • Front Gate: Know Your Woods
  • General Finishes: Find Out About Wood Species
  • MTH Bats: Ash vs. Maple
Keywords: ash wood, maple wood, baseball bats, birds-eye maple, maple burls

About this Author

Robert Korpella has been writing professionally since 2000, primarily covering science and nature topics. He is the editor and publisher of freshare.net, a site exploring the Ozarks outdoors. Korpella's work has appeared in a variety of publications and includes outdoors-related content for LIVESTRONG.COM. He holds a Bachelor of Science in business from the University of Arkansas.

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