Projects that have the potential to see a lot of heavy use, such as bowling alley lanes or baseball bats, benefit the most from hardwood maple. Because people appreciate the look of maple, coupled with its durability, the wood also finds use in cabinetry, hardwood floors and furniture.
There are three types of hardwood maple lumber. Each of the types corresponds to the area of the tree from which the lumber originated. For example, selected hardwood maple does not include the brownish red heartwood of the tree. This gives selected hardwood maple an off-white color tone. Brown hardwood maple derives directly from the heartwood, while unselected maple lumber features both heartwood and the white sapwood.
Although maple itself is a hardwood tree, maple falls into softwood and hardwood varieties. This can be deceiving as softwood maple is actually just as strong as, if not stronger than, most other hardwood trees, such as cherry. Softwood maple comes in a variety of grain patterns that range from tiger-like to curly stripe designs. Those who constructed instruments favored maple because of these unique grain patterns. For example, the term "fiddle back maple" arose to describe the large maple boards craftsmen used to construct the backs of guitars and fiddles.