In the land of trees, one day an argument started! The maple tree and birch tree fought with each other over the fact which of them is better.
They couldn’t arrive at an answer so they decided to consult experts. None other than the woodworkers!
Storytime is over.
You might also have this confusion when you are going to choose wood for your furniture and house. Maple and Birch are strong competitors in the wood industries.
Both of the woods have their own merits and demerits. Let us help you in analyzing these wood qualities.
Here are the main differences between Maple vs Birch plywood:
Maple vs Birch Plywood: The Ultimate Comparison Guide
While taking strength into account, Maple takes a step ahead of Birchwood.
Maple is one of the hardest wood available on the market and has adequate hardness and durability. Hard Maple and Soft Maple are both in front of the strength game.
Hard Maple or Sugar Maple has a hardness rating of 1450 lbf whereas Soft Maple has a hardness rating of 950 lbf which is similar to black cherry wood.
While comparing with other hardwoods, Hard Maple occupies the middle seat of the row. Birchwood has a hardness rating of 1260 lbf.
Birch is a strong opponent for maple in the strength game. But Birchwood is susceptible to decay and rot when exposed to extreme conditions of rain and dust.
Maple has a bit more resistance to decay when compared to Birchwood. It can stand moisture and high temperatures well.
If you are looking for the ideal wood to build kitchen cabinets, outdoor furniture or for flooring purposes, Maple would be an ideal choice. Did you love that dance floor finish and ever wished for that sleek finish for your home?
Then, Maple is your guy! Maple has high durability which helps your furniture to last for many years. Maple wood is also used to make bowling alleys and basketball courts.
But if you are using a high-speed cutter, be careful, because maple wood can break or worse, burn when rough tools are used.
Compared to maple, Birchwood is easy to work with tools both hand and machine.
Birchwood won’t break easily even if you are an amateur in woodworking. You can make toys, indoor furniture, veneer, etc with birchwood. Birch has a satin-like texture and pale color which makes it suitable for making high-quality furniture.
Composition and Texture
Maple’s heartwood has a white and yellowish color and sleek texture. When you freshly cut the maple tree, you can see a slightly reddish color, but later the wood changes color.
The wood has no consistent texture on it. Most of the maple planks have a very clear texture, but there are knots-like patterns on some of them.
The heartwood of the birchwood is light reddish brown in color and the sapwood looks in white color. Unlike maple, birchwood’s texture is uniform and it mostly has a wavy or plain pattern. Sometimes birchwood resembles the curly pattern of cherry wood.
But if you spot a wood with fine and straight grains with an even texture, it would be unmistakenly birchwood.
Are you looking for some long-term furniture at an affordable price?
Go for Maple wood! Maple won’t empty your wallet but will last for years in your drawing room and outdoors. But insects are not a good friend of maple. Maple is highly susceptible to insect attacks, so make sure to use insect-proof coatings in your maple furniture.
Considering all the maple species, the Hard maple is the tough guy of the family with ultra-durability.
Birch is undeniably the best option for low-cost furniture. But if you are choosing furniture for outdoors or a porch, birch won’t be the best choice.
The weather can affect birchwood badly and insects can also destroy the wood. But because of its color and availability birchwood is loved by the woodworkers.
The cost of maple wood can change according to its current demand and availability. But it is not as expensive as cherry, walnut, or oak wood.
So if you are planning to build expensive-looking furniture without emptying your wallet, maple is the secret option. Maple grows abundantly and has a very aesthetically pleasing appearance.
Your budget doesn’t allow you to go for maple?
Birch is always the second best option for people who are looking for inexpensive but quality wood. But birch floors are slightly more expensive than oak floors. Both maple and birch are good options for customers who have a medium-sized budget.
Maple is beautiful with or without artificial stains. The natural state of the wood is preferred by most artisans whereas a variety of hues are also applied to create more fresh looks.
To bring out the curly pattern of the maple, linseed oil or tung oil is applied after the sanding procedure.
Birch is good at resembling other wood types such as cherry and tiger maple. It is important to give perfect stains to make your birch furniture look classy.
It accepts all stains and has a very smooth surface which is perfect for staining. Birch is easy to paint as it has small pores and a uniform texture.
Nail and screw holding capacity
Most hardwoods have good nail holding capacity and maple is no exception. The screws and nails can penetrate well into the hard maple. Birchwood holds screws and nails well as it has high tensile strength.
Because of its reliable tensile strength, birchwood has good structural integrity. If you are choosing hardwoods, make sure to choose screws with fine threads. Screws with coarse threads are more likely to work well with softwoods.
Maple wood is quite heavy, and harder to work with hand tools.
The wood has high resistance to shock as it is strong and stiff. Hard maple has a weight of approximately 3.75 lbs per foot. Hard maple is the heavier one compared to other species of maple trees.
Birch has an average weight of 42 pounds per cubic foot. Paper birch which is used to make paper pulps are lighter than sweet birch with an average weight of 38.6 pounds per cubic foot.
Standard birch plywood has a weight of 60 pounds.
Maple wood is eco-friendly and sustainable as it captures carbon in long-term furniture and thereby considerably reducing the carbon footprint. The trees are abundant and not listed in the endangered species lists.
As it is readily available in all the places, the transportation charges can also be reduced. The waste wood can be burned for bioenergy or can be used as fuel.
Birch products have great carbon offset value and carbon sequestration potential. They are sustainable and don’t cause any harm to the environment. Birch trees have a low impact on the environment as it is fast growing and easily renewable.
Maple vs Birch Plywood – Frequently Asked Questions
How to protect outdoor furniture?
Protecting outdoor furniture is a herculean task for most people. They are more prone to extreme climatic conditions and insects.
But can we replace the majestic look of wooden furniture with any other material?
One of the best ways to protect furniture is to paint it using quality paint. Instead of using oil-based paints, try to use latex paints for outdoor furniture. Paint the furniture with good quality latex paint to protect it from UV rays also.
You can seal the furniture by painting varnish over it.
How to keep the natural color of the wood?
Not a fan of painting?
There are plenty of ways to keep the natural color of the wood. The most used method to protect the natural color of the wood is to coat it with wax. Wax is very easy to apply and clean, as it doesn’t leave any hard residue on the furniture.
Wax protects the wood from over-exposure to moisture. The glossy finish of was adds a shine to the wood. It also protects outdoor furniture from harmful UV rays. Oil is another option you can try instead of wax.
Oil also provides a shine to the wood. It is put on in layers, one after the other, with breaks in between. Since you must wait for the wood to completely absorb the substance, the amount of time depends on the type of oil and the wood.
It’s sufficient to use a brush to apply the oil. The oil also gives the wood a smooth feel while enhancing its inherent grain. It is effectively absorbed and assimilated into the substance, allowing the wood to breathe and resist modifications over time.
You may also be interested in reading about MDF vs Particle Board.
While comparing both types of wood, mostly maple wins the game. When birch has a rough and tough look which is favored for extreme conditions, Maple captures the woodworker’s heart through its glossy finish and classic look.
The choice would be depending on your taste and budget. You can choose the right kind of wood that matches your aesthetic more.
Let us know who is your favorite, Maple or Birch.