Thursday, 10 December 2015 15:40

What is Wormy Soft Maple anyways?

The other day a customer of ours who is relatively new to the industry asked “what is wormy soft maple anyways?” For those us who have been in the hardwood lumber industry for a while it is an easy question to answer. However, for someone new to the world of hardwoods it is a good question!

4/4 Wormy Soft MapleWormy soft maple is the term used for lumber with dark streaks of discoloration throughout the board.  This discoloration occurs in the species of maple that have the scientific name of Acer Rubrum.  People in the industry also refer to it as red maple.

In the past, wormy soft maple would have been downgraded and sold at a lower rate than upper grade soft maple lumber.  That’s why it was a popular species for many furniture manufacturers who used it as a sturdy foundation under upholstery. In recent years however, wormy soft maple has become more of a requested item.  The worm like variations are now regularly considered a decorative feature, much like a rustic or character grade, and is growing in popularity, demand and cost.

Even though we call it wormy, the darker streaks are not caused by a worm at all. They are actually caused by a beetle.  Ambrosia beetles infest soft maple trees leaving a larvae behind that bore a shallow channel and deposit a fungus which causes the discoloration.  Hence, you might also find people in the industry referred to wormy soft maple as ambrosia maple.  However, we categorize it all as one.

Wormy soft maple lumber is not considered lumber with defects.  The oblong shaped color patterns that appear like worm holes are still structurally sound.  When grading wormy soft maple, the streaks and pin holes that appear are not considered defects, hence its name soft maple worm holes no defects (WHND).

Baillie Lumber sorts out our wormy soft maple and offers it as a separate lumber product. We offer it as 2 Common & Better with nothing pulled out, a typical industry standard. 

If you are interested in learning more please contact us today.  And we promise, no worms!

Tony Cimorelli
Baillie Lumber Co.
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