Despite rising prices, demand for soft maple is high, according to hardwood dealers interviewed by Woodshop News.
“The price of soft maple recently went up in the last couple of months. I’ve had to move mine about $.65/bf for 4/4,” says Clint Dillon of Steve Wall Lumber in Mayodan, N.C. “We went from $2.85 to $3.50 for 4/4 Select and it started to go up at the end of the year. I haven’t heard any flak from customers. If you look at the lumber industry, it’s been a pretty deflated market over the past 10 years and unfortunately this past year the price increased in a short amount of time.
“White soft maple is really hard to come by right now. But if you do a paint-grade soft maple, unselected, we have a lot of that.”
Scott Roberts of Roberts Plywood in Deer Park, N.Y. says soft maple is moving quite rapidly due to its favorable working and durability properties.
“I’ve been moving a lot of it. Some guys use it for paint-grade projects when they buy the natural or the unselected. Others want the sap white soft maple. It’s easier to work with than hard maple, so many end up using it for joinery and millwork as well. They’ll use it for cabinet frames and drawer sides because it’s just easier to work with. It’s always available as curly or figured,” says Roberts.
“I’ve seen demand increase and I’ve seen price increase. The demand is growing. It’s a better paint-grade wood than poplar that doesn’t cost a lot more.”
Skip Kise of Good Hope Hardwoods in Landenburg, Pa. has seen a healthy interest in soft maple slabs.
“The [soft maple] slab market is for people who can’t afford walnut; they get soft maple and stain it. Most of the time it’s more about money, but you get your people that don’t like dark wood, so they get soft maple,” says Kise.
This article was originally published in the March 2022 issue.