These two names are essentially the same. This occurs in maple species that fall into the “soft maple” family. the lumberman’s term for this product has been wormy maple. The appearance is actually caused by Ambrosia beetle that carries a fungus on its legs that causes the discoloration. The holes are due to the beetle boring through the living wood.

For years, this condition in the wood by grade rules caused it to be sold for much less money than the clear material. Much of it ended up going into upholstered frame furniture. To this day, that is the wood of choice for that industry on the custom side of furniture making. It is a bit softer than its cousin hard maple and therefore easier to staple. The sugar content is actually higher in soft maple than hard maple and that really makes tooling difficult when using steel to make high grade profiles or when achieving a fine finish. That was never the issue with the upholstered frame as it was being covered with material.

In the design arena of today, this discoloration and worm hole or beetle hole pattern is highly desired. Now, this product is beginning to sell for more money. Much to the dismay of the furniture framers still using solid wood core material! Interesting that most of that style of manufacturing industry has left the country (just look at the tags- “Made in %&*^$’). The high end market tends to have enough margin to pay the increased cost or move to other materials.


IMG_0007                                                                                                                                                                                                         SMaple001C 6-10-15