Hand Tools Archive

Jarrah and Maple
Response To:
Maple ()

Derek Cohen (in Perth, Australia)
Steve, all Hard Maple in Perth is imported from the USA. It sells here for about the same as new Jarrah. Our measuring systems are different, and this makes it difficult to compare prices between our countries.

Much of the Jarrah I use is recycled or from urban salvage. I do not want to purchase from forests since it is getting close to decimation. One of the reasons I used Jarrah as much as I did in years past was because there was so much around from recycling.

Jarrah ...

In recent years I have been using a number of other woods, and I have grown fond of the clean and fresh look of Hard Maple. I built our kitchen from curly maple about 4 years ago ...

This was prepared by machine for the large part, but finished by hand plane.

Since then I have turned and planed it for three or four pieces, more recently the Harlequin Table which I posted here a month or so ago. Dovetailing the carcase was "fun". :)

For both woods, there is no give in dovetailed sockets to compensate for a too-tight a fit.

Is Maple harder to work than Jarrah? Planing Maple is similar to Jarrah, although Jarrah can be harder - the Maple I have been exposed to does tend to be uniformly hard, while Jarrah can vary a little. Some of it feels twice as hard as Maple, and it is also abrasive to steel. Some cuts like butter. The two woods tear out differently. Jarrah is inclined to be predictable and you learn to watch for reversing grain. When it tears out it does so more gently than Maple, which seems to "erupt" around knots and reversals.

For what it is worth, here is a Wood Database comparison of the two woods:

Regards from Perth


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