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Basswood vs Maple: Which Wood is Best For Furniture?

Both basswoods and maple are native to North America and have been used in woodworking. They’re both classified as hardwood but they have a lot of differences.

What are some of the differences between basswood vs maple? 

Basswoods are softer compared to maple. Even though they’re classified as hardwoods, they’re lightweight and easy to cut. On the contrary, maple woods are tougher, more durable, and have superior finishes. Basswoods are primarily used in wooden instruments and maple woods are best for furniture. 

Anyways that was nothing but just a summary of the entire comparison. There’s a lot more to discuss and I’m more than happy to do so. 

Stay with me if you want to know more about maple and basswood.

Basswood vs Maple: Notable Differences

Not all kinds of furniture benefit from the same type of wood. That’s why choosing an optimal wood for house projects is really important. 

It’s not just basswood and maple wood that people often face problems comparing. Like basswood and maple, people also compare basswood with alder

Woods selected for bed frames can be different from the ones used as the exterior. So it mostly comes down to the homeowners and overall knowledge. 

Before we jump into the comparison, let’s take a moment to look at the basics. Having a quick rundown about the differences will help you get an insight first.

Here’s what I have gathered for you-

FactorsBasswood Maple 
Price PointCheaperExpensive
TypeSofter HardwoodHardwood
Hardness Rating410 lbfSoft Maple: 950 lbf
Hard Maple: 1450 lbf
WeightLighterHeavier
FinishingDecentBetter
Furniture Not IdealIdeal 
CraftingGreatDecent
Best UsageInstrumentsFurniture & Home Construction

After going through the table, which wood do you think you’re going to need? 

Basswood vs Maple: Full Comparison

Charts may not be enough to understand all the differences between these two wood types. I totally understand that. 

That’s why I decided to compare both kinds of wood in multiple categories head to head. This way you can easily understand which wood will provide you with what benefits. 

Sit back, relax and go through the categories one by one-

Price Range

When it comes to house projects, the most important factor is the budget. House building isn’t cheap anywhere in the world, that’s why price always matters the most. 

When it comes to price, basswoods are fairly cheaper than maple. It’s because basswoods are more frequent and used in many different projects. 

Basswood is also great for kids for doing their school projects. Other than that, basswoods are available in different sizes and as sheets. 

Overall you can easily get basswood sheets for only $15 to $25. You can also find them almost everywhere including online websites. 

These make the basswood extremely cheap and super affordable.

On the contrary, maple isn’t as cheap as basswood. But it’s still cheaper than many other wood types like walnut and mahogany. 

There are also two different kinds of maple wood; soft and hard. Soft maple wood is, of course, cheaper than hard maple. 

But if you want that increased toughness, maple woods are a great investment. But the price may become an issue for many homeowners.

Winner: Basswood is cheaper and more affordable. 

Wood Type

Like the price range, wood type is also something that you can’t ignore when comparing. Because different house projects benefit from different wood because of their respective benefits. 

In house projects like construction or furniture, wood is mainly classified into two categories. They are called softwood and hardwood. 

As the name implies, softwoods are lightweight and are mostly used to make utensils. Small boxes, ladles, or spoons are made from softwood. 

On the contrary, hardwoods are used in home construction and furniture. The extra thickness of the wood gets utilized nicely in these two fields.

In fact, different parts of a house can have multiple types of wood. For instance, there are many kinds of wood that are great for stair risers

Both basswood and maple are classified as hardwood. But there are many levels of hardness.

Compared to maple, basswood is softer and lighter. That’s why they are considered softwood sometimes.

Think of basswood as a good balance of both types. Basswood is harder than softwoods and softer than hardwood.

The maple has two types. The soft maples are used in similar projects as basswood.

but the hard maple is used as foundations, wall studs, etc. They’re harder than many kinds of wood and thus super useful.

Winner: Maple wood takes this round.

Hardness Rating

When it comes to house projects, you always want the best. Both wood types have different hardness ratings.

These hardness ratings can imply how strong the wood is. If the rating is higher, the wood is more suited for home construction. 

The rating is called the Janka hardness rating. It indicates the density of the wood and overall hardness. 

The basswood is one of the hardwoods with a low Janka hardness rating. It has a Janka hardness rating of 410 lbf or 1824 N. 

Because of this low rating, it’s easy to cut and work with. 

Maple wood has a couple of hardness ratings based on the type. Red maple or soft maple has a hardness rating of 950 lbf. 

This shows that even the soft maple is way harder and tougher than the basswood. As for the hard maple, the hardness rating is 1450 lbf. 

In other words, maple wood is considerably tougher than basswood. It’s not even a proper comparison when it comes to hardness. 

Winner: Maple wood takes this round. 

Finishing

Wood finishing matters if you’re going to use wood for furniture. Because without a great finish, wooden furniture won’t be appealing. 

That’s why wood finishes differ and different kinds are used in indoor and outdoor jobs. Depending on the wood and the environment, wood finishes tend to be different. 

Like wood finishes for interior redwood won’t be the same as ash wood’s finish. 

Unfortunately, you can only do so much with basswood. Because they tend to absorb stains very well. That’s why you have to use sealants before applying any finish. 

One thing you should remember is that basswoods aren’t good with oil finishes. But if you’re hellbent on using an oil finish, you’ll need wood conditioners. 

Maple wood, on the other hand, looks pretty when finished properly. It also works well with oil finishes. But you’ll still need to apply sealants for protection. 

Winner: Maple wood has a better finish. 

Speaking of wood finishes, these are my favorite picks-

You can pick any of my suggestions and you’ll be all set. 

Best Usage

So far I have discussed the differences between basswood and maple. While knowing about the differences is important, you should also know about the usage. 

Depending on what you’re going to make, your choice will be affected. 

First, let’s start with basswood. I have already mentioned that basswoods are soft yet harder than many softwoods. 

Basswoods are perfect for instruments or small wooden crafts. Among instruments, the guitar is known to be made from basswood. 

Other than that, if you’re making any small wooden showpiece, basswoods can be useful. It’s light and easy to cut which makes it perfect for wood carving. 

There are plenty of power tools for wood carving that are super helpful.

The maple wood is heavier in nature. They’re hard to cut and carve on. Because of these reasons, maple is best used in furniture. 

You can make some of the most durable dinner tables and chairs using maple wood. Since the maple shines with the oil, furniture can look great. 

Winner: None. Both wood have advantages in their respective field. 

Final Verdict: Which Wood Type Should You Choose?

If you haven’t reached a decision yet, that’s alright. I have got your back and given my own verdict for you.

If you’re looking for wood to make instruments, pick basswood. Harmonium, guitar, and showpieces should be sturdy while being lightweight. 

That’s where basswood fits perfectly. You can also use basswood in the interior if you want to. As long as it doesn’t have to withstand too much weight, basswoods are fine. 

But for furniture that will handle the weight, maple wood is better. For beds, sofas, and chairs, you should always pick maple wood. 

FAQs

Is maple or basswood harder?

Maple wood is harder than basswood. Even the soft maple is two times thicker. Hard maple has a hardness rating of 1450 lbf whereas basswood’s rating is only 410 lbf.

Is basswood a good wood?

Basswood is a cheap lightweight hardwood that’s super easy to work with. You can cut it easily and carve it. Because of that basswood is used in wood-crafting and in instruments like guitar. 

Is basswood a heavy wood? 

No, basswood isn’t heavy wood. Rather it’s quite lightweight compared to other hardwood. Basswood is heavier than softwoods though. But they’re considered light by most woodworkers. 

Take Away

That was everything I could gather and explain on basswood vs maple. I hope that my comparison was insightful enough to solve your confusion. 

If you’re still not sure what wood to pick, you can contact the experts. Simply tell them about your project and they’ll explain what wood would be perfect. 

Anyways, have a nice day!