Maple vs Birch Cabinets
There are several arguments over whether maple vs birch is better. They each have their merits and drawbacks. Maple vs birch is a choice I'd be hard pressed to make because they're so similar.
Maple vs Birch: The Grain
OK all you smart people out there. Which one is which? These are two doors made by Bertch Marketplace. One is birch and one is maple. While the grain varies on both can you see the one on the left has a crisper look to it? Has anyone got a better word than crisp they'll lend me?
Maple vs Birch: The Color
These two are stained the same color, remember? But one of the woods took more stain than the other. The first one is a bit darker in quite a few spots than the second. There are some stains where birch is blotchy, and some that maple doesn't accept very well. Manufacturers usually know which ones are which, and make customers sign some sort of finish agreement, similar to what they make folks do with glazes. The "this might not come out exactly like what you saw on a sample" kind of form that I'm sure lots of you have seen.
There also appears to be more variation in the top door than in the bottom, although you'll see it more in the next picture. Both maple and birch have sap and heart wood, but one species seems to have a wilder array of shades within a single cabinet door constructed from it. Some of the shadows you see, by the way, are me. I picked an overcast day to shoot these for a customer who ordered some stuff from The Cabinet Folks to match existing cabinetry. They thought they had maple, I thought it might be birch, based on pictures I'd see of the existing kitchen.
These shots were taken for that customer, and you can make out my shadow taking the picture, especially in the bottom door…
Maple vs Birch: The Reveal
OK, here they are again. Any last guesses? Maple is on the… Left. The birch is on the right. There's a rather wild grain to the maple door, and it's very well defined. There's also a fairly wild grain (on the right hand piece of the square raised panel) in the birch door, but it's subtle because the grain in birch is always a little fuzzier than maple. Compare the two stiles that are right next to each other? Given just those to compare in a picture, I might be harder pressed.
Here's a close up of just that area: A smidgen difficult, even close up, no?