Ambrosia Maple vs Spalted Maple (6 Key factors Before Choosing)

You make a wonderful house and now it’s time for the interior design. And this you get confused about which timber is perfect for flooring. 

Or you may be wondering about the differences between two maples one is ambrose and the other is spalted.

There are certain differences between ambrosia maple vs spalted maple. And this difference is really tiny yet significant.

Ambrosia is one kind of beetle that affects color. But spalting is caused by decaying through the fungus. The Janka rating of Ambrosia Maple is 950 whereas spalted maple is 1400. The best usage of spalted maple is flooring and the first one is furniture. But remember the pricing and waste factor.

That was just a short overview of what’s coming next. Stick with us to know more.

Key Differences

Before we move into detailed discussions it is better to see a snippet of the whole differences. It will give you a clear idea of what we are gonna talk about in this article. 

Factors Ambrosia Maple Spalted Maple
Janka Value950 1300 - 1400
Average Weight per BF3.84.2
ColorWhite for sapwood, brown, gray for lightwoodSapwood light white, heartwood pink to gray
Reason Behind the ColorBeetle Bore insects Decayed by Fungus
UsefulnessAll woodworking and cabinetryWoodworking, Cabinetry, Trim, Flooring, and Musical Instruments.
Average waste factor 20%25%
Types of Wood Soft woodHardwood
Price per BF$4-6$7.5 - 9.00
Health EffectSkin Irritation, Allergy(very rare)

Detailed Overview 

Now, let’s jump to the detailed overview of the differences

Structure and Color

Ambrosia Inside the Acer group, maple does not constitute a separate species. Ambrosia is a beetle that commonly infects maple trees and causes noticeable damage.

There are no particular species, or perhaps even genus, of beetle that cause the ambrosia phenomenon. Rather, there are multiple similar varieties found all over the world. 

The Beatles additionally enable fungi, with that they are symbiotic in the environment, to enter, causing the usual staining of the wood. 

Without such ambrosial impact, maple wood is often exceedingly pale, monochromatic, and devoid of form. Remember if you do maple stain it remains very well.

In brief, the Ambrosia Beetle digs inside the parent plant in search of a nesting site while transporting fungi on her legs.

The traces of her journey are transported upward and downward the tree by sap. It leaves gorgeous brown, tint of blue or green marks.

Spalted Maple is caused by decay. Essentially, the wood or log begins to degrade, and a fungal assaults the wood throughout this process.  This fungus provides Spalted Maple with its unique black figure patterns that woodworkers adore. 

Spalted maple is simply regular maple that has become partially rotten. Following the cutting of the wood, various species of stain, fungus, and decay fungus assault it and build borders to protect their territory.

They do not reflect any consistent pattern, like the growth rings of a tree. Their geometric character draws the eye in and makes the wood intriguing to look at.

The drying process inhibits additional deterioration. Partially decayed wood, known as spalting, exhibits dark juxtaposing lines and stripes where fungi have started to destroy the wood. 

If the lumber was saved from the spalting just at the correct moment, it ought to be sound and usable, with few to no soft patches or rotting timber.

 While half-rotted wood may not seem enticing, wait till you see it. The rich brown or sometimes black patterns and streaks provide a lot of character to the otherwise extremely light and frequently simple wood.

Janka Rating 

The Janka Scale was created to regulate the durability of various types of wood. This gives customers a sense of how effectively a floor can withstand denting, scraping, and other damage. 

The force required to drive a 0.444 inches metal ball half into such a solid block of hardwood is used to compute the Janka grade.

The testing will tell you how much power was required to form this protrusion inside the timber. The tougher the wood, the greater the grade.

Take into account beauty, pricing, and variety while selecting a floor. Because a hardwood floor is a significant investment for your house. 

You should select a floor that you will enjoy, not simply the toughest variety! Regardless of its Janka score, a floor’s polish can increase its longevity.

If you have children or dogs in your house, you may wish to pick a more durable type. Remember that how you maintain the floor after it’s put can have an influence over time.

 A gentler floor might theoretically endure longer than a tougher floor. If the first is properly maintained whereas the latter is not.

A “lighter” or “harder” type, on the other hand, is not always “terrible” or “superior.” The Janka scale’s objective is merely to assist consumers in determining what species are more resistant to damage and scratches than others.

Extra soft and brittle timbers are only used for crafts or furnishings. What qualifies a breed as a “good” or “poor” fit for your house is entirely dependent on your own requirements and tastes.

Hard Maple vs Soft Maple

You may be wondering whether is ambrosia maple hard or soft. The answer is,  that Ambrosia maple is soft maple because it has a lower Janka rate than we have discussed. Spalted maple is hard maple. 

It is hard to identify between hard maple and soft maple. But if you are still confused you can identify your wood below these measures: 

  • Check End Grain
  • Looking at the leaves
  • Observing colors
  • Weight of the board
  • Iron Sulfate test

The best way is to look at the color. Besides, spalted maple is slightly weighted more than ambrosia maple.


Ambrosia Maple is a perfect size for cutting vegetables and preparing meals in the kitchen. This sturdy board has a natural oil finish and therefore is meal suitable. Hence, there is no need to worry about is ambrosia maple food safe.

But you may feel some skin irritation and allergy problems which are very rare.

White rot fungus causes the black lines admired in spalted wood. The fungus contributes in terms of beauty, it subtracts in terms of toughness, resulting only in mushy, punky regions.

This is a contentious subject. Furniture makers will argue both sides of the issue. So yet, there have been no actual scientific conclusions on what the proper answer is.

The conservative opinion on this topic is that utilizing wood on items that will come in contact with food is simply not worth the risk. 

Individuals on this side of the discussion believe that because spalted wood is created from fungal spores, there is a danger of providing meals in touch with timber that formerly had fungi developing in it.

The fungi are latent in the timber when you dried the dish before finishing it. That is, it is no more reproducing or creating spores, despite the fact that it is not dead. Your coating will lock in any existing spores in the timber. 

As far as it has been dried completely and secured, there’s nothing problematic with utilizing spalted hardwood for food products. But we advise avoiding utilizing it for chopping boards immediately.

Waste Factor 

It is crucial to comprehend what a wastage factor is and the way it affects your finances. 

A waste factor is the quantity of sawdust that you will need to spend while not being able to utilize it in your operation. A waste factor is often represented as a percentage (%) of the total quantity necessary.

The following are examples of waste factors:

  • Natural flaws in the wood
  • The wood has been distorted.
  • Sawn boards with irregular shapes and sizes.
  • Finish trimming

The higher the percentage of wood waste, the more you will need wood. As a result, it can affect your purchase option.

Ambrosia Maple has a 20% waste factor. On the contrary, spalted maple has 25%. And that means spalted maple timber will need much more than ambrosia maple. 


Now, let’s look at the pricing of this timber. It is  4 to 6 dollars per BF for ambrosia maple. And it cost around 9$ for spalted maple price.

 Again you need a higher amount of spalted timber as it has a higher waste factor. Hence, the cost will automatically go up. 

Before choosing any wood, calculate the total cost and remember the waste factor.

That’s all about the differences. 

Final Thoughts 

Come on, we have to admit that it was a kinda tough battle. Both ambrosia maple and spalted maple go hand in hand.

The main important thing to remember is which way you want to use it. For example, you may be searching for the best wood for a computer desk and the answer could be many. 

If you want a nice flourished floor, then spalted maple flooring is the best solution. Because it has a higher Janka rate and hardwood types. Therefore, it will break off so easily.

You can also make a floor with Ambrosia maple but after some time you may identify some scratching that is not suitable. It is best for furniture and musical instruments. 

Again pricing is a key factor here. So what do you think is viable for you?  


Is Ambrosia maple long-lasting?

This is a highly popular timber for making attractive and long-lasting furniture. As a result, it is regarded as a luxury hardwood! Ambrosia Maple is indeed a desirable furnishing wood because it combines price and endurance. 

What is the best method for sealing spalted wood?

We prefer lacquer or liquid varnish, both of which impart minimal color to hardwood. If you like a richer, more amber appearance, you may give oil-based lacquer or shellac. Polyurethane is a good choice for goods that will see a lot of usages. Using oil, such as boiling linseed oil, should be avoided.

Is Spalted maple suitable for guitars?

Spalted maple has the potential to produce some absolutely gorgeous textures and designs. A guitar with good contrast between both the spalting and typical grain might have a more vibrant three-dimensional appearance. Due to its scarcity, spalted maple is constantly a one-of-a-kind and sought-after equipment.


That’s all about it on our part. Do let us know which part you like most and which is the most important factor for you.

We hope to clear the differences between ambrosia maple vs spalted maple. 

Be careful when working with timber. Always wear goggles if you do any work by yourself. Take care of furniture properly. 

Wish you the very best!

Kevin Smith

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