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Hardwood vs. Softwood 🤔 BC Series #8

Hardwood vs. Softwood
Wood is material which was used by human beings for a long time already. As far as we are developing we get more knowledge in all spheres of our activities and proper usage of wooden materials is not an exception. Despite the fact that every breed has its own characteristics, wood generally differs as hardwood and softwood. So what is the difference between them and what are their pros and cons? This is what we want to explain today.

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Hardwood – this is wood from dicot(angiosperm) trees. They are mostly spread in tropical, subtropical and broad-leaved temperate areas of forests. The main characteristic which differs it from softwood is vessels, that appears like pores under the microscope and are used to transport water, mostly giving to it prominent grain. Most of these breeds are deciduous. Common examples of hardwood are oak, walnut, mahogany, alder, beech, hickory, maple and teak.

Pros:
* Mostly higher density
* Better fire resistance
* Long-lasting material
* Easy maintenance
* An enormous variety of appearance

Cons:
* More expensive than softwood
* Slow growth rate
* Some species are over-exploited
* Workability
* Costy refinishing

Softwood – being mainly recognized as opposite in characteristics, wood from gymnosperm trees as well as hardwood still has an extreme variety in technical characteristics. Meaning of softwood can be also explained as open-grained wood of any coniferous tree. Cedar, pine, yew, redwood, Douglas fir, spruce should be mention as most common examples of this type of wood, as 80% of all timber comes from it. While hardwood is associated with broad leaves, these trees tend to have needles and cones, that is what differs them on their surface. The absence of pores due to medullary rays and tracheids as water transportation gives softwood its light grain

Pros:
* Very simple workability
* Faster growth rate
* Cheaper in comparison with hardwood
* Sustainability
* Insect attack resistance

Cons:
* Mostly have lower hardness
* Poor fire resistance
* Decay resistance
* Production of sticky saps
* Require more attention

Usage of hardwood and softwood
Generally, usage of this or that type of wood depends only on the breed of the tree due to its density, so that both of them can be used in similar purposes. Despite that, it might be helpful to specify directions of common use hardwood and softwood. This list does not pretend to be completely finished in a variety of applications and it’s main purpose is recognition of several common uses.

Hardwood:
* High-quality furniture
* Decks
* Flooring
* Buildings
* Veneers
* Plywood
* Wooden stoves
* Bowling pins
* Pool cue and baseball shafts
* Decor
* Paper
* Boxes
* Interior of car
* Crates
* Chests
* Frames
* Wine and whiskey barrels
Softwood:
* Clads
* Panels
* Windows
* Doors
* MDF
* DIY projects
* Frames
* Beams
* Poles
* Benchtops
* Fences
* Roofs
* Furniture
* Sculptures
* Fiber broads
* Organ pipes

Density is one of the most important characteristics when it comes to wood choice. This chart below represents the density of the most commonly used wood.

To summarize everything already written, we want to give you a piece of advice: no matter what type of wood do you choose, due to your personal purposes, if you treat it in the proper way it will bring you a significant result, no matter if this is long-lasting black oak or easily renewable pine.


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