Forum Title: How to Identify Hardwoods and Softwoods
All the basics of hardwoods What distinguishes hardwood from softwood is how the plant reproduces. The difference in their reproduction is closely related with their seeds structure. Scientifically known as angiosperms, which are plants that produce seeds with a sort of covering. Either a fruit, like a pear, or a hard shell, such as walnut. Hardwood trees usually are broad-leaved, but their leaves are not needled and fall every autumn and winter, as hardwoods are deciduous. Most hardwoods have a significantly high density, which is partially thanks to its slow growth rate. Hardwoods' pores are of different shapes and sizes that facilitate the tree growth by allowing nutrients and water to be transported from the roots to the leaves. These pores increase their workability and density and determine the hardwood's wood grain pattern. Hardwoods are popularly used in the manufacture of finished products that require sturdiness and durability. Among these are hardwood flooring, panelling, decking, beams, furniture, countertops, quality fencing, and so forth.Some well-known hardwood varieties: 1. Teak: Native to Southeast Asia but can be grown in South America. Teak is known for its impressive wetight, dimensionally stability, robustness, and durability. The hardwood is yellow to dark brown colour and the hardwood's grain is also unique, running in straight, mottled, or fiddle back figures. Because of its high value, teak is among the most popular types of wood for quality wood designs. Teak flooring and teak decking are highly valued features in interior design. Oriental furniture, Scandinavian modern, or highly-end architectural details also often incorporate Teak wood. 2. Oak: In the United States alone, there are about over 60 species, which can be classified into two basic groups, white and red Oak. Red Oak is also known as black Oak. Strong, light-coloured, and stable are the traits of this hardwood. Its prominent grain and coarse texture are formed thanks to the rings and large pores. Oak wood is used in many transitional and contemporary designs 3. Mahogany: Also known as Honduras Mahogany, the tropical hardwood is native to South America, Central America, and Africa. It is strong and has a uniform pore presentation, though poorly defined annual rings. The reddish-brown hardwood crafts and finishes well 4. Cherry: Sometimes known as fruitwood, Cherry is grown in the Eastern U.S. The hardwood is closed grain, moderately strong, and hard. Its red-brown colour is a popular choice of many woodworkers, making it a favourite material to produce veneers and craftworks. Colonial and French Provincial designs of the 18th century often use Cherry which is called by a different name there - England Mahogany. 5. Maple: Maple is trusted for bowling alley floors because of its superb hardness and strong resistance to shocks. The hardwood has a fine texture and even grain. Curly grain maple is often used to produce violin backs. It is used extensively for American colonial furniture.All the basics of softwoods Softwoods are gymnosperms, or conifers, which grow from naked seed. Their seeds fall to the ground with no covering and the plants rely on bare soil created by fire and disturbance. With conifer trees, seeds are released into the wind as they mature. This is an early advantage that many hardwood species don't enjoy, as the phenomenon spreads the seeds over a wide area. Unlike hardwoods which have pores, softwoods instead have linear tubes, or tracheids, which generate nutrients for growth. The function of tracheids is similar to that of hardwood pores, which is to transport water, to produce sap to prevent pest invasion, and most importantly, to generate the sap for softwood tree growth. Most softwoods have a low density, which is partially because of the fact that they are fast to growth. Softwood trees or conifers are generally less expensive to harvest and market. Softwoods are essential in the production of dimension lumber for construction, particleboard, fibreboard plywood, pulpwood for paper, and so on.Some well-known softwood varieties: 1. Fir: Often referred to as Douglas Fir, this softwood is very flexible to work with and finishes well. Reportedly fir is poorly resistant to decay but it is not resinous. It has a reddish brown tint to it. The texture is suitable for those who like a uniform look. Fir can be employed as furniture, windows, veneer, framing material, etc. 2. Pine: Pine is perhaps the best known softwood tree as it grows in most areas of the Northern Hemisphere and comprises 100 species worldwide. Pine is a soft, white yellow wood, which is super lightweight. Knotty pine is often used as decorative element. Pine resists swelling and shrinking. The wood is great for making country or provincial furniture because it's easy to shape and stain. 3. Redwood: Mostly incorporated in outdoor projects, redwood is favoured because of its resistance to moisture. Also known as California redwood, the species is soft and straight-grained. As the name suggests, its characteristic reddish tone is visible on the surface. The softwood is used to craft outdoor furniture, fencing and decorative elements. 4. Cedar: This species has a few varieties, one of which is the popular western red cedar. As implied, the wood has a reddish tint and is relatively soft (1 on a scale of 1 to 4). Cedar is slightly aromatic and has a straight grain. Western red cedar is mostly used for furniture, decks, and building exteriors as this softwood work well in moist environments without rotting. The information was found in the following link which offers a summary table that is pretty neat: https://www.wooderra.com/en/wood-and-timber-articles/how-to-identify-hardwoods-softwoods Hope that helps! Happy reading
Category: Flooring Post By: ANITA MENDEZ (Santa Cruz, CA), 03/14/2019

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