Tuesday, 13 January 2015

What is hardwood and softwood?


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Classifying wood as either a hardwood or softwood comes down to its physical structure and makeup, and so it is overly simple to think of hardwoods as being hard and durable compared to soft and workable softwoods. This happens to be generally true, but there are exceptions, such as in the cases of wood from yew trees — a softwood that is relatively hard — and wood from balsa trees — a hardwood that is softer than softwoods.

Hardwood comes from angiosperm — or flowering plants — such as oak, maple, or walnut, that are not monocots. Softwood comes from gymnosperm trees, usually evergreen conifers, like pine or spruce.

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Comparison chart


Hardwood

Softwood

Definition Comes from angiosperm trees that are not monocots; trees are usually broad-leaved. Has vessel elements that transport water throughout the wood; under a microscope, these elements appear as pores. Comes from gymnosperm trees which usually have needles and cones. Medullary rays and tracheids transport water and produce sap. When viewed under a microscope, softwoods have no visible pores because of tracheids.
Uses hardwoods are more likely to be found in high-quality furniture, decks, flooring, and construction that needs to last. About 80% of all timber comes from softwood. Softwoods have a wide range of applications and are found in building components (e.g., windows, doors), furniture, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), paper, Christmas trees, and much more.
Examples Examples of hardwood trees include alder, balsa, beech, hickory, mahogany, maple, oak, teak, and walnut. Examples of softwood trees are cedar, Douglas fir, juniper, pine, redwood, spruce, and yew.
Density Most hardwoods have a higher density than most softwoods. Most softwoods have a lower density than most hardwoods.
Cost Hardwood is typically more expensive than softwood. Softwood is typically less expensive compared to hardwood.
Growth Hardwood has a slower growth rate. Softwood has a faster rate of growth.
Shedding of leaves Hardwoods shed their leaves over a period of time in autumn and winter. Softwoods tend to keep their needles throughout the year.
Fire Resistance More Poor





Sourced from: http://www.diffen.com



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