Different Kinds of Hardwood

There are various kinds of hardwood available with some being more popular than others. As an example, tropical hardwoods include wenge, mahogany, rosewood, and teak. We have heard about those woods and know that they are used in various projects for their beauty and durability. But these do have to be imported because they aren’t native to the United States. Native North American hardwoods, such as walnut, oak, or maple, are the leading choices for flooring and cabinets. Here are some more details about the different kinds of wood and its applications.

What are Hardwoods?

Deciduous trees with broad leaves, hardwoods produce a nut or a fruit, and they become dormant during the winter. There are hundreds of varieties in North America and they thrive in the temperate climates. Some examples of the more popular hardwoods include ash, cherry, oak, maple, and poplar. These are attractive and durable species of wood that can be craftedinto millwork, flooring, cabinetry, and furniture. Each kind of hardwood offersgrain pattern variations and unique markings in both color and texture.

What are Softwoods?

Softwoods are widely available throughout the United States and include hemlock, cedar, redwood, fir, pine, and spruce. For home construction, softwoods, which are also known as conifers, are used as structural lumber. So, when you go to the building store and purchase 2x4s or2x6s, they are made of softwood. Softwoods can also be used for some decorative applications.

Choosing the Right Hardwood

If you have a construction project coming up, you might have to choose what kind of hardwood you want to be used for your specific tasks, such as hardwood flooring, millwork, or cabinets. All hardwoods are very durable, and they are attractive, so this choice is basically based on preference. Each kind of hardwood is a unique color and shade and features its own textures and patterns. You should take the time to look at the options before deciding which to use for your specific project needs. Some hardwoods might have the texture and color to give the area a more rustic appearance while others might have undergone millwork and staining to give them a more formal or more elegant glow.

The Janka Scale

Janka Scale

Hardwoods are ranked using the Janka scale. When you aren’t sure about which hardwood to use for your flooring, millwork or furniture project, you might want to look at the Janka Rating System. The Janka scale ranks wood’s relative hardness. The hardest wood that is commercially available is hickory, which is five times harder than aspen, which is a softer hardwood. Hardness can be an important factor in your project, and that is something that can vary greatly from one species to another. As previously mentioned, hickory is the hardest wood available on the market and it has a hardness score of 1820. Next is hard maple at 1450 followed by white oak at 1360. Red oak scores 1290, and midway through is black walnut with a 1010 and cherry at 950. Down toward the lower end of the hardwoods are sycamore at 770, yellow poplar at 540, cottonwood at 430, and aspen at 350.

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