Do you have a woodworking project in the works? Choosing the right softwood matters to ensure the success of your project. Hemlock and Pine both are wonderful options for softwood, but the right choice will depend on your particular project type and requirements.
Hemlock is a tough and versatile wood and can be used in many kinds of woodworking projects. Pine, on the other hand, is lightweight and generally easy to work with but also fairly hard and durable. This article is your quick guide to choosing the right wood between hemlock and pine based on an in-depth discussion of the respective properties of each wood and their differences. Let’s do this!
What is Hemlock wood?
Hemlock is a wood procured from coniferous evergreen trees in the genus Tsuga of the family Pinaceae. There are about 10-14 species of hemlock, including mountain, eastern, and western hemlock.
Hemlock heartwood has a pale color and fine, even grain, and is favored for construction projects, among other things. Its moderate density makes it suitable for applications like framing, siding, and decking, but treatment might be needed to protect it from decay and insects. Particularly liked for its affordability and versatility, hemlock wood is not as good or famous as pine and other conifer species.
What is Pine wood?
It is a conifer tree in the Pinus of the family Pinaceae. The softwood procured is hard and moderately durable. Pine timber is known for its versatility owing to its outstanding range of 200+ species available with distinct characteristics. The two major categories are soft and hard pine.
Pine is a versatile and globally used softwood. Known for its light and clear color and straight grain, it is favoured for its durability and workability. Its low density makes it easy to cut and carve, making it a popular choice for many applications. It is particularly used for making furniture, cabinets, and decorative items and as a construction timber for its strength and resistance. It can be, however, susceptible to dents and scratches.
Hemlock Vs Pine Timber
Hemlock and pine wood differ considerably in terms of appearance. Hemlock boasts a consistent light yellow-brownish hue and a fine, straight grain, creating a uniform, knot-free look. Its subtle color variation across the length adds depth to finished products.
Pine wood, on the other hand, has heartwood color ranging from a light yellow to brownish in different species with usually a more distinctive, often with knots, grain pattern. It is recognized for its classic appearance and versatility and its ability to respond well to finishes.
While hemlock offers a clear and uniform look, pine’s diverse grain and color variations give it a more visually vibrant and textured appearance.
Hardness & Strength
Hemlock is moderately hard for a softwood, but it is generally softer than hard pine varieties. Pine wood is known for its versatility and a wide number of species with varying hardness. Eastern White Pine, for example, is a soft type of pine, while Southern Yellow Pine tends to be harder and stronger.
Overall, pine wood generally has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than hemlock. However, both woods are strong and can be used in heavy-duty applications like construction. Pine, which is more robust, is considered more suitable for structural applications where strength is a primary consideration.
Both can be compared based on their durability, i.e. resistance to rot and insects.
Hemlock is not very durable and is generally prone to decay and insect infestation. Proper treatment and maintenance are needed when using the wood for outdoor purposes to enhance its longevity and resistance.
Pine, on the other hand, varies in durability due to many species. Hard pine varieties, like longleaf and shortleaf pine, show higher natural durability due to increased hardness and resin content, meaning they are more resistant to decay and insects than most hemlock species. However, soft pine species are generally less durable and prone to decay and insects. They may require treatment for outdoor applications.
Ultimately, the durability of both the wood depends on the specific species and external treatment to enhance their strength.
Hemlock, being softer than pine, is generally easier to work with. It responds well to cutting, carving, shaping, and machining, making it a favoured choice of woodworkers for many projects where workability is important. Sanding hemlock can, however, be difficult.
Pine wood, known for its versatile range, is also quite easy to work with. It can be easily cut, carved, shaped, and sanded, making it a preferred option for a range of projects including intricate designs and finishes.
Both hemlock and pine are considered suitable for use in various woodworking techniques and applications.
Price and availability vary for hemlock and pine wood depending on factors such as species, location, and demand.
Hemlock, often more easily available as a less expensive wood option, is preferred over pine in regions where it is easily accessible. Its pricing may vary based on the specific type and local availability (imported wood may cost more).
Pine wood, with many species out there and easy availability in all corners of the world, is generally affordable and easily accessible. However, specific species of pine may not be as easily available or can be expensive to import.Its popularity and worldwide availability make it a cost-effective choice for various woodworking applications.
Both woods find diverse applications due to their distinct characteristics and versatility. Hemlock, with its moderate density, clear appearance, and fine grain, is often used in construction applications like framing, sheathing, and carpentry. Its soft structure also makes it suitable for making boxes, crates, and crafts. Other uses include paneling and moldings.
Pine, known for its versatile range, is extensively used in furniture making, cabinetry, and construction, and is also used for making decorative items due to its lighter color, distinctive grain patterns, and easy workability. Additionally, its strength and natural durability, particularly its resistance to shrinking make it a favored choice for structural construction applications. Eastern White Pine, which is durable, is the best for exterior uses like siding and decking applications.
Hemlock vs Pine : Which Softwood is Best for Your Project?
Between hemlock and pine, choosing the better wood can be difficult because of their similarities. While hemlock offers a clear appearance and softer texture, which makes it suitable for basic construction applications and a range of projects where ease of workability is preferred, pine comes in many varieties and offers numerous options with versatility for use in a variety of projects, from furniture making and crafting to exterior applications.
Whether you want to buy pine wood, hemlock timber, or both, just visit our official website to get the best wood at the right price with special discounts on wholesale orders. We offer worldwide shipping. Contact us at +237671776559 to consult your timber requirements.