Hardwood is a type of wood commonly used in construction, furniture making and various other purposes. Hardwoods are products of deciduous trees, which lose their leaves in autumn. Hardwoods are considered hard, dense and durable (not all) and generally more suitable than softwoods for a number of uses. At the same time, hardwoods are also generally more expensive than softwoods.
If you are working on a hardwood project or planning to buy hardwood for a new project, it helps to have a basic idea of the different types of hardwood.
Types of Hardwood
Hardwood is a very broad term. It includes all wood species procured from deciduous trees. There are hundreds of hardwood species around the world, however, not all hardwoods are equally good or popular for commercial uses.
Some examples of hardwoods include Abachi, acacia, African padauk, afzelia, agba, alder, ash, aspen, Australian red cedar, balsa, basswood, birch, blackbean, blackwood, boxwood, Brazilian walnut, brazilwood, buckeye, butternut, cherry, cottonwood, cumaru, dogwood, ebony, elm, eucalyptus, greenheart, gum, hackberry, hickory, ipe, iroko, ironwood, kingwood, limba, locust, mahogany, maple, meranti, marblewood, mopane, oak, Merbau, olive, okume, poplar, pink ivory, redheart, sal, sandalwood, Spanish cedar, teak, tulip, walnut, willow, wenge, and African zebrawood.
Since we cannot cover all types of hardwood in just one post, in this article, we will talk about the top 10 most popular types of hardwood.
1. Black Walnut
Black walnut hardwood is native to the Eastern United States. It has a Janka rating of 1,010 lbf and is considered very hard and durable. The wood is resistant to decay but susceptible to insect attacks. Black Walnut heartwood is light brown or dark brown with darker streaks. Sapwood is pale yellow or white. The grain is straight, which makes it easy to work with. The wood is extensively used in furniture, cabinetry, veneering, panelling, and turned items.
Hickory is a popular hardwood that is mainly used for flooring because of its extreme durability. Hickory is strong hardwood, looks beautiful and requires very little maintenance, which is why it is preferred for flooring. The wood is also somewhat resistant to moisture.
Oak comes in many varieties, almost all of which are strong hardwood. As one of the most inexpensive hardwoods, oak is widely used in many commercial applications. Popular types include red oak, white oak, black oak, and willow oak. It can be non-durable to moderately durable depending on the species.
Teak is another popular and globally used hardwood. It is stronger, harder, more durable and also more expensive than oak. The heartwood of teak is golden medium brown and looks absolutely amazing. The wood is very durable and resistant to decay and termites. It is usable for everything from furniture to construction, flooring, veneering, boat building, carving, etc.
5. African Zebrawood
Zebrawood or Zebrano is a hardwood native to West Africa. The heartwood is light brown or cream and has brown or black streaks similar to that of a zebra. The wood is considered strong and durable and is primarily used for veneering. Other uses include furniture, boats, skis, and tool handles.
Wenge is another Africa-based hardwood exported by CameroonTimberExportSarl. It is mainly produced in Central Africa. With a 1,930 lbf Janka rating, Wenge is considered a very strong and durable wood. The heartwood is a medium brown with an occasional reddish hue and black streaks. It is used in veneering, furniture, panelling, musical instruments, and turned objects.
Poplar wood comes in more than one variety – white poplar, black poplar, yellow poplar, etc. Black poplar grows in many parts of Africa and is also planted in North America. It has a light brown heartwood with straight or interlocked grain. The wood is non-durable and commonly used for boxes and crates, plywood, and utility lumber.
Brazilian rosewood, the most famous species of rosewood, is sourced from Brazil. The wood is dark brown with even darker streaks. It is rated as extremely durable, hard and resistant to decay and insect attacks. The uniform texture and straight grain make it easy to work with. Popular applications of rosewood include veneering, cabinetry, fine furniture, turned objects, and musical instruments.
Popular species of Meranti hardwood are Dark red meranti, white meranti, light red meranti, and yellow meranti. Dark red meranti, also known as Philippine Mahogany, is dark reddish or brown and has a straight or interlocked grain. It is moderate to non-durable. The wood is mainly used for plywood, furniture (interior), veneering, boat buildings and general construction.
Sapele is a popular tropical African hardwood. It is golden to dark red-brown with a ribbon pattern among other figured grain patterns. The wood grain is interlocked. It is rated as moderately durable to very durable and is resistant to insect, borer and decay. Sapele is used in many applications such as furniture, veneering, plywood, flooring, boatbuilding, and cabinetry, among others.
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