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The Different Types of Wood Explained!

The Different Types of Wood Explained!

Before choosing a specific raw material to work with, experienced woodworkers usually consider several features meticulously. While a close-grained hardwood may look impressive, using it as a material in dulled saw blades may not worth the price. However, choosing a looser-grained softwood or hardwood may not be a better option either if the needed structural attributes and finish for the work are absent. Despite the wide varieties of wood species, there is no fit-for-all.

Exotic hardwoods

Woods such as purpleheart, Jatoba, and ebony are referred to as exotic hardwoods because of their close, intricate grain patterns, natural oil surfaces, and rich hues, which make them attractive. However, these features imply hardness. Thus, a woodworker will need to retool the wood frequently and also utilize extra effort. Besides, in a bid to facilitate forest preservation, the exploration of exotic woods has been regulated. Therefore, there is less availability of the product, and consequently, the price is higher than ever. As a result, you will have to make an economic decision on whether to use exotic woods or not. While exotic woods offer a beautiful appearance and high durability, they are not entirely budget-friendly.

Exotic Hardwood Lumber


Domestic Hardwoods

If you intend to run a project that demands the structural reliability of hardwood, then domestic species such as maple, oak, and cherry are recommendable. These species fall in the middle of the Janka hardness scale, i.e., they exhibit better workability compared to the exotic species. However, it is worth noting that qualities such as oily texture and vibrant colors are not available. Compared to harder tropical species, domestic hardwoods weather less, and mostly, they demand a finish to avoid discoloration and oxidation; however, this can be beneficial. To blend their lighter natural hues with the surrounding décor, a penetrating stain can be used. Also, rather than causing a detraction, finishes will only enhance their eye-catching appearance.

Domestic Hardwood Lumber Application


Woods considered as construction-grade materials include pine, redwood, cedar, and fir – all of which are softwoods. These woods can be cut and shape easily, most especially cedar and redwood. Additionally, they are weather-resistant and highly abundant. On the hardness scale, softwoods appear at the low end; thus, compared to the hardwoods, they break easily and wears quickly too. Besides, the cost of knot-fee, cabinet-grade softwood is as much as the price of hardwood. Nevertheless, construction-grade softwoods bearing a few knots and irregularities may be considered as visually appealing spots. Consequently, a woodworker may decide to stay within the budget allocated for a project, but keeping in mind that knotty wood doesn’t accept stains evenly.

Red Cedar Deck

(via: Deck Masters, LLC)


Although plywood is not a natural product, several builders and cabinetmakers often use it for their projects. Due to the laminated layers of plywood, it is capable of resisting swelling and shrinking better compared to solid wood. Additionally, plywood has a wide dimension, which helps prevent the need to laminate each plank required for cabinet or tabletop. While plywood can be cut, sand, and finish easily, they are not suitable for turning or constructing structural elements of furniture such as legs or spindles due to the visible layers of lamination on the edges. If you intend to use plywood for tabletop or cabinet, then be prepared to expend an extra effort needed for beading to cover the apparent edges.

Plywood Lumber

Contact Us Today to Learn How We Can Supply Your Business with the World's Best Wood.

Hardwood Vs. Softwood Lumber: The Pros, Cons and Uses

Hardwood Vs. Softwood Lumber: The Pros, Cons and Uses


Due to the unique style and performance of genuine hardwood timber, the wood has earned several praises among users. Angiosperm trees, one of which is hardwood, possess the ability to share nutrients and water across the entire wood. Because the pores within the wood grain control every distribution, this helps improves the density of the remaining timber grain. Furthermore, hardwoods are known to be deciduous, i.e., they shed foliage at the end of their growing season. Some of the species of hardwood include Balsa, Spotted Gum, Blackbutt, Eucalyptus.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Hardwood Lumber


  • Easy to maintain: With ease, you can clean off dust, and also rectify any scratches or dents.
  • Outlook: Several finishes of hardwood timber are available in the wood market. Also, you will find them in different colors. With all the variety available, you will surely find a piece that will match your modern setting.
  • Durability: Products of hardwood are known to exhibit great longevity over time.
  • Fire resistance: Compared to the softwood, hardwood resists fire incidence better.
  • Strength: Hardwood possesses an incredible strength due to the dense cellular structure of the tree.


  • Workability: During construction, working with hardwood is often more tedious due to its dense structure.
  • Refinishing: If you intend to use hardwood in high traffic areas, then be ready to bear the cost of refinishing.
  • Cost: While hardwood offers excellent value for money, it is quite expensive.
  • A slow rate of growth: Considering the slow growth rate of the tree, hardwood forests often take more time to regrow lost woods.

Hardwood Lumber

What Type of Work Is Hardwood Lumber Best Used For?

While hardwoods are mostly utilized for flooring, they also perform well when used for paneling, fencing, cladding, outdoor decks, and buildings. Whether you choose to use hardwood in residential apartments, or commercial projects, it will serve you excellently. Also, it is ideal for outdoor or indoor works. Essentially, whenever strength and durability are needed in your construction work, then hardwood is your go-to-get option.

Hardwood Lumber Flooring



Aside from the stunning, flawless finish of softwoods, they offer exceptional versatility. Softwoods are products of gymnosperm trees, which are known to lack pores, and instead, use medullary rays and tracheid for sap production and water distribution. With all these attributes, softwoods have little density. Cedar, Pine, Hemlock, and Douglas fir are some of the examples of softwood - all of which are evergreen.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Softwood Lumber


  • Sustainability: Compared to the hardwood, softwood possesses a faster growth rate, and consequently, viewed as a renewable source of wood.
  • Price: Since softwoods are easier to find, they are available at a more affordable price.
  • Workability: It is more convenient to work with softwood. More so, they can be applied to different projects.


  • Durability: If you intend to use wood material in high traffic areas, then softwood may not be your best option as it is less durable compared to hardwood.
  • Lower Fire resistance: Softwoods have less capability to withstand a fire attack.
  • Lower Density: Softwoods are weaker and less durable because of their lesser density of the structure. However, some durable softwood possesses higher density, such as Yew and Juniper.

What Type of Projects Are Softwoods Best Used For?

Construction works such as ceilings, furniture, feature walls, windows, and doors are mostly done using softwood timber. With the elegant finish of softwoods, they can be used to develop appealing features for any project, whether in commercial structures or residential buildings.

Softwood Lumber Flooring

Where Can You Find the Highest Quality Softwood and Hardwood Lumber?

Finding a reliable source of quality lumber can sometimes be tricky. We at Island Lumber Co. supply businesses across the globe with the highest quality woods in the world. Our timber is grown in beautiful British Columbia and is regulated by Canada's strict 3rd Party Forest Regulations.

Contact Us Today to Learn How We Can Supply Your Business with the World's Best Wood.