Differences Between Hardwood & Softwood

Differences Between Hardwood & Softwood

One of the most abundant resources on the planet, wood has been a versatile material for centuries. Wood is also one of the most detailed and intricate species in the world, with countless different varieties available for use, there is certainly a lot of information to be learned about wood. One of the biggest differences to know about wood is the characteristics of hardwoods vs. softwood. Both are very abundant in the world, and provide different uses and effects for the user. What sets them apart from one another and what purposes should each kind be used for? We have the answers to all of your questions.

The biggest differences between hardwoods and softwoods come from a cellular level. In hardwoods, these trees are called angiosperms, and are usually flowering or fruit bearing trees. Common hardwoods include apple trees and acorn trees, or balsa wood. These trees typically possess broad leaves, and have an intricate layout of vessels within the wood that carry the water to every part of the tree. These are also the types of trees that help tell you when the seasons are changing, as the leaves will change colors in the fall, die off in the cold winter, and bloom again in the spring.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, softwoods are very different in nature and makeup, and have different uses for each kind. Softwood trees are referred to as gymnosperms, and have a different makeup than their hardwood counterparts. While hardwood trees have large leaves, softwoods will traditionally have needles and cones, making pines, cedars, and firs the more common species. These trees do not possess the same intricate water vessel system that the hardwood does, instead, they have traecheids that transport the water through the tree that produce sap that is commonly found on them.

So what kind of uses are each of these trees meant for? Hardwoods are traditionally much sturdier and last longer than softwoods, making them an ideal choice for high end furniture, construction for houses and buildings, as well as hardwood floors and outdoor decks. The high density makes these woods very durable and likely to last a long time. On the other hand, softwoods are more typically found in furniture, fiberboards, and you will most commonly see them as your Christmas tree each winter.

With so many different trees and all the uses they have, it is easy to see how they are easily one of the most versatile and valuable resources on the planet. 

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