Characteristics of Hardwood & Softwood

Written by samantha herman
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Email

When starting a craft or construction project that requires wood, the first question one must ask is whether hardwood or softwood is better suited for the task. Before making that decision, knowing the ins and outs of each type of wood is valuable.

Other People Are Reading

Cellular Differences

Softwood is made up of fewer cell types than hardwood. But interestingly, the cells found in softwood tend to be longer. These elongated cells are called tracheids.

Pores

As a result of having fewer types of cells, softwood has fewer pores that transport liquid. To make up for the lack of pores, softwoods have more tracheids, which function to move water through the plant.

Staining

Staining softwood tends to be more difficult than staining hardwood because there are fewer pores to transport the liquid through the softwood. With hardwood, it is generally easier to create an even stain and requires less coats.

Seeds

When the seeds of hardwood trees and softwood trees fall to the ground, one can immediately see the difference. Hardwood seeds are angiosperms, or seeds wrapped in a tough covering; softwood seeds are gymnosperms, or seeds that have no exterior covering.

Environmental Impact

Softwoods tend to grow faster than hardwoods. For that reason, softwoods are easier to obtain, less expensive, and tend to be better for the environment. On the flip side, softwoods do deteriorate faster than hardwoods so they are often treated with wood preservatives.

What Is This Wood?

Softwoods are conifers, which can be identified by their cones and needle-like leaves. A few examples would be pine trees and redwood trees. Hardwoods tend to have bigger, flatter leaves, like those of the hickory trees and beech trees.

Don't Miss

Filter:
  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
Sort:
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the eHow.co.uk site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.