Soft Wood

Softwood comes mainly from evergreen, coniferous trees whichkeep their foliage all the year. These are trees like pine and fir trees thatare typical of cooler parts of the world.In general, softwood is easy to work and has a huge range of uses. It isnot only the prime material for structural building, but is also found in furnitureand other products such as doors and windows. Softwood is alsoharvested for use in the production of paper.

About 80% of the total world’s production of timber comes from softwood. Softwoods are not necessarily soft in nature. Thethickness and hardness varies in different types of softwoods. Below are some of the commonly known softwoods.

CEDAR

Cedar has a reddish texture and known for its aromatic smell. Cedar has two types namely white cedar and red cedar. It is often used to make closets as it repels insects. This wood is also used for novelties, cabinets, dock planks, etc. as they resist decaying and are mostly uniform in their texture.

  • COLOUR: Heartwood is a light reddish brown and sapwood is pale yellow-brown to white.
  • PATTERN: Straight grain with uniform texture.
  • CHARACTERISTICS: Hard and durable. It is resistant to impact and decay. It also has excellent machining properties.
  • USES: Furniture, cabinets, novelties,building boats, etc.



FIR

Fir is mostly used as plywood or pulp. This wood is mostly used for indoor use such as cabinets or closets, etc. The wood is very soft and has a reddish brown colour.

  • COLOUR: Heartwood is usually white to reddish brown and pale brown sapwood
  • PATTERN: Medium course texture. Its grains are uniform and straight.
  • CHARACTERISTICS: Dense, hard, stiff, durable, strong. But less resistant to insects.
  • USES: Furniture, papers, plywood, construction of lumber and other industrial purposes.



HEMLOCK

Hemlock is a soft and rough wood with open grains. It is commonly used for construction of lumber. The wood varies from light honey colour to rich golden tan colour. This wood has excellent gluing properties which makes it best for laminating, edge veneering, etc.

  • COLOUR: Heartwood is usually white to reddish brown and light brown sapwood
  • PATTERN: Flat and straight grains with uneven texture.
  • CHARACTERISTICS: Non-durable and poor resistance to insect attacks. However, it has good machining properties.
  • USES: Furniture, papers, cabinets, millwork, veneering, etc.



PINE

Pine is long lived, almost 100 to 1000 years or more. They are oldest living organisms. In tropical regions they are fastest growing softwood. Pines are commercially used as Christmas trees. Pine is used widely for construction purposes as it resists shrinking and swelling. They are excellent wood for making furniture, novelties, doors, window frames, wood flooring, etc. Their texture is mostly honey coloured or straw coloured.

  • COLOUR: Heartwood is reddish brown and yellowish white sapwood.
  • PATTERN: Medium course texture. Its grains are uniform and straight.
  • CHARACTERISTICS: It has a mild smell. It is durable; light weighted and has average machining properties.
  • USES: Furniture, novelties, doors and window making, flooring, making paper and other decorative purposes.



REDWOOD

Like the name suggests, this wood is Red in colour. Redwood is insect repellent and used for a variety of purposes like furniture, home décor, kitchen cabinets, etc. It is easily machined, easy to saw and nail and has superior gluing properties. Due to its resistance to moisture, it is a preferred wood for outdoor projects.

  • COLOUR: Heartwood is light pinkish brown to a deep reddish brown in colour. Sapwood is a pale white/yellow.
  • PATTERN: Medium course texture. Its grains straight. However it may be wavy and irregular at times.
  • CHARACTERISTICS: Light weighted, moderately strong and resistant to decay. It also has good machining properties.
  • USES: Furniture, home décor, cabinets, garden furniture, farms, green houses and other construction purposes.



SPRUCE

Spruce is normally found in the northern temperate regions of earth. Spruce is commonly used to make musical instruments like guitar, violins, mandolins, etc. Due to its low resistance to insects and moisture, it is best considered for indoor use only. Spruce is also used for making paper as its fibres are thin walled and collapses to thin bands when it is dried. Spruce is normally used as pulpwood.

  • COLOUR: Heartwood is reddish brown, sapwood is yellowish white.
  • PATTERN: Medium course texture with straight grains.
  • CHARACTERISTICS: Light weighted, poor durability and low decay resistance. However it has good machining properties.
  • USES: Best for indoor use. Used in paper making, musical instruments, making plywood, furniture and construction, etc.

 

COMPARITIVE PROPERTIES TABLE FOR HARDWOOD

SPECIES/ PROPERTIES MACHINING NAILING SCREWING GLUING DURABILITY WEIGHT
Cedar Good Good Good Good Fair light
Fir Fair Fair Fair Good Fair light
Hemlock Good Good Good Good average Medium
Pine Very good Very good Very good Very good Very good medium
Redwood Very good Very good Very good Very good good hard
Spurce Fair Fair Fair good fair light

 

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