Types Of Hardwood

Types Of Hardwood

Hardwood is a category of timber that is milled from deciduous trees known as angiosperms which normally have broad leaves and produce nuts and/or fruits. They tend to be more difficult to work with than softwoods, but even with that said, the terms hardwood and softwood still are independent of the timber’s strength which is rated on the Janka scale. You will find it interesting to note that some softwoods surpass some hardwoods in this scale. There are an innumerable varieties of hardwoods on the market, however, this article will explore some popular options that may suit your project.

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Alder is kind of hardwood of the birch family. It provides a light weight lumber with a widely spaced wood grain. Often Alder wood is used in building interiors for mouldings, furniture and panelling. Alder wood is similar in character with cherry wood, however offers a more environmentally friendly alternative.


The Brazilian Cherry, unrelated to cherry trees is a legume naturally found in Brazilian rainforests and is also called Jatoba. It is an incredibly durable hardwood and is also easy to machine. It has a natural red hue similar to that of the red cedar wood tree or redwood.


Hickory is one the most difficult kinds of hardwoods to work with, but is incredibly shock resistant. It produces a beautiful light coloured lumber that darkens to a pale brown with time. Hickory is incredibly durable and can be used as a flooring option which will give a rustic look to your interior design.


Oak provides lumber in two varieties of red and white oak. As the name suggests, red oak provides a reddish hue, while white oak with its lighter coloured appearance and tight knit grains is similar to sapele. White oak is a more water resistant option, making it an excellent choice for flooring wet areas. It has excellent machining qualities, and is a strong and durable timber ideal for use in both internal and external environments. Oak’s uses vary from doors and windows to gates and fencing. In larger sections, it is a popular choice for structural use, and can be used for floor joists, roof purlins and supports.


This is a kind of hardwood that is a type of hickory and generally produces weaker products than true hickories due to the wider spacing of growth rings in the pecan trees. Pecan timber is extremely difficult to work with and requires extremely sharp blades and efficient machinery.



This light coloured type of hardwood has a much lower density than many other hard woods. Poplar’s soft to medium texture makes it easy to work with and is ideal to build crates, pallets and high end plywood.


Teak is a kind of hardwood with straight grain patterns and a coarse texture with a higher oil content than most hardwoods. This natural oil provides not only lustre and sheen, but also protects the wood from decay and insects. Teak is also easy to work and possesses a natural water resistance and as such is ideal for use in wet areas.


This is a dense type of hardwood with incredible strength and as such finds itself useful in the construction of structural elements such as roof trusses, stairs and joinery. Southern Yellow Pine also has a high contrast between its field and grain, and as such brings with it a unique appeal where it is utilized.


Yellow birch lumber, unlike most other varieties of hardwood timber, has very little contrast between is grain and field. Yellow birch also has a low resistance to insects and rot and is as such unsuitable for outdoor areas, as such it is cheaper than most hardwoods and is used in toys and wood veneers.


This type of hardwood from South East Asia is likely the most commonly used hardwood.  Meranti has excellent machining properties and is ideal for a multitude of functions such as doors, skirting boards, architraves, window frames and furniture. Meranti can be stained, polished, waxed and oiled and can be used both for internal and external use.


Sapele is a hardwood species from west and central Africa. It can be used both indoors and outdoors and also has excellent machining qualities. Sapele’s uses include but are not limited to skirting boards, architraves, furniture, decks, skirting and panelling. It is an incredibly popular choice for veneers on sheet materials such as plywood and MDF sheets. Sapele can also be stained, polished, waxed, oiled and varnished, giving you options on how to finish it.


Western red cedar, although classed as a hardwood is incredibly soft in its properties making it easy to machine. It is also incredibly durable and can be used both inside and outside for furniture, roof shingles external and internal cladding with very little treatment applied. When left untreated, its red colour will turn to a silvery grey over time which can add character to your finish.


Grown largely in Eastern America and Canada, maple is not a very durable timber and is normally used for internal use only or in areas that do not experience rough treatment. It is normally used then, in handles, chisels, tools, skirting, architraves and furniture.


Beech is a UK and Central European species of hardwood. It degrades relatively easily and as such is best for internal use. It can also be used for flooring, furniture, making work benches, desks, tables, worktops and high class joinery as well as a veneer on plywood sheets. Beech can be stained, polished, waxed and varnished, providing a variety of finishes for your taste.


Having decided on using hardwoods for various parts of your construction venture, you have a variety of options on which to use. It is hoped that this article has been useful in helping you choose the best hardwood for your project.