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What is the difference between hard and soft

wood?
Classifying wood as either a hardwood or softwood comes down to its
physical structure and makeup, and so it is overly simple to think of
hardwoods as being hard and durable compared to soft and workable
softwoods. This happens to be generally true, but there are exceptions,
such as in the cases of wood from yew trees a softwood that is
relatively hard and wood from balsa trees a hardwood that is
softer than softwoods.
Hardwood comes from angiosperm or flowering plants such as
oak, maple, or walnut, that are not monocots. Softwood comes
from gymnospermtrees, usually evergreen conifers, like pine or spruce.

Comparison chart
Hardwood versus Softwood comparison chart

Hardwood

Softwood

Definition Comes from angiosperm trees that are


not monocots; trees are usually broadleaved. Has vessel elements that
transport water throughout the wood;
under a microscope, these elements
appear as pores.

Comes from gymnosperm trees which usually


have needles and cones. Medullary rays and
tracheids transport water and produce sap.
When viewed under a microscope, softwoods
have no visible pores because of tracheids.

Uses hardwoods are more likely to be found


in high-quality furniture,
decks, flooring, and construction that
needs to last.

About 80% of all timber comes from


softwood. Softwoods have a wide range of
applications and are found in building
components (e.g., windows, doors), furniture,
medium-density fiberboard (MDF), paper,
Christmas trees, and much more.

Examples Examples of hardwood trees include


alder, balsa, beech, hickory, mahogany,
maple, oak, teak, and walnut.

Examples of softwood trees are cedar,


Douglas fir, juniper, pine, redwood, spruce,
and yew.

Hardwood versus Softwood comparison chart

Hardwood
Density Most hardwoods have a higher density
than most softwoods.
Cost Hardwood is typically more expensive
than softwood.

Softwood
Most softwoods have a lower density than
most hardwoods.
Softwood is typically less expensive
compared to hardwood.

Growth Hardwood has a slower growth rate.

Softwood has a faster rate of growth.

Shedding Hardwoods shed their leaves over a


of leaves period of time in autumn and winter.

Softwoods tend to keep their needles


throughout the year.

Fire More
Resistance

Poor

Describe the various methods of seasoning of


timber.
Seasoning is the process of removing the moisture content from wood to minimize
structural problems when used in construction or to provide less smoke and more
uniform combustion when used as firewood. Dried wood, although lighter than green
wood, which still contains moisture, is stronger, less likely to warp or mold and is easier
to finish with paint or varnish. The length of the process depends on the type of wood
used along with relative humidity in the area where the wood is seasoned.

Air Seasoning
The traditional method for drying wood, air seasoning is also the longest, taking six to
nine months. To air season wood, stack logs or planks outside on pallets in such a
manner that air can circulate vertically and horizontally through the timbers. The raised
pallets also keep wood away from vegetation and damp ground. Plank and log ends are
often wrapped or sealed to prevent excessive moisture loss through these areas. Protect
the drying wood from the elements with an overhead canopy.

Kiln Seasoning
The most common and effective commercial process for drying wood is kiln seasoning,
which accelerates the process of removing moisture through the use of external energy.
Drying takes two days to one weekend, depending on the type of wood. Two methods,
progressive and compartmental, are used for kiln seasoning. In a progressive kiln,
timber enters at one end and travels on a trolley through chambers with different air
conditions to progressive dry the wood. This method produces a constant flow of
seasoned timber. Wood seasoned via the compartmental process remains in a single
building where it is subjected to a program of varying conditions until the moisture
content is removed. This process is used for hard-to-dry or expensive wood.

Solar Kiln
This method combines the speed of kiln seasoning with the low energy of air drying.
Solar kilns have single-thickness windows on the south side of the structure that work as
collectors to trap the suns energy. Heat collectors, made from black metal are attached
near the top of the window sashes. Various methods force the heated air to circulate
through the kiln to dry the wood. Some solar kilns have insulation to retain heat at
night. This process takes approximately twice as long as traditional kiln seasoning.
Because of its gentle nature, it is well suited to producing wood for furniture fabrication.

Microwave Seasoning

Microwave seasoning uses pulsed energy directed into timbers to drive out moisture in
a manner that will not cause seasoning degrade. This method also provides advantages
such as high speed and high quality and is well suited for seasoning lumber, blocks,
veneer, chips, paper and wood-based composite materials. Areas in the wood with the
most moisture absorb the most energy resulting in even temperature during the drying
process and a uniform moisture content. These factors enhance quality and reduce
timber checking and warping.

What is the difference between wood and


timber
Difference between Timber and Wood
Key difference: The term wood is used to refer to the trees, specifically it refers
to the substance that trees are made out of. Wood is the hard, fibrous structural
tissue that is commonly found in the stems and roots of the trees. It is a natural
composite of cellulose fibers. Timber, on the other hand, can be used to refer to
any stage of the wood after the tree has been cut down. This may include the
felled tree, the wood processed for construction, wood pulp for paper production,
etc. Timber is also known as lumber.

Dictionary.com defines wood as

The hard, fibrous substance composing most of the stem and branches of a tree or
shrub, and lying beneath the bark; the xylem.

The trunks or main stems of trees as suitable for architectural and other purposes;
timber or lumber.

Essentially, the term wood is used to refer to the trees, specifically it refers to the
substance that trees are made out of. Wood is the hard, fibrous structural tissue that
is commonly found in the stems and roots of the trees. It is a natural composite of
cellulose fibers. These fibers are strong in tension and are embedded in a matrix of
lignin, due to which the wood is able to resist compression.
Wood plays numerous roles in the anatomy of the tree. It primary function is to
provide support to the tree, in order to enable it to remain straight and grow upward
in height. The height is important for the tree as the higher it is, the closer to the sun
it gets and the leaves are then able to absorb the sunlight and use it in the process of
photosynthesis. Hence, the woods support function relates directly to the trees
ability to acquire food and hence survive. Furthermore, the wood also mediates the
transfer of water and nutrients to the leaves and other growing tissues. Again, this is
essential for the tree in order to survive.
In addition to the above mentioned, the term wood is also used to refer to other
plant materials that are similar in nature to the hard, fibrous structural tissue. It
may also refer to materials that are engineered or created from wood, wood chips or
fiber. This may include wooden furniture, wooden houses, wooden toys, etc.
Timber, on the other hand, can be used to refer to any stage of the wood after the
tree has been cut down. This may include the felled tree, the wood processed for
construction, wood pulp for paper production, etc. Timber is also known as lumber.

Timber can be either rough or finished. The rough


timber is the raw material, which can be processed and then used for a variety of
functions. It will usually require additional cutting and shaping before it can be used.
Whereas, finished timber is the wood that has already been processed and usually cut
into various sizes. These pieces of finished timber can usually be bought and
immediately be used in the project without requiring much or any cutting or shaping.

In the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth Countries such as Australia and New
Zealand, the term timber is used to refer to sawn wood products, such as floor
boards. However, in the United States and Canada, timber usually refers to felled
trees, whereas the sawn wood products are referred to as lumber. Timber may also
used to describe sawn lumber that is not less than 5 inches (127 mm). This is the
smallest dimension that timber is available.
The phrase, Timber! has also been made famous in modern culture as being the
word that is being screamed by bust axe-wielding lumberjacks as a felled tree falls to
the ground during logging. It is quite similar to the use of Fore! in golf.

What are the characteristics of a


good timber?
QUALITIES OF GOOD TIMBER
Good timber should have the following qualities

1. HARDNESS
A good quality timber should be hard enough to resist deterioration.

2. STRENGTH
It should have sufficient strength to resist heavy structural loads.

3. TOUGHNESS
It should have enough toughness to resist shocks due to vibrations. It should not break in bending
and should resist splitting. Timbers having narrow annual rings, are generally the strongest.

4. ELASTICITY
It should have the property of elasticity so as to regain its original shape after removal of loads. This
is a very important property to be considered if the timber is used in making sport goods.

5. DURABILITY
It should be able to resist attacks of fungi and worms and also atmospheric effects for a longer
period of time.

6. DEFECTS
Timber should be prepared from the heart of a sound tree and be free from sap, dead knots, shakes
and other similar defects.

7. FIBRES AND STRUCTURE


It should have straight and closed fibres and compact medullary rays. It should give a clear ringing
sound when struck. Dull heavy sound is an indication of internal decay. Its annual rings should be
uniform in shape and colour.

s
tructure of a timber

8. APPEARANCE AND COLOUR


Freshly cut surface should give sweet smell and present shining surface. It should have dark colour,
as light colored timbers are generally weak in strength.

9. SHAPE AND WEIGHT


It should retain its shape during the process of seasoning. Heavy timbers are always stronger than
light weight timbers.

10. WORKABILITY
It should be well seasoned and easily workable. Teeth of saw should not get clogged during the
process of sawing. It should provide smoothened surface easily.