Choosing Between Hardwood or Softwood for Your Projects

When you have a building project going on, you generally think of your budget first. It can be easier to accept a lower quality material in the interest of saving money, but this choice doesn’t always guarantee durability and longevity. There are several types of specialty lumber available for projects, but they are most commonly divided into categories of softwood and hardwood. ou also have plywood, which a manufactured wood.

Using Softwood

As the name implies, these wood forms are soft and easy to work with. For this reason, many beginning craftsmen will start off with pine or cedar. Softwood is taken from evergreen or coniferous trees, with varieties including hemlock, fir, spruce, or redwood. Though commonly used in the home construction industry for things like flooring, these woods do not work well for furniture. Cedar and redwood are often included in outdoor projects.

Softwood will both absorb and lose moisture more readily than hardwoods, making them less stable than other specialty lumber choices. It is advised that you purchase any softwood lumber a minimum of two weeks prior to starting your project. Keep it indoors to create a more stable, moisture balance in the wood. The sizes of boards are generally comparable to standard construction materials with regard to thickness and width.

Using Hardwood

Deciduous trees bring the hardwood options of oak, maple, cherry, birch, walnut, ash, and poplar. Home centers and lumberyards often keep red oak and poplar in stock. Working with the wood required predrilling pilot holes and having very sharp tools on hand. The wood can be either porous or dense, making it a good choice for furniture. Ash and oak are open-grain woods, which tend to absorb stain color very well. Accents in grain patterns have a dramatic effect and complement many decor styles.

Choose your specialty lumber according to what your project requires. While your budget may play a part, there are a number of options concerning harness, texture, look, and versatility.