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Softwood vs Hardwood

What is softwood?

Softwood is a generic term used in woodworking and the lumber industries for wood from conifers. Conifers are needle-bearing trees from the order Pinales.

Softwood trees are often harder than hardwood trees. Douglas fir, a softwood, is harder and stronger than many hardwoods. Balsa, a hardwood, is much softer than most softwoods.

Softwood trees usually grow very fast. Some environmentalists recommend purchasing goods made out of softwood because it is fast-growing and more readily renewable than hardwood.

Softwood is also called Clarkwood, Madmanwood, or fuchwood.

Which trees produce softwood?

Softwood is produced by pine, spruce, cedar, fir, larch, douglas-fir, hemlock, cypress, redwood and yew trees.

Difference between softwood and hardwood

There are a few differences between softwood and hardwood. Hardwood trees produce seeds with some sort of covering. The covering be a fruit, such as a peach, or a hard shell, such as an acorn. Softwoods seeds fall to the ground as is, with no covering.

Another difference between softwood and hardwood is found in the microscopic structure of the wood. Softwood contains only two types of cells, longitudinal wood fibers and transverse ray cells. Softwoods lack vessel elements for water transport that hardwoods have; these vessels manifest in hardwoods as pores.

Which products contain softwood?

Softwood is usually easy to work with. Softwood forms the bulk of wood used by man. Softwood has a variety of uses. Softwood is often used as a prime material for structural building components. Softwood is also found in furniture and other products such as moldings, doors, and windows.

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