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It may come as a surprise, but hardwoods and softwoods don't necessarily refer to the physical durability of the end product... In fact, you have to look far deeper to discover the true distinctions.

Woodshop Direct will guide you through everything you need to know about hardwoods and softwoods, why they're different, what each wood is suitable for and more...

How Can You Define Hardwoods & Softwoods?


Hardwoods come from non-monocot, angiosperm trees - also known as flowering plants that usually have seeds encased within a fruit. The trees that hardwoods are derived from are slow growing and typically feature broad leaves with vessels that circulate water within the wood. When observed under a microscope the vessels resemble pores.


Obtained from fast growing gymnosperm trees (which typically have needles and cones), Softwood trees produce sap, in part, due to their specific cellular transportation process. When viewed under the microscope, the water transporting cells called tracheids appear with no observable perforation or pores. 

What Are The Uses?


The main benefit of using hardwood is its durability. It's the long-lasting qualities and aesthetic value that make this type of timber perfect for heavy duty construction purposes, top end furniture, premium range flooring and staircases.

Due to the density of hardwood, it requires very little maintenance, treatment and cleaning - all you need to do is sand away any imperfections and re-varnish to bring old hardwoods back to life.


Over three quarters of all timber around the world is sourced from softwood trees. Softwoods are used for a wide range of construction purposes including; windows and door furniture and other types of joinery where the physical beauty of the wood isn't an important factor.

Although softwoods are typically less durable, when treated and maintained correctly the hardness can almost rival that of hardwoods.

Softwood is also far less expensive than its hardwood counterparts.

Need Help Choosing The Right Wood For Your Next Project?

Hopefully you're feeling more confident about which type of timber you need for your next masterpiece. But if you still need some advice, get in touch and we'll be able to help you out. Make sure you follow us on Woodshop Direct's Facebook page where you'll find all our latest news, DIY inspiration, blogs and more...

Post By Ed Mason