We have many choices when deciding on the kind of wood we feel would be the best for our design project. It is important to take into consideration the wood species' sustainability, durability, and eco-friendliness. We want to make sure that we have wood that will be able to withstand the test of time. One area of choosing a wood species that you want to focus on is the level of hardness that the wood exudes.
There are different variables of hardness based on the unique cellular structure of the wood. Hardwoods typically consist of deciduous trees that bear fruit and nuts. Found throughout the forests of North America, you can classify oak, cherry, walnut, maple, and beech as part of the hardwood family. Softwoods are typically found with needles instead of leaves. Softwood trees consist of cedar, pine, spruce, and fir, which are all conifers. Hardwoods suggest, based on their title, that their wood would be more durable softwood. Their hardness is not consistent and may not work for the type of project you are interested in. The Janka Rating System ranks the hardness of the species which would be very helpful to research before deciding on a certain type of wood.
If you are looking for a custom table for your home or for a business like a hotel or a restaurant, you would want to consider purchasing white oak, maple, ash, hard maple, or hickory. Aspen, for example, creates a beautiful pattern but would not be able to hold up over a long period of time. It is more likely to dent, split, or bow.
Another category of wood that can be considered for some projects is tropical hardwood. These woods are typically brought in from other countries and can include teak, mahogany, or wenge. Once again, even though these species are considered hardwoods, it does not mean they can be suitable for all applications. Look at bamboo as an example. Bamboo is considered a hardwood but is more grass-like than hardwood. If you wanted to have bamboo flooring you would need to glue the grass together and only lasts around 30 years. Bamboo is also not healthy for the planet because of that carbon footprint that is lowered.
Most companies in the United States will promote and sell only North American hardwoods. Hardwoods cost more than softwoods, but they stand up the pressure much better. The use of hardwood also ensures that the carbon footprint will be lowered which is better for the environment. The problem with imported species is that many don't adhere to the quality standards that the United States has in place.
Hardwoods are also often used instead of laminates or veneers because of some of the unhealthy chemicals that can be released in the air and their lack of durability. Reclaimed wood is a more difficult product to find, but its durability and environmental safety is another option that customers appreciate. Whatever project you have in mind, rest assured that many hardwood species will deliver the kind of product you can be proud of and know that you are taking care of the environment in the process.