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Types of wood: characteristics and classification

Wood is one of the first raw materials that were used by humans. Currently, wood is used for essential processes in our society such as construction material, cladding, furniture construction, carpentry, shoemaking, joinery or serving as fuel, but what is less known is that there are different types of wood that adapt to different types of uses. Therefore, in this AgroCorrn article we talk about the different types of wood, their characteristics and classification .

Wood and its types

Wood is a material that is extracted from the trunk existing under the bark of trees and shrubs that have a fibrillar structure. As we said, wood currently has various uses, but since the Paleolithic period, it was used for different uses such as the manufacture of weapons, but it was later when metal work began, when these possibilities of use increased. The process of obtaining the wood consists of a series of steps:

  1. Tree felling.
  2. Extract its bark and remove the branches.
  3. Cut up and chop the tree.
  4. Extract and dry the wood.

Different types of wood are differentiated (as there are also differences in the characteristics of the trees from which it is extracted), although the currently most used classification is the one that is made based on the hardness of the wood , which includes them in two large groups: softwoods and hardwoods .

This was already known also by our ancestors, who used hard woods for the manufacture of axes or skewers and soft woods for sticks or rods or, for example, less experienced carpenters, prefer to work with soft or soft woods, since they are easy to work with tools that are not too expensive and easy to get.

Examples and characteristics of softwoods

The kinds of woods classified as soft are generally derived from fast-growing or fast-growing trees , perennials, and conifers, such as pines, poplars, elms, cypresses, firs, or cedars. Soft woods are easy to work with and are ductile, however, soft woods should not be associated with brittle ones, as there are woods of this type that are very resistant.

They are woods that are light, cheap and easy to get. As disadvantages, they have less durability than hard, less aesthetic appeal than hard (they are usually treated with paint, varnish or stains) and in their treatment, they chip easily.

Some examples of softwoods are:

  • Pine: pine wood that is easy to work, cheap and has a uniform texture. It is commonly used carpentry, panels, furniture and moldings.
  • Cedar: reddish wood with a pleasant sweet smell. Widely used in drawers, roofs, tiles and in construction.
  • Fir: wood with characteristics similar to pine, light, high resistance to chemicals, good elasticity and without resins. Widely used in wall and ceiling coverings.

In the image below you can see photos of types of softwood in the same order in which we have mentioned them.

Examples and characteristics of hardwoods

They are usually more resistant woods than soft ones . They are also more expensive than soft ones (they are obtained from slower growing trees, so there is less supply) and difficult to work with, because their external appearance is more irregular and less smooth than soft ones.

They are widely used in construction and cabinetmaking, since with them it is possible to manufacture high quality furniture, they withstand the passage of time well, have greater hardness and are much more aesthetic than soft woods.

Here are some examples of hardwoods :

  • Mahogany: reddish wood, fine grain, resistant. Widely used in cabinetmaking for its quality. In addition to having high density and hardness, it is widely used in tropical and humid areas.
  • Oak: hard wood with great bending qualities. Widely used in parquet, floors or some types of furniture
  • Walnut : extremely hard, chocolate brown wood. Widely used for the manufacture of panels, some types of furniture, ornaments or turned elements.
  • Teak: hard wood highly resistant to humidity, deformation, cracks or the passage of time
  • Olive: thick and very resistant wood with yellowish, light or reddish colors
  • Cherry: in principle, it has pinkish brown colors, but it darkens over time until it reaches more reddish tones. It is more delicate than the previous ones.
  • Elm: wood with shades ranging from light brown to reddish and highly resistant to rot.
  • Ash : slightly pinkish or greyish cream colored wood.

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