The terms “hardwood” and “softwood” are used to describe the types of wood used in furniture and construction industry. Even though both terms imply that the density plays an important role in deciding which is which, it is not only the density of the material that makes the difference. The life-cycle of the tree is the most important factor that helps people distinguish between hardwood and softwood.
Softwoods come from evergreen trees. They have leaves (needles) year round and instead of losing them at once, they shed it at regular intervals to support the cones. On the other hand, hardwood trees lose their leaves seasonally and produce seeds. One can find both hardwood and softwood forests all around the world. The farther you get from the equator, the higher the chance that you’ll see softwood trees. Trees such as cypress, fir, yew, redwood, larch, hemlock, fir and cedar are some of the most famous softwood trees. Hardwood trees include cherry, beech, maple and oak.
These days, a great majority of furniture is made of softwood. Softwood is generally more accessible and less expensive to buy, as it grows much faster than hardwood. Since this wood regenerates faster, it is also considered as one of the eco-friendly furniture options. Hardwood trees are known for its beautiful grains. People can make high-quality furniture and floors with proper finishing using hardwood. This is why our furniture kits are made of hardwoods.
A common belief among people is that hardwood is harder and denser than softwoods. However, this is not true. The balsa wood is very lightweight and is used especially for that purpose, but is actually considered as a hardwood.
An important factor that decides the quality of the wood is its life-cycle, that is, the time a tree will be ready to cut to make furniture. One of the advantages of softwood is that it will be ready to cut within 30 years. Hardwood trees may take about one hundred years to reach their maturity. This is one of the reasons hardwood furniture is more expensive than softwood furniture.
Another factor that decides the price is how difficult or easy to work on the material. In fact, the hardest wood requires more effort. This difference is already noticeable between the two wood options we make our furniture kits in: cherry wood takes more time and skill than oak wood.
Because hardwoods are harder to handle, they also tend to scratch a little less. Softwoods aren’t a bad choice for furniture, but if you want furniture kits that will last you decades, hardwoods should be your preferred material.