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What Are the Differences Between Hardwood and Softwood?

While many people appreciate wooden elements in design today, they seem to have lost touch with the source of the material: trees. Many are unaware of the different types of trees that can be used to make excellent millwork material. Here are some of the basics by distinguishing between hardwood and softwood, which are the two most prevalent kinds of wood.


Unlike the name suggests, hardwood doesn’t actually refer to wood that is harder than softwood. Rather, hardwood trees are angiosperms or flowering trees with broad leaves. Maple, Oak, Cherry, and Walnut are a few examples.

In spite of being technically a hardwood, Balsa is way softer than the majority of softwoods. On the other hand, Yew is a softwood, but harder even than many hardwood species.

However, it is true that hardwood generally lasts longer, making it an ideal choice for architectural millwork. They require less upkeep and are less prone to decay or other kinds of deterioration. Hardwoods appear to be more aesthetically pleasing due to their unique grain patterns too.


Softwood trees are gymnosperms, and it might be helpful just to think of softwoods as evergreen trees with scale or needle-like leaves. But the list does not end there. Cedar, Fir, Hemlock, and Spruce are a few more examples.

Softwoods are cheaper than hardwoods, and have a few added benefits of their own, like being easier to bend and cut. They have a lower density compared to hardwoods, which makes them ideal for commercial millwork for ceilings and furniture.

When faced with a decision between softwood and hardwood, things aren’t always black and white. UJ Ramelson is dedicated to providing the best quality products and service to all of our customers. Our wood carving, jewelry, and other craftsman tools are hand forged, heat treated, and tempered by our own experts. Contact us to learn more about the products we offer and how we can help on your next project.