TOP 7 HARDEST WOODS
1. Quebracho – From the Spanish “quebrar hacha,” which literally means
“axe breaker.” Aptly named, wood in the Schinopsis genus is among the
heaviest and hardest in the world.
2. Lignum Vitae -Widely accepted as the hardest wood in the world–this
wood has been listed as an endangered species and is listed in CITES.
Consider Verawood as a very close substitute.
3. Gidgee – This Australian endemic is both very heavy and very strong.
Some pieces are dark enough to be used as an ebony substitute: one that’s
even harder than the original article.
4. Snakewood – It’s easy to see what makes Snakewood so unique–its patterns
and markings resemble the skin of a snake. Limited supply and high demand
make this one of the most expensive woods on eart.
5. Verawood – Sometimes called Argentine Lignum Vitae, this wood is a gem:
inexpensive, great olive-green color, beautiful feathery grain pattern, and
it takes a great natural polish on the lathe.
6. Camelthorn – Formerly classified as a member of the Acacia genus, this
south African hardwood is a tough customer. The wood is stubbornly hard,
and the tree is protected by giant sharp thorns.
7. African Blackwood – In some parts of the world, this wood has achieved
an almost legendary status. Historical evidence points to this wood
(rather than Diospyros spp.) being the original “ebony.”
SOFTWOODS top 3
PINE: Pine is a softwood which grows in most areas of the Northern Hemisphere. There are more than 100 species worldwide.
Properties: Pine is a soft, white or pale yellow wood which is light weight, straight grained and lacks figure.It resists shrinking and swelling. Knotty pine is often used for decorative effect.
Uses: Pine is often used for country or provincial furniture. Pickled, whitened, painted and oil finishes are often used on this wood.
ASH: There are 16 species of ash which grow in the eastern United States. Of these, the white ash is the largest and most commercially important.
Properties: Ash is a hard, heavy, ring porous hardwood. It has a prominent grain that resembles oak, and a white to light brown colour. Ash can be differentiated from hickory (pecan) which it also resembles, by white dots in the darker summer wood which can be seen with the naked eye. Ash burls have a twisted, interwoven figure.
Uses: Ash is widely used for structural frames and steam bent furniture pieces. It is often less expensive than comparable hardwoods.
HICKORY: There are 15 species of hickory in the eastern United States, eight of which are commercially important.
Properties: Hickory is one of the heaviest and hardest woods available. Pecan is a species of hickory sometimes used in furniture. It has a close grain without much figure.
Uses: Wood from the hickory is used for structural parts, especially where strength and thinness are required. Decorative hickory veneers are also commonly used.