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Wood is a natural material and by its very nature may contain different characteristics and defects that need to be understood and allowed for in any given application. The grading of sawn wood into categories as it is processed helps to determine to a large extent the value.
The terms Softwood and Hardwood bear no relations to the physical hardness of timber. Simply they determine the type of tree; softwood being cone bearing, while hardwood is broad leaved.
Nothing compares with wood; it’s the oldest, most flexible material. It is also natures only natural renewable resource; wood versatility makes it ever present in our everyday lives.
There are tens of thousands of different species of trees & lots of trees providing food & medicines; this is aside from wood in all its forms, including pulp for paper and cardboard, Charcoal, Plywood, Chipboard and MDF.
Hardwoods are the timber of broad-leaved deciduous trees and range from extremely hard such as Ebony to the softer hardwoods such as tulipwood, durability varies greatly in hardwood.
While softwood trees may be ready to be felled after around 40 years of growth; hardwoods trees like Oak will need to mature and take around 100 years to mature before being felled.
Hardwood grows at a much slower rate of growth and this greatly contributes to the denser structure of hardwood. Hardwood fibrous components consist of long narrow cells with thick walls. These walls are impregnated with lignin, which remains after the cells have died and this helps keep the cell shape rigid.