Basic Technology

Wood, Hardwood and Softwood - Examples and Characteristics of Hardwood and Softwood

len Alfred Ajibola - 07th February, 2019 @ 11:58 AM

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The following are Types of Line in Technical Drawing EXCEPT _____.

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What is Wood?

Wood are derived from the stem, trunks and branches of trees.

A wood is an organic material and a structural tissue composed mainly of cellulose; and make up the stem, roots and branches of trees.

Please read on the Trees found in the Tropical Rainforest and Savannah.

The outermost skin or covering of the wood is called the bark. On peeling off the bark, next to be seen is the sapwood which contains the plant's transport system called the xylem. Also seen inside the sapwood is the heartwood, but here, the xylem is blocked with gums and does not function. The cambium is seen around the edge of the sapwood.

We have two types of wood. They are

  • Hardwood
  • Softwood

Note: Woods are porous and fibrous and the terms (hardwood and softwood) don't always refer to the wood's actual hardness or softness.



Hardwood - Len Academy

Hardwoods are derived from angiosperms with broad leaves.

Angiosperms are flowering plants that produce seeds encased in fruits or pods.

Please read more on Gymnosperms and Angiosperms here.

Most times, hardwood are stronger than softwood but there are exceptions. For instance, Balsa is a hardwood that is actually soft.

Characteristics of Hardwood

  1. They usually have a higher density than softwood. Balsa is an exception.
  2. They are usually more expensive than softwood.
  3. They grow at a slower rate than softwood.
  4. Hardwood trees shed their leaves in certain times of the year.
  5. Hardwood are more fire resistant than softwood.
  6. The leaves of hardwood trees are evergreen.
  7. They are used for making quality furniture (in terms of strength). They are also suitable for decking in buildings.
  8. Hardwood trees always have divided trunks which are sometimes referred to as a dendritic form.
  9. In terms of price, hardwood are usually more expensive than softwood
  10. .

Examples of hardwood include hickory, ash, beech, alder, teak, birch, mahogany, maple, oak, balsa and walnut.

You can attempt LEN ACADEMY Examination Questions for JSS2 Basic Technology here.



Softwoods are often derived from coniferous trees; that is, trees with needle-like leaves and whose seeds are covered in cones.

Coniferous trees are classified under gymnosperms.

Characteristics of Softwood

  1. Most softwood have a lower density than hardwood (weighs lower).
    Please read on Density and Specific Gravity here.
  2. In terms of price, they are often less expensive than hardwood.
  3. Their growth rate is faster than hardwood.
  4. Most do not shed their needle-like leaves during the year. The softwood larch and cypress are exceptions.
  5. They are less fire resistant.
  6. Their leaves are evergreen, just like hardwood.
  7. Softwood serve various purposes; For instance many doors, windows and papers are made from softwood.
  8. They normally have a single dominant trunk referred to as excurrent form.
  9. Softwood trees are usually tall and straight.
  10. Most are cheaper than hardwood.

Please read on the Characteristics of Ceramics here.

Examples of softwood include cedar, larch, juniper, yew, cypress, fir, pine, spruce, douglas fir and redwood.

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Alfred Ajibola is a Medical Biochemist, a passionate Academician with over 7 years of experience, a Versatile Writer, a Web Developer, a Cisco Certified Network Associate and a Cisco CyberOps Associate.

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