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Hi Jeremy,

Just thought I would send you some photos of the finished curved floor/wall that you supplied the timber for.


Looks great and everyone commentson it.

Thanks for your help with the timber selection.

Woodstock Timbers Testimonials

Choosing Between Hardwood and Softwood

22 Mar. 2013

When buying timber, the most basic choice is between hardwoods from deciduous trees, and softwood from coniferous trees. Hardwoods are further classified by their pore openings - "closed grained" woods have very small pores, and "ring porous" species have larger pores. Examples of closed grained hardwoods include maple, alder and Italian walnut; ring porous hardwoods include oak, ash and elm. Around 200 species of hardwood are commonly used in woodworking. Softwoods all fall within the closed grained category; commonly used varieties include cedar, spruce, pine and fir.

Although around 80% of the world's timber comes from softwood trees (due to its abundance, relatively rapid growth and cheaper cost), the actual number of different softwood species used is far fewer than with hardwoods. Perhaps confusingly, softwoods are not necessarily softer than hardwoods. Balsa wood, one of the most lightweight and soft woods, is in fact a hardwood. Conversely, southern yellow pine is very hard - far harder than many common hardwoods. However, the hardest hardwood is far harder than the hardest softwood, and most hardwood timber is structurally very dense.

Hardwoods and softwoods are generally put to different uses. Hardwood timber is usually used for making high-quality furniture and parquet flooring, boat-building and musical instruments, due to its density. Ring porous hardwoods such as oak are used to make crates, barrels and pallets, as well as furniture and cabinetry; closed grained hardwoods, some of which have a fine, almost satiny finish, are ideal for bench-tops, tables and other high-quality items.

Softwood is used for lower-cost furniture and parquet flooring, as well as in the construction of buildings such as garden sheds and outhouses, and hundreds of other applications. As well as being (generally, although not necessarily) more durable, more expensive and harder to work with, hardwood is much more varied in appearance than softwood.

Hardwood can vary from light, almost white varieties, through yellow, red, brown to extremely dark, such as mahogany or ebony. Softwood does not display such diverse colours - pale beige, yellow or whitish is the usual range.

As with all consumer items, finding a good, reliable source for your timber needs is of the utmost importance. DIY and garden centres are a good place to begin the search - and remember to ask staff if you have any questions, as most employees of such facilities should have a reasonable working knowledge of the different types of wood and their uses.

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