Wood Hardness

‘Hardwood’ vs ‘harder’ wood

These terms are two entirely different concepts.

Hardwood is a common term used by the timber industry to classify tree species. In everyday use, hardwood usually refers to a tree that drops its leaves in the winter. Learn more

Harder wood speak to the relative hardness of the wood. Generally, the harder the wood the less prone it is to wear and abrasion such as dings and scratches. Additionally, harder wood is generally very strong when compared to similarly dimensioned pieces of softer wood.

Wood Hardness Rating

In order to have a standard test to measure wood hardness, the Janka Hardness Rating was developed in accordance with ASTM D 1037-7 testing methods. The test measures the amount of force required to embed 1/2 of a steel ball’s diameter into a wood sample. In the US, this amount of force is usually reported in pounds-force.

Below are pound-fource values of the premium hardwoods that we use (Hard Maple, Red Oak, Walnut and Cherry) as well as some other North American woods that are often used for furniture.

Maple (Hard/Sugar) 1450
Oak (Northern Red) 1290
Walnut (Black, North American) 1010
Cherry (Black) 950

Maple (Soft) 950
Rubberwood (Hevea) 933
Maple (Pacific Coast/Bigleaf) 850
Southern Yellow Pine (Shortleaf) 690
Douglas Fir 660
Spruce Pine 660
Alder (Red) 590
Poplar (Yellow) 540

As you can see Dapwood Furniture uses hardwoods on the upper end of the Janka Hardness scale that will hold up to everyday (ab)use. Other manufacturers often use softer hardwoods or man-made materials that are much more prone to wear and tear.

Rest easy knowing that if a piece of Dapwood Furniture were to sustain some surface damage, it can be easily repaired since it is made from solid wood. Simply sand the area to ‘feather in’ the damaged area and reapply natural linseed oil.