The hardness or softness of woods is something most woodworkers need to know at some time or another. Thankfully the flooring industry (where hardness is crucial) has taken the time to test and rate most of the woods available around the world for their hardness.

As a woodworker, sometimes I am involved in building a particular project and would like to know the hardness of different woods I may be contemplating. For example, anyone who make musical instruments like guitars, banjos or Ukeleles, need to know the hardness of woods for the necks of these instruments as well as the finger boards.

In making guitars and banjos the necks can be made of many different materials ranging from mahoganies to hard maples but in most cases the finger boards are made of Rosewood. Knowing the hardness of these woods can help the woodworker select other woods that may also be suitable for the job. Or if you are looking for something that needs be hard wearing or soft wearing, it's sometimes necessary to know the hardness. If you are one of those woodworkers how likes to make their own wooden hinges and clasps for a project, harder woods are needed.

Carvers on the other hand are often looking for woods that are softer for carving. Knowing what woods are softer can help them determine what woods they might want to carve. Not every carver wants to carve the softest woods, sometimes picking a particular wood is a necesseity depending on what a client might want, so READ MORE to see the actual hardness scales of some selected woods. If you need more, please search for the Janka Hardness Scale.

Lignum vitae / Guayacan / Pockenholz 4500 
   Ipê / "Brazilian Walnut"
  3684
  Ebony
 3220
  Red Mahogany, Turpentine
 2697
  Mesquite   2345
 Bubinga, Cameron
 1980
  Purpleheart
 1860
  Hickory / Pecan, Satinwood  
 1820
  Rosewood
 1780
 African Padauk
 1725
  Black Locust
 1700
  Wenge, Red Pine
 1630
  Zebrawood  
 1575
  Hard Maple / Sugar Maple
 1450
  Natural Bamboo
 1380
 White Oak
 1360
  Ash (White)
 1320
  American Beech
 1300
   Red Oak (Northern)     
 1290
  Yellow Birch, Iroko Kambala
 1260
  Larch
 1200
 Teak
 1155
  Cocobolo   1136
  Black Walnut/North American Walnut
 1010
  Black Cherry, Paper Birch    910 
  Cedar
 900
  Lacewood, Leopardwood
 840
  African Mahogany
 830
 Mahogany, Honduran Mahogany    
 800
 Sycamore
 770
 Southern Yellow Pine
690
  Douglas Fir   660
  Alder (Red)
 590
   Larch
 590
Chestnut   540
 Hemlock   500
  White Pine   420 
Basswood
 410
 Eastern White Pine
 380
 Balsa
 100
   

Copyright - Colin Knecht
woodworkweb.com

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