Wood: differences, types, hardness index and characteristics

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Wood, the prince of furniture

Wood is one of the most widely used materials: from the fixtures to the floors, from the furniture to the matchboarding and panels that cover the walls: wood  is definitely a valuable material, characterized by a great aestethic appeal. There are many types of essences and different wood types: the first significant difference is between natural wood, called solid wood, and wood produced in various processes, such as chipboard, laminate, plywood, MDF.

Hardness is also another important parameter used to measure wood resistance.

What is the hardness index of wood?

The hardness index of the wood verifies its resistance from wear and dent. It is measured by the hardness test of Janka,wich takes its name from its inventor, and it’s useful to determine whether a type of wood is suitable or not for flooring. The test is carried out by inserting a steel ball of about 1 mm in diameter inside the wood for half of its volume, measuring the force used for the operation. The directions of the wood grain allows to identify 2 types of hardness: lateral hardness studies wood perpendicular to its grain, while the terminal hardness studies the wood at the cut. The hardness index is used to distinguish soft wood from hard wood.

The softwood (also called sweet wood)

Softwood comes from conifers. These are essences with light colors and porous texture, easy to process and able to retain moisture. Softwood essences grow faster than hardwood and therefore have more regular grain. Soft wood is very popular and used in the construction industry for the production of boards and panels, but also for fixtures, windows and for the internal structures of furniture. Fir, pine and larch are the most used

The semi-hard woods

This category includes compact and resistant wood species such as chestnut, cherry, walnut, elm and beech, mainly used for the creation of furniture thanks to their flexibility.

The hardwoods

Hardwood is typical of exotic wood species, which grow in areas with greater drought and therefore have a more compact consistency. These are more expensive woods and they’re used mainly for flooring and outdoor environments but also as furniture coatings. The finest are ebony, teak and mahogany.

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