Don’t get lost in the large selection of timber available for your home projects. Australian timbers are very versatile and most can be used for a wide variety of applications.
Deciding between a hardwood or a softwood for a project is often a matter of taste but durability and functionality must also be taken into consideration.
The Difference Between Hardwoods and Softwoods
Trees are judged not by the softness or hardness of their wood, but by the shape of their water conducting cells and the seed’s structure when they reproduce.
Generally, hardwoods come from deciduous trees that grow slowly and produce a denser wood, while softwoods come from conifers that are faster growers and produce less dense wood.
Balsa, a known ‘softer’ wood is actually a hardwood and the wood of the yew tree is harder than some hardwoods, but it is actually a softwood. These are the exceptions though, and generally, conifer producing evergreens are easier to cut and flowering deciduous trees are harder to cut and more durable.
Softwoods have a yellow or red tint so keep this in mind if you are staining them for a home project. Hardwoods are usually white or brown and sometimes a dark shade of red.
Popular Woods for DIY Projects
Hardwood timbers such as ash, merbau / kwila, ironbark, blackbutt, spotted gum and eucalyptus are great choices for small home projects.
Spotted gum makes wonderful outdoor furniture pieces or it works just as well with a smaller projects such as a picture frames. Slabs of spotted gum make lovely benchtops and add an artistic element to any room.
Blackbutt makes an excellent choice for indoor floating shelves, and it looks especially lovely with a natural edge.
Ironbark or eucalyptus hardwoods look stunning as a small coffee table or side table.
Softwoods, which includes most pines, are economical and easy to work with and are wonderful choices for many small home projects. If you are considering building a small fence, deck, or arbor, native and non-native pines are a great timber for these jobs.
If your project has stalled or you are starting a new DIY project, contact the friendly people at Narangba Timbers to guide you and help with timber selection. We want you to be thrilled with the look of your finished project!