The biggest difference between hardwood and softwood slabs is that softwood slabs come from conifer trees, whereas hardwoods come from deciduous, flowering, fruit, or nut-producing trees. They are used for many different things in construction, furniture-making, and more. In this guide, we’ll dive into some of the common applications and pros and cons of each.

What Slab Species Are Hardwood?

Almost all of our species of slabs are hardwood. On a microscopic level, hardwood slabs have pores that allow the tree to transport water throughout the wood to keep the tree alive and healthy. Because of this, hardwoods have a more prominent grain pattern than softwoods. Species of hardwoods include:

What Slab Species Are Softwood?

Softwood isn’t slabbed as frequently as hardwood, but can be. It’s typically cheaper and most people prefer the more defined grain patterns of hardwoods. Softwoods tend to have lighter grains since they have no visual pores. Examples of softwood slabs include:

  • Cedar
  • Fir
  • Larch
  • Pine
  • Juniper
  • Redwood
  • Spruce
  • Yew

The biggest differences in Softwood and Hardwood

There are many differences and similarities between softwood and hardwoods.

Similarities are:

  • Both can be slabbed
  • Both are heavy and hard
  • Both are valuable to sell as timber, but for different applications

Differences are:

  • Hardwoods is more expensive
  • Hardwood is typically higher in density, but not always
  • Hardwood has a slower growth rate than softwood
  • Softwood keeps needles in the wintertime and hardwoods shed their leaves in autumn and winter
  • Softwood doesn’t have visible pores and hardwood does
  • Hardwoods come from flowering trees that produce nuts, fruits, etc
  • Softwood accounts for 80% or more of the timber used, though for live edge slabs this is not necessarily true

How Each Is Used

Both hardwoods and softwoods are used for many things, including live edge furniture and tables. Hardwoods as a broad category tend to be more dense than softwoods. Although this isn’t always the case, most of the time it is. For this reason, hardwoods are typically used for areas of heavy wear and tear such as flooring, furniture, decks, and more.

Softwoods tend to be used for more rough construction. This includes framing for house, including studs, beams, and joists. It’s also used for engineered products like plywood, osb board, and more.

Both hardwood and softwoods can be slabbed, and both are known for making great furniture, however, the vast majority of consumers prefer having hardwoods for their tables as it is known for being more durable and having a more eye catching grain pattern.

Go-To Supplier For Hardwood & Softwood Slabs

Lancaster Live Edge specializes in kiln dried live edge slabs from a variety of hardwoods and softwoods. If you’re interested in shopping for live edge wood, simply click the button below to see what we have in stock!

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