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:
- Box Elder
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:
The biggest differences in Softwood and Hardwood
There are many differences and similarities between softwood and hardwoods.
- Both can be slabbed
- Both are heavy and hard
- Both are valuable to sell as timber, but for different applications
- 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!
Nolan is one of the original members of the team at Lancaster Live Edge. Formerly, Nolan was the Marketing and Sales Manager at our company, and he also spent several hours a day building tables and custom furniture in our shop. Now, Nolan helps with our marketing initiatives. Prior to his time at Lancaster Live Edge, Nolan worked for years for his family’s custom home building company and has built everything from custom furniture to cabins to home additions.