What is softwood? Mr Beam explains it

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Wood is divided into two main categories: soft and hardwood, which in turn influences the use. Read everything worth knowing about soft wood: what exactly is it? Which trees are softwood, what are typical properties, and what can it be used for? What types of soft wood are there, and what is the difference to hardwood?

What is softwood?

As a natural material, wood has specific properties that divided into soft and hard wood. The kiln density plays a role here. It describes the weight of the completely dry wood:

  • Hardwood: kiln density over 0.55 grams per cubic centimetre
  • Softwood: kiln density below 0.55 grams per cubic centimetre

In short, the kiln density describes the raw density of the raw material at 0 % moisture. Depending on the type of wood it can fluctuate considerably and depends on various aspects, for example:

  • region
  • Soil
  • Location and growth conditions of the tree
  • Seasons in which you hit the wood

A certain type of wood can be harder on average in particularly short vegetation periods. You cannot buy it completely dried there Wood always absorbs moisture from the environment. So it only enables the kiln density to be able to compare the types of wood essentially. A reliable value is offered if the rest of the water is reduced to zero.

Which trees are softwood?

Softwood pine

There are almost 700 different conifers worldwide, while the number of deciduous trees is much higher. Many fall into the Category of soft wood, for example:

  • poplar
  • White fir
  • Spruce
  • Jaw
  • pasture
  • Douglas fir
  • alder
  • Linden
  • larch
  • Pine
  • Trembling
  • Balsa

Types of soft wood make up more than 75 percent of the global wood.

What are the properties of soft wood?

Softwood spruce

With the label "Softwood" it is about low weight, which is advantageous, for example, when building. In forestry, the fast drying time and the resulting quick processing option is estimated. Nobility, which is almost always cheaper than hardwood, also has a resin content. As a result, it is partially protected from moisture and can therefore also be used for the outdoor area. For example, pine wood is considerably weatherproof than beech wood, which is only suitable for the interior. Typical properties are:

  • Low weight
  • Long lifetime
  • Fast growing
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
  • Good adaptability to the temperature and moisture
  • Comparatively cheap
  • Easy processing

What types of soft wood are there?

In the past, it was often said that softwood and hardwood conifers are hardwood. But show different examples that this cannot be divided so flat. For example, the wood of the poplar is particularly soft, although this is a deciduous tree. The pasture, alder or linden are also not hardwoods. For example, the black pine is an exception to the softwood trees. They multiply through the formation of cones. The wind is transferred to other trees by the wind. They grow faster than most deciduous woods, but mostly have a lower density. So they are easier to cut. Slowly growing trees generally have a higher raw density than rapidly growing wood. Leaf trees lose their leaves every year, while conifers usually remain evergreen.

What is the difference between hardwood and softwood?

As a limit between the Hard and soft wood types apply 550 kilograms per cubic meter of wood. Trees from which soft wood is obtained are usually rapidly growing while Hardwood, like the oak or beech, characterized by slow growth. It is also more expensive and fire -proof. Soft wood has a lower density compared to hardwood. So the heating value is lower. Hard wood is ideal when the storage capacities are limited. It is mainly used indoors and is more diverse in use. Due to the kiln density, it is harder, resilient, more resistant and less sensitive.

What distinguishes softwood?

Most of the Mobbing wood, such as fir, spruce and pine, are soft wood. They are softer, lighter and cheaper than deciduous woods, grow faster and are not so resistant to bumps and scratches.

What can soft wood types be used for?

Softwood poplar plywood

What is softwood? This question has been clarified. But what are the uses? wood has always been an important material. But no matter whether as a timber, for the Furniture Or outdoors, different projects require different types of wood. The soft woods are used, for example, in furniture construction. In relation to the weight, the calorific value is considerably higher than with hardwood, so that pressed chips in the form of pellets have a better calorific value. Soft wood types are perfect to ignite the fire in the fireplace or oven and quickly ensure cosy warmth in the room. In hardware stores Softwood offered in different variants, for example in the shape of slats, plates, floorboards and ceiling panels. You can simply paint and glade them and treat the surface with colour, oil or wax. With the Mr Beam Laser cutter Can you engrave most types of softwood and partially cut, for example:

  • Laserable plywood
  • Poplar plywood up to 4 mm
  • Birch plywood up to 3mm
  • Balsa wood up to 4mm
  • Swiss stone pine up to 3mm


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Examples of the use of different soft woods

Softwood parquet pine

Soft wood furniture is often used when setting up the interior and are often decorated with beautiful carvings. Pine wood is ideal for furniture, parquet and veneers, for example. Softwood is processed into the most beautiful pieces of furniture. Among other things, the rustic house style can be wonderfully realized.

The larch is the third most important needle tree in Germany and the wood popular in the area of ​​construction industry. For example, it is often used for roof shingles. The wood of the fir is used for the production of paper and cellulose as well as building and furniture wood used, for example, for cladding. With paper production, the advantage comes into play that the fine fibres quickly swell and can be optimally combined with thin paper varieties.

The poplar is mainly used for the bank attachment and civilization. Economically, it can mainly be used as firewood. The weather -resistant wood of the Douglas fir is very well suited as a timber And ideal, for example, for wall cladding and floors.

 Lasered softwood

The wood of the balsa tree grown in the tropics is with a kiln density of 100 to 200 kilograms per cubic meter softest, lightest and densest wood And can be used very well for handicrafts. It is also ideal for model making, for example flight and ship models. The balsa wood can also be done very well with that Mr Beam to edit.

Conclusion for softwood

What is softwood? This question is easy to answer: the types of wood is classified based on the kiln density. It is less than 0.55 grams per cubic centimetre, it is soft wood. Which category the type of wood is assigned depends on the properties. In principle, numerous deciduous trees in particular have a high kiln density and thus belong to the hardwood, while many conifers fall into the softwood category. It is considered particularly light in terms of weight and can be used in many ways. This type of wood is easy to form and flexible, so that it is often used as a building wood. In furniture construction, the wood of the pine or spruce are mainly used, while the birch is very suitable in forestry.

You have our Material guide to like? Regardless of whether Laser wood or Cut the felt, we now have many different articles on laser materials. Give yourself an overview of the Leather species or find out about cork.

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