Tuesday, November 16, 2010

All Those Leaves Aren’t from Softwood Trees

Softwoods come from coniferous trees — needle-bearing trees from the order Pinales known as evergreens, or gymnosperms. Rather than losing their leaves all at one time, they tend to shed their leaves, called needles, throughout the year. Thus, these trees are not creating the beautiful fall colors, nor the yet-to-be-raked yards buried in leaves.
Softwood-producing trees include yellow pine, white pine, spruce, cedar, fir, larch, Douglas fir, hemlock, cypress, redwood and yew. There are softwood coniferous forests scattered throughout the world.

The terms “hardwood” and “softwood” are mostly used to describe types of wood used in construction and furniture making. While these terms suggest that physical density determines which is which, that is not true. Both groups have a large variation in actual wood hardness, with the range in hardwood density similar to the range in softwoods. Some hardwoods, like balsa, are softer than most softwoods, while yew is an example of a hard softwood. Likewise, Douglas fir is one of the strongest woods, and it is a softwood. A tree’s lifecycle is actually most important in differentiating between hardwoods and softwoods.

Most things constructed of wood today are made from softwood, and softwoods are the primary wood used in framing wooden homes and buildings. Softwood is less expensive to use. It grows faster than hardwood and, since it can be replenished more quickly, it is thought to be a more environmentally friendly option. Of course, reclaimed softwoods are an even “greener” solution.

Manomin Reswawn Timbers offers reclaimed wood flooring in softwood as well as hardwoods like cherry, black walnut, oak and elm.

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