Is Apple Wood a Hardwood or Softwood? (Ultimate Guide!)

Ever wondered about the marvels of apple wood in your home? Let’s delve into its secrets!

Is Apple Wood A Hardwood

Apple wood is used for making tool handles, furniture, decorative items, and small woodworking projects. It is great for woodcarving projects.

When I worked with apple wood for the first time, I was curious about its hardness and conducted in-depth research to find details about its hardness.

Here’s what I’ve found about, Is apple wood a hardwood?

Yes, apple wood is a hardwood that comes from deciduous trees. Apple wood has a Janka hardness rating of 1,730 lbf (7,700 N) which is significantly harder, denser, and more durable than many other hardwood species. Apple wood is a hard, tough, and durable wood.

But that’s a quick snapshot and there’s a lot more to know about the hardness of apple wood.

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    In this article, I’ll explore is apple wood a hardwood, how hard apple wood is compared to other wood types, characteristics of apple wood with its pros and cons.

    Furthermore, I’ll answer some frequently asked questions as well.

    Just keep reading!

    Applewood furniture and woodwork
    Applewood furniture and woodwork

    First of all let’s have a quick look at what is apple wood.

    What is Apple Wood?

    Apple wood carries a streak of beautiful and distinct aesthetics that can easily become the centerpiece in any setting.

    When you gaze upon a piece crafted from apple wood, you might find it bearing a striking resemblance to cherry wood, with its uniform and consistent texture, adding an elegant touch to the final product.

    This hardwood has a way of quietly asserting its presence, don’t you think?

    Apple wood is like that trusty old friend who has your back, no matter what. With a whopping rating of 1730 lbf on the Janka hardness scale, this hardwood stands as a beacon of strength and resilience.

    Imagine having furniture that resists regular wear and tear remarkably, promising longevity and durability.

    Now you know what kind of wood is apple wood. Now let’s focus on the key area which is about its hardness.

    Did you know fact about apple wood
    Did you know fact about apple wood

    How Hard Is Apple?

    Apple wood is harder, denser, and tougher than most woods you’ve worked with. It is known as one of the hardest wood types on the planet.

    Having a strong and denser fiber structure with excellent dimensional stability is the reason for its great hardness.

    Apple wood has a Janka hardness rating of 1,730 lbf (7,700N) which is a stunning hardness value. It is harder than Ash, Honey Locust, Walnut, and Oak.

    Janka hardness rating is the standard method of measuring the hardness of wood according to its resistance against wear and shear.

    If a particular wood has excellent resistance against wear and shear, that means its Janka hardness rating is high.

    Tip for working with applewood
    Tip for working with applewood

    Because of being harder and denser with excellent durability, most woodworkers love to work with apple wood, especially when making furniture.

    You’ll be able to keep apple wood furniture for so long even with little maintenance because of its high density since having high hardness and density is so useful to get protected from environmental elements.

    But you’ll have to apply a proper sealant on apple wood furniture especially before keeping them outside since it doesn’t have good rot or confusing decay resistance.

    It doesn’t have a straight-grain structure like most hardwoods.

    Apple wood has a diffuse porous structure with very small porosity in its wood fibers. Having small porous is the main reason for having a high-density value.

    Being so hard and dense can be super annoying when working with apple wood since it is so hard to cut, drill or nail apple wood due to its high density.

    But it glues, turns, and finishes well.

    Apple wood is heavier than many softwoods and some hardwoods as well.

    Characteristic features of apple wood
    Characteristic features of apple wood

    Hardness of Apple wood Compared to Other Woods

    Apple wood has a Janka hardness rating of 1,730 lbf (7,700 N) which is super high.

    But you need to have a clear understating of how hard apple wood is especially compared to other woods. That’s why we drew a hardness comparison table as below.

    Wood SpeciesHardness value
    Brazilian Walnut3,684 lbf (16,390 N)
    Red Mahogany, Turpentine2,697 lbf (12,000 N)
    Brazilian Cherry, Jatoba2,350 lbf (10,500 N)
    Golden Teak2,330 lbf (10,400 N)
    Hickory, Pecan, Satinwood1,820 lbf (8,100 N)
    Apple wood1,730 lbf (7,700 N)
    Honey Locust1,580 lbf (7,030 N)
    Hard Maple, Sugar Maple1,450 lbf (6,400 N)
    White Oak1,360 lbf (6,000 N)
    Ash (White)1,320 lbf (5,900 N)
    American Beech1,300 lbf (5,800 N)
    Red Oak (Northern)1,290 lbf (5,700 N)
    Yellow Birch / Baltic birch1,260 lbf (5,600 N)
    Teak1,155 lbf (5,140 N)
    Black Walnut, North American Walnut1,010 lbf (4,500 N)
    Cherry995 lbf (4,430 N)
    Black Cherry, Imbuia950 lbf (4,200 N)
    Red Maple950 lbf (4,200 N)
    Larch830 lbf (3,690 N)
    Yellow Pine870 lbf (3,870 N)
    Douglas Fir710 lbf (3,158 N)
    Silver Maple700 lbf (3,100 N)
    Willow570 lbf (2,530 N)
    Hemlock540 lbf (2,402 N)
    Black Spruce520 lbf (2,313 N)
    Cypress510 lbf (2,269 N)
    Cottonwood430 lbf (1,913 N)
    Redwood420 lbf (1,868 N)
    Basswood410 lbf (1,823 N)
    Engelmann Spruce390 lbf (1,735 N)
    Sugar Pine380 lbf (1,690 N)
    White Pine380 lbf (1,690 N)
    Aspen350 lbf (1,557 N)
    White Cedar320 lbf (1,423 N)

    As you can see apple wood is significantly harder than many other kinds of wood.

    Therefore, you can use apple wood literally for any woodworking project without worrying about its durability.

    Apple wood patio furniture
    Apple wood patio furniture

    So, let’s discuss the characteristic features of apple wood according to its hardness.

    Apple Wood Characteristics

    Apple is an attractive wood with a light reddish or deep red color heartwood. The lighter and darker color streaks on apple wood add a unique appearance to your furniture.

    Applewood has a straight grain with uniform texture which is the same as in Cherry wood. The diffuse porous structure of apple wood is the main reason for its extreme hardness level since it has small vessels in uniform sizes.

    Even though apple wood is hardwood, you will need to apply a proper sealant before using furniture or woodwork.

    Under extreme weather conditions, apple wood furniture may rot and decay quite easily.

    Because of having high density with high hardness, apple wood is difficult to work with.

    Tip for working with apple wood
    Tip for working with apple wood

    Your woodworking hand tools should be well-sharpened before working with apple wood since screwing, drilling, nailing, and cutting apple wood is difficult due to their hardness.

    But having high density is great for wood carving since it won’t chip or tear away easily.

    You can use apple wood for both large and small wood carving projects and for woodturning.

    With regular use, woodworking tools can easily blunt or break due to their extreme fiber density.

    But finishing apple wood is super easy. You can glue, stain, seal, and finish apple wood quite easily.

    Apple wood has a density range of 657 kg/m3 to 833 kg/m3 which is significantly harder than most woods.

    Plus, apple wood has a characteristic odor that smells like an apple and can cause allergies for some people. But I find it satisfying and great for indoor furniture.

    Most importantly apple wood has high shrinkage which can be seen in winter.

    When the environmental humidity is lower than the humidity inside the wood, the moisture will evaporate from the wood and cause the wood to shrink.

    This can cause lots of issues in apple wood outdoor furniture which can lose its dimensional strengths due to wood mobility.

    You can minimize wood shrinkage by applying a proper sealant like lacquer to make a barrier between the inner wood and the outside air.

    Here’re the most significant qualities of apple wood,

    • Hardwood
    • High hardness
    • High durability
    • Attractive
    • Poor workability
    • Has a characteristic odor
    • Easy to finish
    • High shrinkage
    Uses of apple wood
    Uses of apple wood

    Properties of Apple Wood

    Here’re the main characteristic features of apple wood,

    ColorLight to deep reddish color
    Density657 kg/m3 to 833 kg/m3
    Hardness1,730 lbf (7,700 N)
    Wood TypeHardwood
    ApplicationsFurniture making, Tool handles, Wood carving

    So, let’s have a look at the advantages and disadvantages of apple wood in terms of its hardness.

    Pros And Cons of Apple Wood

    High durabilityExpensive
    Rot-resistant than other woodsDifficult to work with
    Pleasant smellHigh shrinkage
    Easy to seal and finishProne to insect attacks
    Great for carving and turning 
    Great for firewood 
    Attractive wood appearance 
    Food-safe and Non-toxic wood 

    As you can see apple wood is filled with lots of benefits. Its extra hardness is useful for making furniture and other woodwork with great stability.

    But applying a proper sealant is a must because it will easily decay under extreme moisture conditions.

    Apple wood floor
    Apple wood floor

    Let’s see some applications of apple wood.

    What Is Apple Wood Used For?

    Basically, apple wood can use for anything. It has excellent hardness, stability, density, and toughness to withstand well against any impact.

    Here are some popular applications of apple wood

    • Furniture making
    • Wood carvings
    • Wood turnings
    • Tool handles
    • Decorative items
    • Flooring
    • Cutting boards and butcher blocks

    As you can see apple wood can use literally for any woodworking and woodcarving project without worrying about its durability.

    With proper finishing, you can use apple wood furniture even for moist environments like making bathroom shelves and kitchen furniture.

    Apple wood carved spoon
    Apple wood carved spoon

    How Strong Is Apple Wood?

    Apple wood is one of the strongest hardwoods on the planet. Being so strong is useful to maintain wood structure without losing its dimensional stability even under stress.

    Therefore, you can use apple wood for applications that carry heavy loads such as bookshelves, beds, and floorings. Wood can bear load without breaking or cracking.

    The compressive strength and flexural strength of apple wood are quite high compared to other hardwoods.

    • The compressive strength of apple wood is 41.6 MPa
    • The bending strength of apple wood is 8.76 Gpa

    Because of having high bending strength, you can soften apple wood for bending using steam without breaking the wood.

    For example, Apple wood is stronger than Cherry, Basswood, Sycamore, Oak, and Poplar.

    You can make strong furniture using apple wood which will last forever with proper maintenance and finishing.

    Apple wood kitchen cabinet
    Apple wood kitchen cabinet

    Is Applewood Good For Woodworking?

    Apple wood is great for woodworking. It is hard, dense, strong, tough, and durable. Woodworks made with apple wood will easily last forever.

    The only issue with apple wood in woodworking is its extreme density which gives hard time when working with tools.

    Apple wood is difficult to cut and nail. Your woodworking tools need to be well-sharpened. They will be blunt quite easily.

    Therefore, apple wood is not the best wood for beginners in woodworking. But when it comes to industrial applications, applewood is a versatile wood type.

    Is Apple Wood Hard To Split?

    Yes, apple wood is hard to split because of its high density and hardness. But it is great for firewood for smoking heat.

    You need to have sharp tools when splitting apple wood since it is tougher than many other kinds of wood.

    Try to split applewood when they are green. Fresh applewood is tightly grained and the axe is able to pass through the wood quite easily.

    Congrats folks! Now you have a good knowledge about, is apple wood a hardwood considering its properties and uses.

    So, let’s answer some frequently asked questions as well.


    What is the hardness level of apple wood?

    Apple wood boasts a remarkable hardness level, registering at 1730 lbf on the Janka hardness scale, which signifies its excellent durability compared to many other hardwoods.

    What are the typical uses of apple wood in woodworking?

    Apple wood is a favorite for creating furniture pieces, carving artistic designs, crafting tool handles, and constructing decorative items, showcasing both functionality and aesthetic appeal.

    Is apple wood suitable for beginners in woodworking?

    Due to its dense structure and high hardness level, apple wood can be quite challenging to work with for beginners, demanding a certain level of skill and patience.

    Can apple wood be used in kitchen projects?

    Absolutely, apple wood is not only aesthetically pleasing but is also safe for food contact, making it a popular choice for kitchen items like cutting boards and utensils.

    Does apple wood require any special maintenance?

    While apple wood is naturally durable, it is recommended to apply sealants, especially for exterior use, to prevent issues like decay, mold growth, and infestation.

    How does apple wood fare in terms of cost compared to other hardwoods?

    Apple wood is generally less affordable compared to other hardwoods, attributed to its high quality and the various benefits it offers.

    Does apple wood have a distinct color?

    Yes, apple wood is renowned for its beautiful range of hues from light to deep reddish, offering a visually striking and unique aesthetic to any project.

    Did I cover all you wanted to know about: Is Apple A Hardwood?

    In this article, I have deeply discussed, whether is apple a hardwood, how hard apple wood is compared to other popular wood types, and the characteristic features of apple wood as a hardwood with pros and cons.

    Apple wood is a hardwood, distinguished by its high density and remarkable strength. It is renowned for its durability, making it a preferred choice for various woodworking and furniture-making projects.

    Furthermore, I’ve answered some frequently asked questions as well.

    Hope you have gained good knowledge regarding, is apple wood hardwood with all its qualities.

    Try to use apple wood for your next woodworking project and see how dense and hard it is. Happy woodworking!

    Walter Parker is a woodworking enthusiast. He is passionate about woodworking projects & plays with woodworking tools having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Woodworking Planet. He wants to make people love woodworking! Read More About Him! Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

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