Is Pine A Hardwood? (How hard is Pine?)

is pine a hardwood

Pine is one of the most popular woods in the woodworking world and can use pretty much for any woodworking project. It is lightweight and made with excellent strength. When I was starting to work with Pine wood, I was curious about its hardness to use for some hardwood projects. I have researched a lot about that and let’s see Is Pine a hardwood?

Pine is not hardwood. Pine is a softwood with a hardness rating of 380 lbf (1,690 N) which is relatively softer than most woods. Yellow Pine is harder than White Pine. Pinewood comes from evergreen coniferous trees like other softwoods. Pine is soft and easy to work with.

But there’s a lot more to know about the hardness of Pinewood.

In this article, we’ll widely discuss is Pine a hardwood, how hard is Pine, is Pine better than hardwoods, and Pine wood characteristics with pros and cons as well.

Furthermore, I’ll answer some frequently asked questions about the hardness of Pine as well.

Let’s jump in!

How Hard Is Pine?

Pine is very softwood compared to many hardwoods and most softwoods as well. It comes from an evergreen coniferous like Cedar, Douglas fir, and Spruce. Because of being extremely soft, Pine wood is easy to work with.

The hardness of a particular wood can be tested by a standard method called the Janka hardness test.

Janka hardness test is calculated by considering the ear and doesn’t resistance of a particular wood. if any wood has high wear and tear resistance, that means its Janka hardness rating is high.

There’re three main species of Pinewood that we use in our regular woodworking projects. According to the Janka hardness ratings the harnesses of Pine wood species are as follows,

  • Sugar Pine Janka hardness rating is 380 lbf (1,690 N)
  • White Pine Janka hardness rating is 380 lbf (1,690 N)
  • Yellow Pine Janka hardness rating is 870 lbf (3,870 N)

As you can see according to the Janka hardness test values, Yellow Pine is significantly harder than White Pine and Sugar Pine. Because of having a higher hardness, Yellow Pine can be used for tougher and denser woodworking projects.

There is no visible pore structure in Pinewood as hardwoods because of having tracheid cells. It has light grain like other softwoods.

Even though Pine wood is significantly soft and less dense, it has good dimensional stability. working with Pine wood is easy. Pine wood is easy to carve without chipping wood. making woodcuts is easy as butter.

So, let’s have a look at the hardness of Pine compared to other popular wood types.

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)
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)
Yellow Pine870 lbf (3,870 N)
Douglas Fir710 lbf (3,158 N)
Silver Maple700 lbf (3,100 N)
Hemlock540 lbf (2,402 N)
Black Spruce520 lbf (2,313 N)
Cypress510 lbf (2,269 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 Pine wood is significantly softer than most other woods. But it is harder than White Cedar and Aspen.

Because of having less hardness, Pine wood has good machinability and excellent wood for beginners in woodworking.

Is Pine Better Than Hardwood?

Pine is better than hardwood not in hardness but its high workability, lightweight, and high strength. It has a high strength-to-weight ratio compared to hardwoods.

Most of the top-quality furniture is made of hardwoods. But Pine can be also considered a quality wood because of its wide range of applications such as doors, furniture, cabinets, and other interior and exterior woodworks.

Pinewood is better than hardwoods in terms of its cost. Pine wood is cheaper and has high availability than many hardwood species.

Hardwoods are better than Pine in terms of density and toughness. Pine wood cannot be used for woodworking projects that need to withstand force because of having poor hardness and density.

In a summary here’re the main differences between Pinewood and regular hardwoods,

PineHardwoods
AffordableExpensive
Easy to work withComparatively difficult to work
Easy to cut and carveDifficult to cut and carve
Less densityHigh density
No fire resistanceHigh fire resistance
LightweightHeavy

As you can see Pine wood is almost better than most hardwoods. This is why it has become one of the best woods among woodworkers.

Pine Wood Characteristics

Pine wood is a light-color softwood with a color range from light brown to reddish brown. The color of Pinewood tends to get darkened with age due to sunlight and other environmental impacts.

Pinewood has a straight grain medium texture. Because of having a straight grain Pine wood is easy to cut like butter without chipping or splintering the wood. This is why carving Pine wood is so much easy.

Pinewood takes stain and paints evenly because of not have a visible porous structure. Therefore, Pine wood is easy to stain and finish. Even though it is considered softwood, with proper finish, Pinewood furniture can be used as outdoor furniture.

The workability of Pine wood is high. Therefore, even a beginner in woodworking is able to practice and sharpen woodworking knowledge with Pinewood. Cutting, drilling, and sawing are easy with regular woodworking hand tools.

Pine wood has a harsh characteristic odor, and it has poor moisture resistance. It rots and decays quickly. Therefore, proper finishing is a must for all Pine woodworking projects.

Here’re some most significant qualities of Pine,

  • Softwood
  • High workability
  • No decay or rot resistance
  • Straight grain structure
  • Easy to stain and finish
  • Easy to glue

Here’re the main characteristic features of Pine wood.

ColorLight brown to reddish brown
Density0.35 kg/m3 White Pine
0.59 kg/m3 Yellow Pine
Wood TypeSoftwood
HardnessWhite Pine 380 lbf
Yellow Pine 870 lbf
StiffnessWhite Pine 1.24 Mpsi
Yellow Pine 1.98 Mpsi
ApplicationsBed frames, doors, cabinets, indoor and outdoor furniture

So, let’s find out the advantages and disadvantages of Pine according to the hardness factor.

Pros and Cons of Pine Wood

ProsCons
SoftwoodDistinct odor
High workabilityPoor rot resistance
Easy to carvePoor decay resistance
High durabilityDent and scratch easily
High strengthTear up easily
Affordable 
Easy to stain and finish 
Lightweight 
Dimensional stability 
Attractive 

As you can see Pine wood is filled with lots of advantages. Most of the disadvantages of Pinewood can be easily fixed with proper finishing and regular maintenance.

What Is Pine Used For?

Since Pine wood is softwood with high workability, it can use pretty much for any woodworking project. The woodworking tools need to be well sharpened to avoid Pine wood from chipping away.

Here’re some common uses of Pinewood,

  • Indoor and outdoor furniture
  • Doors
  • Window frames
  • Flooring
  • Roofing
  • Birdhouses
  • Fences
  • Cabinets
  • Plywood
  • Boxes and crates
  • Decks

How Strong Is Pinewood?

Pine wood is stronger than most softwoods. But it is weak compared to most hardwoods because of being soft and less dense. Because of having excellent strength compared to other softwoods, Pinewood has high durability.

The compressive strength and bending strength of Pinewood are significantly higher than most of the softwoods and some of the hardwoods as well.

The compressive strength and bending strengths of Pinewood species are as follows,

Pine SpeciesCompressive StrengthBending Strength
Yellow Pine8,470 psi14,500 psi
White Pine4,800 psi8,600 psi
Sugar Pine4,460 psi8,200 psi
Ponderosa Pine5,320 psi9,400 psi

As you can see Pine wood has some excellent strengths. Yellow Pine is stronger and denser than White Pine. Therefore, it is useful for woodworking projects that need high tolerance.

When compared with other types of wood, Pine wood is stronger than Redwood, Hemlock, Spruce, Cypress, and Cedar.

Because of having high strength, Pine wood has good dimensional stability and is able to live over decades with proper maintenance. Plus, it’s excellent for both indoor and outdoor projects.

Now you have a clear idea bout Pine hardwood and how can we gain get maximum benefits out of its excellent features.

So, let’s answer some frequently asked questions about the hardness of Pine compared to other popular wood types.

Is Pine Wood Harder Than Poplar?

Yellow Pine is harder than poplar, but Sugar Pine and White Pine are softer than poplar. Even though poplar is considered a hardwood species, it has almost the same hardness as Pinewood. Therefore, poplar wood is easily replaceable by Pinewood In terms of its hardness.

According to the Janka hardness ratings, the hardness of Pine and poplar is as follows,

Wood TypeHardness
Poplar540 lbf
Yellow Pine870 lbf
White Pine380 lbf
Sugar Pine380 lbf

As you can see Yellow Pine is significantly harder and denser than poplar which is excellent to use as a poplar alternative.

Is Pine Wood Harder Than Cedar?

Pine is harder than cedar. Both western red cedar and white cedar are softer than all species of Pine wood. Both species belong to softwoods.  Pinewood is durable and has better environmental tolerance than cedar because of its high density and hardness.

According to the Janka hardness ratings, the hardness of Pine and cedar is as follows,

Wood TypeHardness
Red Cedar350 lbf
White Cedar320 lbf
Yellow Pine870 lbf
White Pine380 lbf
Sugar Pine380 lbf

Yellow Pine is significantly harder and denser than cedar. Therefore, cedar wood is easily replaceable with Pinewood in terms of its hardness.

Is Pine Wood Harder Than Oak?

Oak is significantly harder and denser than Pinewood. Oak is a hardwood with extremely high strength and durability. Pine wood is no way near to oak wood in terms of hardness. Oak wood can be used for construction woodworking projects, not like Pinewood.

According to the Janka hardness ratings, the hardness of Pine and oak is as follows,

Wood TypeHardness
Red Oak1,290 lbf
White Oak1,360 lbf
Yellow Pine870 lbf
White Pine380 lbf
Sugar Pine380 lbf

As you can see, both red oak and white oak are nearly two times harder than all the Pinewood species.

Is Pine Wood Harder Than Fir?

Yellow Pine is harder than Fir, but White Pine and Sugar Pine are weaker than fir.  Fir is an excellent wood for almost any woodworking project. Douglas fir is softwood with almost similar properties to Pinewood. It works well, stains well, and is easy to use.

According to the Janka hardness ratings, the hardness of Pine and fir is as follows,

Wood TypeHardness
Fir710 lbf
Yellow Pine870 lbf
White Pine380 lbf
Sugar Pine380 lbf

Did I cover all you wanted to know about: Is Pine a Hardwood?

In this article, we have deeply discussed about is Pine a hardwood, how hard Pinewood is, and Pine wood characteristics with pros and cons.

Pine is hardwood because it comes from an evergreen coniferous tree. Because of being soft, it is easy to cut, drill, and saw. Woodworking and carving Pinewood is easy. The wood is easy to finish and one of the best wood for beginners to learn woodworking techniques, and tips.

Furthermore, I’ve answered some frequently asked questions about the hardness of Pine as well.

Hope you have gained good knowledge about the hot topic is Pine a hardwood. So, let’s try your next woodworking project with Pine and see how its hardness is useful in your projects. Have fun in 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!

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