Redwood is a premium construction wood that is popularized because of its weather resistance and beauty. Redwood is generally used for fences, panels, furniture, and many other indoor and outdoor woodworking projects. When it comes to the building projects with Redwood, people are curious about its hardness. So, let’s figure out, Is Redwood a hardwood?
Redwood is not a hardwood. Redwood is a softwood with a hardness rating of 420 lbf (1,868 N) which is relatively lower than most softwoods. Redwood comes from a deciduous coniferous tree like other softwoods that doesn’t lose leaves in fall.
But that’s just a quick snapshot and there’s a lot more to know about Redwood than just that!
In this article, we’ll explore is Redwood a hardwood and how hard is Redwood by taking its characteristic qualities with pros and cons. Also, we’ll talk about how strong Redwood is with its uses.
Furthermore, I’ll answer some frequently asked questions about the hardness of Redwood compared to other popular wood types as well.
So, let’s jump in!
No other softwood holds paints, stains and other coatings better than redwood. Redwood also bonds exceptionally well. pic.twitter.com/7oURBUtz— Redwood Empire (@Redwood_Empire) January 28, 2013
How Hard Is Redwood?
Redwood is a very soft wood compared to many hardwoods and most softwoods as well. It comes from a gymnosperm tree like other softwoods that have needles and cones. There’re no visible pores structure in Redwood because of tracheids
The hardness of Redwood is tested by a standard method called the Janka hardness test.
Janka hardness test is calculated by considering the resistance against wear and dent of a particular wood. if any wood has high resistance against dent and wear, that means its Janka hardness rating is high.
According to the Janka hardness test values, Redwood has a hardness rating of 420 lbf (1,868 N) which is significantly less than most hardwoods and softwoods.
Even though Redwood is considered a softwood, it is harder than some angiosperm woods like Aspen and Basswood. Plus, Redwood has excellent against warping and splitting. Therefore, the durability of Redwood is high.
Usually, we don’t see much of using softwood for outdoor woodworking projects.
But because of having good weather resistance and decay resistance, Redwood is commonly used for exterior use. The less hardness and density make the wood easy to work with.
Did you know our windows are made from softwood with hardwood sills? The softwood we use is a kiln dried redwood which is very #thermalefficient, and the sills are made from Meranti hardwood because this is the area that’s most susceptible to the weather, and at risk of decay! 👍 pic.twitter.com/xm9NJNIGW9— Wandsworth Sash Windows (@Sash_Windows1) May 20, 2022
So, let’s have a look at the hardness of Redwood compared to other wood types. As we all know the Janka hardness rating of Redwood is 420 lbf (1,868 N) and let’s see how harder or softer Redwood is compared to other popular wood types.
|Wood Species||Hardness value|
|Brazilian Walnut||3,684 lbf (16,390 N)|
|Red Mahogany, Turpentine||2,697 lbf (12,000 N)|
|Brazilian Cherry, Jatoba||2,350 lbf (10,500 N)|
|Golden Teak||2,330 lbf (10,400 N)|
|Hickory, Pecan, Satinwood||1,820 lbf (8,100 N)|
|Hard Maple, Sugar Maple||1,450 lbf (6,400 N)|
|White Oak||1,360 lbf (6,000 N)|
|Ash (White)||1,320 lbf (5,900 N)|
|American Beech||1,300 lbf (5,800 N)|
|Red Oak (Northern)||1,290 lbf (5,700 N)|
|Yellow Birch / Baltic birch||1,260 lbf (5,600 N)|
|Teak||1,155 lbf (5,140 N)|
|Black Walnut, North American Walnut||1,010 lbf (4,500 N)|
|Cherry||995 lbf (4,430 N)|
|Black Cherry, Imbuia||950 lbf (4,200 N)|
|Red Maple||950 lbf (4,200 N)|
|Douglas Fir||710 lbf (3,158 N)|
|Silver Maple||700 lbf (3,100 N)|
|Hemlock||540 lbf (2,402 N)|
|Black Spruce||520 lbf (2,313 N)|
|Cypress||510 lbf (2,269 N)|
|Redwood||420 lbf (1,868 N)|
|Basswood||410 lbf (1,823 N)|
|Engelmann Spruce||390 lbf (1,735 N)|
|Sugar Pine||380 lbf (1,690 N)|
|White Pine||380 lbf (1,690 N)|
|Aspen||350 lbf (1,557 N)|
|White Cedar||320 lbf (1,423 N)|
As you can see the hardness of Redwood is significantly less than many other wood types that we use in our day-to-day lives. But Redwood is harder than White Pine, Aspen, and White Cedar.
The specialty of Redwood is, that it is a type of softwood that we can use for both interior and exterior purposes without any hesitations due to its natural resistance to the environmental elements.
Made a couple table tops out of redwood. Using sapwood (the lighter streaks) is a bit “against the rules” traditionally, since it tends to be a bit softer than heartwood, but I love the look when the boards flow together. pic.twitter.com/NT4cnPnhQE— Morgan Herlocker (@morganherlocker) September 21, 2019
Redwood is a softwood that has a color range of light pinkish-brown to deep reddish-brown. It is a beautiful wood that adds a unique appearance to your house.
Usually, Redwood has a straight grain structure, but some have irregular or wavy grain patterns. Because of having a straight grain, Redwood has some excellent wood finishing properties. Staining and painting Redwood is easy.
Redwood is considered one of the strongest softwood types in the world despite being extremely soft. It has good resistance against warping and splitting.
The workability of Redwood is high. Therefore, working with Redwood is easy even for a beginner in woodworking. Cutting, drilling, sawing, and carving Redwood is easy with normal woodworking tools.
If you’re a beginner and looking for wood to make outdoor woodwork, Redwood is highly recommended due to its excellent user-friendliness. Plus, Redwood has natural tannins that repel bugs and insects to make the wood protected. Therefore, Redwood furniture or woodworks has good resistance against insect attacks, rotting and decaying.
Redwood is resistant to fire. Therefore, it can be kept in any area without any hesitation. It’s a clean, sustainable, versatile, and recyclable wood with some exceptional qualities compared to other softwood types.
Here’re the most significant qualities of Redwood,
- High workability
- High resistance against insect attacks
- Weather resistance
- Decay and rot-resistant
- Less density
- Distinct odor
- Straight grain pattern
Here are the main characteristic features of Redwood,
|Hardness||420 lbf (1,868 N)|
|Wood Type||North American Softwood|
|Applications||Posts, Decks, Musical instruments, Boxes, Furniture|
Building physical things is a nice break from software that seems to never get old.— joshpuckett (@joshpuckett) June 1, 2019
We now have a proper dining room, so I made this live edge table for it out of an old growth redwood slab. pic.twitter.com/kNI8XInlhs
So, let’s have a look at the advantages and disadvantages of Redwood in terms of its hardness.
Pros and Cons of Redwood
|Softwood||Need high maintenance|
|Lightweight||Prone to dents and scratches|
|Repel insects and bugs||Expensive|
As you can see Redwood is a wood that is filled with lots of advantages. Most of the disadvantages of Redwood can be skipped with proper maintenance and good finishing techniques.
There is a variety of materials you can use for decking! Pressure treated would be the most popular, but you can also choose from Natural Cedar and Redwood, Composite decking recycled from plastic, Tropical hardwoods- a luxury choice, and even aluminum-Lightweight, weatherproof pic.twitter.com/bLsNSuussK— Paul D. Rugarber (@SpeakwithCleat) April 11, 2018
So, let’s have a look at the applications of Redwood because of being a softwood.
What Is Redwood Used For?
Redwood can be used pretty much for any indoor and outdoor woodworking project because of its excellent workability and natural weather resistance.
Here’re some applications of Redwood,
- Patio furniture
How Strong Is Redwood?
Redwood is a fairly weak wood compared to most hardwoods and softwoods. Because of having poor strength, Redwood furniture and woodworks need high maintenance and proper finishing. Otherwise, wood tends to crack and is prone due to environmental elements.
The compressive strength and bending strength of Redwood are as follows,
- The compressive strength of Redwood is 5,220 psi
- The bending strength of Redwood is 7,900 psi
As you can see the strengths of Redwood are significantly weak. Therefore, Redwood cannot be used for applications that work against high stress. It can only use for regular woodworking applications.
That’s it, folks! Now you have a clear idea about, Is Redwood a hardwood with its pros and cons.
Redwood slab table and benches. Last coat of finish is on. We can use it this weekend!— J. Kenji WEAR A MASK López-Alt (@kenjilopezalt) June 27, 2018
2 coats of Danish oil with 3 coats of Waterlox marine varnish. pic.twitter.com/adVMSdsqUc
So, let’s answer some frequently asked questions about the hardness of Redwood.
Is Redwood Harder Than Pine?
Redwood is harder than sugar Pine and Yellow Pine, but softer than yellow Pine. Both Pine and Redwood belong to the softwood family. But when it comes to the woodworking world, Redwood is a more versatile wood than Pine because of its excellent qualities that are applicable in both indoor and outdoor woodworking projects.
According to the Janka hardness ratings, the hardness of Redwood and Pine is as follows,
|White Pine||380 lbf|
|Sugar Pine||380 lbf|
|Yellow Pine||870 lbf|
New Redwood Deck Complete! pic.twitter.com/CZdt17VwEs— Spiderman (@MarionS45109703) June 27, 2022
Is Redwood Harder Than Cedar?
Redwood is harder than Cedar. Even though Redwood is significantly softer than most of the other woods, it is harder and denser than both western red Cedar and white Cedar.
According to the Janka hardness ratings, the hardness of Redwood and Cedar is as follows,
|Western Red Cedar||350 lbf|
|White Cedar||320 lbf|
Therefore, Redwood can be considered one of the best alternatives for Cedar in terms of its hardness and toughness.
On a Saturday 25 years ago I went into Knight’s Lumber and Hugh Guthrie said “use Redwood – it lasts longer than Cedar”. Hugh was a city builder who knew his lumber. #localbusiness pic.twitter.com/OerfPfK6RN— Lloyd Longfield (@LloydLongfield) September 26, 2020
Is Redwood Harder Than Oak?
Redwood is softer than Oak. Oak is significantly harder and denser than Redwood. Oak comes from hardwood trees with lots of exceptional qualities such as high durability, high strength, and high versatility than Redwood.
According to the Janka hardness ratings, the hardness of Redwood and Oak is as follows,
|Red Oak||1,290 lbf|
|White Oak||1,360 lbf|
As you can see the hardness of both Red Oak and White Oak are so bigger than the hardness of Redwood.
Did I cover all you wanted to know about: Is Redwood A Hardwood?
In this article, we have deeply explored, is Redwood a hardwood, and how hard Redwood is by taking its characteristic qualities with pros and cons.
Redwood is softwood with excellent durability and high workability. Even though it comes from a softwood family, it has natural resistance against insects and good weather and decay resistance as well.
If you’re a beginner in woodworking and looking for a softwood to practice with for both indoor and outdoor woodworking projects, Redwood is the best wood you should go with.
Furthermore, we have discussed the strength of Redwood and answered some frequently asked questions about the hardness of Redwood compared to other wood types as well. Hope you have gained good knowledge about Redwood a hardwood with its uses. So, let’s try to focus on your next woodworking project with Redwood. Keep practicing!