Wood is a natural material that has been around since prehistoric times. Wood is also very versatile and can be used in a variety of ways.
There are many different types of wood that have different properties, making them perfect for different uses.
One of the ways that wood can differ is by how lightweight it is or, in other words, based on its density.
But which wood is the lightest? It can be tricky to find this information and many of us find ourselves searching and searching, but never quite getting the answers we need.
Well, no more! We have put together this useful guide to help you understand more about the different types of lightweight wood.
Types Of Wood
There are two types of wood – hardwood and softwood. Understanding the difference between hardwood and softwood is essential when it comes to the weight and density of the wood.
Softwood is harvested from evergreen trees, also known as conifer trees. Hardwood is harvested from deciduous trees.
These trees lose their leaves once a year and are known for growing very slowly. This slow growth rate causes the wood to become denser, which means that hardwoods are often heavier than softwoods.
However, hardwoods vary greatly in density, strength, and weight. The moisture content of the tree also has a lot to do with the density of the wood, as the more moisture is in the grain the less wood there is.
Let’s take a closer look at the different types of wood now.
One of the lightest woods is balsa wood. Balsa is a type of tropical tree that grows in Central America.
Balsa wood was first discovered by Christopher Columbus when he landed in what is now known as Panama. He found it to be an excellent source of food for his starving crew.
Balsa wood was so important to the Spanish explorers that they named their new home La Nueva España or New Spain. Today, balsa wood is still being harvested in Panama.
Balsa wood is a lightweight material that is often used in model building. It is also used in musical instruments such as guitars and pianos.
Redwood is a very durable type of wood, but it is still lightweight. This makes it ideal for construction, and redwood is often used as a building material. Redwood trees grow naturally in California, Oregon, and Washington.
The oldest living thing on Earth is a redwood tree called Methuselah. The age of this tree is estimated at over 4,000 years old. Methuselah is one of the tallest trees in the world, with a height of nearly 300 feet.
The trunk of the tree is almost 10 inches thick! This giant redwood tree is located in the Santa Cruz Mountains near San Francisco.
Cedar is a type of softwood that is often used in building and construction. It is one of the lightest woods available. Cedar is native to North America and Asia.
There are two main species of cedar: western cedar and eastern cedar. Western cedar is usually lighter than eastern cedar. It is most commonly used to make furniture and flooring.
Eastern cedar is mainly used to make roof trusses and beams.
One of cedar’s natural properties is that it is resistant to insects. It is one of only three species of wood that does not attract termites.
Cypress is a softwood, similar to redwood and cedar. It is durable yet lightweight and is resistant to water damage. This makes it a popular material for outdoor furniture and garden structures.
Cypress can be found all around the world. Cypress trees have been planted in many different places including Australia, Europe, and Africa.
This coniferous tree is dense yet light and is very strong. The strength-to-weight ratio is impressive, similar to other conifers, making it popular with woodworkers. Douglas fir is native to Canada and Alaska.
It is not uncommon to find large Douglas firs in forests across the United States. They are considered natural landmarks because of their size and shape.
Black walnut is a type of hardwood that has a beautiful appearance. It is also very strong and durable but is much lighter than other hardwood building materials like hickory or ash.
Black walnut trees grow naturally in the southeastern part of the U.S.A.
Corkwood is another type of hardwood that is surprisingly lightweight. It is a very high-quality timber that is widely used in the manufacture of flooring. Corkwood grows naturally in Ireland and England.
What Should You Use Lightweight Wood For?
Strong, heavy hardwoods are often used for building and construction, to make large pieces of furniture, or even laid down as flooring.
So what is softwood or lightweight hardwood used for? Here are some of the most common uses for lightweight wood:
Lightweight wood is ideal for making shelves. The wood is not so heavy that it puts too much pressure on the wall or the fixings, but it can hold a fair amount of weight, making the shelf practical.
Cedar is ideal to use for shelving due to its insect-resistant properties.
If you are hanging a picture frame on the wall then you want it to be nice and light. Wooden picture frames look lovely in your home.
Planter boxes can make your garden decking look much more interesting. If you use heavy wood then this will put too much weight on the decking, so lightweight wood is ideal.
It also makes it easier to move the planter box around the garden when needed.
Redwood would be a great choice because it is resistant to water, so the planter box won’t get damaged by the rain.
Outdoor furniture needs to be sturdy enough to hold your weight when you sit on it, light enough to be picked up and moved easily, but also resistant to water.
This makes cypress the perfect wood for making outdoor furniture.
There are various kinds of lightweight wood with individual properties. This makes them suited to different uses. Whichever light wood you use, we are sure you will be pleased with the results.