Hardwood vs Softwood

Hardwoods and softwoods both have a wide array of applications in the wood products industry.  A hardwood tree is often, but not necessarily, a harder and denser wood than a softwood. The term comes from old logging camp “rules of thumb” where woods were sometimes named by their resistance to sawing.

A great example of an exception to the rule is balsa wood. Balsa is one of the lightest, least dense woods there is, but it is considered a hardwood.

Hardwoods come from deciduous trees, those that shed their leaves in the winter. These trees are angiosperms. That means that they make seeds or fruits that are enclosed.  An apple tree is a hardwood, for example; they will usually form flowers to reproduce and are pollinated by birds and insects. Hardwood species include Birch, Maple, Cherry, Balsa, Oak, Elm, Mahogany and Sycamore. Hardwoods, being more durable, are more resistant to extreme weather.

Softwoods come from conifers, trees that remain green all year round such as pine. Softwood comes from trees that are gymnosperms which means they reproduce from cones that emit pollen and that pollen is spread through the wind or from seeds that fall to the ground. Softwood varieties of trees include pine, redwood, fir and cedar.

Generally, more of the high end wood products that we manufacture are produced using hardwood species but, of course, it depends on the specifications and application of the project. Crates for instance are often made with softwoods. Wood dowels that are required to be more durable are generally made from hardwoods, such as birch, maple, beech, oak and ash. Our balusters and columns are custom made to order for interior and exterior applications and are produced in paint and stain grades from wood species such as mahogany, poplar and oak, however, we are not limited to these species and can offer a verity of other species to meet our customers requirement for their unique project.

For more information, Contact Us: http://www.arnoldwood.com/contact-us.php

Advertisements
small wood dowels skewers

Uses for small diameter wooden dowels

While most people think of larger diameter wood dowels such as broom sticks, wood handles and flag poles, dowels have many uses with smaller diameter objects. Smaller diameter dowels are used for different applications in the health and food and beverage industries.

small wood dowels skewers

small wood dowels

Small dowels in the food and beverage industry include skewers, some with pointed ends and some with blunt ends. Other uses are for candy apple sticks, marshmallow and rock candy sticks. These dowels often have a ball tip. Wood skewers are typically produced at diameters from 1/8” – ¼” that range from a couple inches up to 10” length for large scale food processors. Dowels for this use are almost always made using birch wood because it is non-conductive, doesn’t splinter as well as being tasteless.

wooden manicure sticksIn the health and beauty industry, small diameter dowels include manicure sticks. Some sticks are used with a cotton ball wound around the end and others to push back cuticles and the ends are dependent on the use, such as blunt or pointed. Sticks can also be produced in a variety of colors. Manicure sticks are typically 5/32” in diameter with ends pointed and / or beveled. Originally intended for the cosmetic industry, these dowels have found considerable application in the electronics industry as a non- conductive, heat-resistant tool for assembly and repairs. While often called orangewood sticks, these small diameter dowels are made almost exclusively from white birch. Wooden manicure sticks are inexpensive, environmentally friendly and disposable.

A small diameter dowel with various shapes on each end has also found considerable use in the electronics and telecommunications field. A spudger is a thin tool used for adjusting or holding down wires, typically in tight spaces. These are often made from plastic, though wood is an ideal medium as it is relatively durable, heat resistant, soft enough to not mar delicate surfaces, ESD safe and finally inexpensive. As such, manicure or orangewood sticks have become commonplace in assembly and repair of electronics.

Knitting needles are also a use for small diameter dowels as well as for a variety of crafts. wood knitting needlesWhile production scale dowel orders are available from suppliers such as Arnold Wood Turning, smaller dowels can be found at craft, chef and beauty supply stores.

Secondary operations on dowels include ferruling, laser imprinting, pad printing, rounding, silk screening, tapering and tennoning.

For more information and product photos, visit Arnold Wood Turning.

For more information, Contact Us: http://www.arnoldwood.com/contact-us.php