If you are an experienced carpenter, you know that choosing the most appropriate material for home improvement or to make woodcrafts and other woodworking projects require precision and you should be familiar with all types of wood. Choosing the right wood will definitely give you top results. Sometimes, you may need to choose the hardest wood in the world for your wooden project, we want to help you in this matter.

As you probably know strength is one of the most important considerations when choosing and using the wood.

To this day, many people ask what is the hardest woods in the world? In general, it can be said that straight grain woods will usually always be stronger than wavy and complex woods.

But to answer this question, you need to consider several things. In this article, we will review the hardest woods in the world and introduce the world’s strongest wood. We will also discuss a misunderstanding on this subject. Stay with us.

What is The Hardness Scale of Wood?

Is there a scale for measuring wood hardness?

Yes, of course, the hardness of wood is measured using the Janka Hardness scale.

This test measures the force required to push a steel ball with a diameter of 0.444″ (11.28 millimeters) into the wood to a depth of half the ball’s diameter.

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Note that in here we mean hardness measurement, the degree of hardness of the wood perpendicular to the grains of the wood. In other directions, there may be different results.

Testing on the surface of a plank, perpendicular to the grain, is said to be of “side hardness”. Testing the cut surface of the timber is called a test of “end hardness”.

The side hardness is divided into two categories: “Radial hardness” and “Tangential hardness”, although the two have slightly different meanings they are often assumed to be the same.

Hardest Wood in the World

You can simply find a list of hardest woods in the world by doing a quick search on google, anyways, we’ve prepared it for you here.

This list is based on the Janka hardness test. So it can be concluded that in the direction perpendicular to the grains of the wood, these woods are the strongest wood in the world.

Some of these woods are:

  • Lignum Vitae
  • Quebracho wood
  • Teak wood
  • Australian Buloke
  • Hickory wood
  • Maple wood
  • Oakwood
  • Mahogany wood
  • Black ironwood
  • Cedar
  • Eucalyptus
  • Brazilian Walnut
  • Brazilian Ebony
  • African Pearwood
  • Verawood
  • Snakewood
  • Gidgee wood

The point is that although you need to look at the Janka hardness scale to find the strongest wood if you are looking for the strongest wood for a particular project, this idea doesn’t work in most cases and it can even be said that this idea is wrong!

For example, if you are looking for the strongest wood to make a chair leg, Janka is not a good criterion for choosing one.

The reason is that Janka hardness rate specifies the hardness of the wood in the direction perpendicular to the wood grain, while in principle for a chair lege, the pressure is applied parallel to the wood grain.

For this purpose, you need to consider other factors to find a sturdier wood for making it.

We will discuss this in the next section.

Strongest Woods for Different Wood Projects

In all practically and empirically, a huge number of hardwoods are “Hard enough” for nearly all residential applications include flooring or different wooden projects.

There is huge number of hardwoods in the world. However, it should be considered that not all of them may be suitable for any kind of projects.

For example, whereas walnut wood may be one of the strongest and the best woods to use in making cutting boards or bookshelves, oak wood is the strongest when it comes to making of the wooden boat. All in all, it’s you & yourself who should do the research and choose the right kind of wood for your project.

Understanding Wood Strength

There is a misunderstanding here. To find the strongest wood for different carpentry projects you should not just look at the Janka scale.

You should see what you mean by the “strong”.

If you mean wood strength for using on the floor, Janka is a good option. But if you mean making furniture or a chair leg, you also need to consider other factors. Three important factors which should be considered are:

  • Modulus of Elasticity (MOE): Measures a wood’s stiffness, and is a good overall indicator of its strength.
  • Modulus of Rupture: Sometimes referred to as bending strength, is a measure of a wood’s strength before rupture. Unlike the modulus of elasticity, which measures the wood’s deflection, but not its ultimate strength.
  • Crushing Strength: This is a measurement of the wood’s maximum crushing strength when weight is applied to the ends of the wood (compression is parallel to the grain).

Most of the time woodworkers are looking for woods that actually need to be evaluated by these factors.

Here are some of the common projects and important factors for choosing strongest wood for them.

Factors to consider in making a:

  • Flooring: Janka hardness
  • Chair legs: Crushing Strength
  • Ladder: Crushing Strength and Modulus of Rupture
  • Boat: Janka hardness and Modulus of elasticity
  • Baseball bat: Modulus of elasticity and Modulus of Rupture
  • Table: Janka hardness and Modulus of elasticity

So, in order to find the hardest wood in the world, consider that the world’s hardest wood for flooring may not have the minimum strength required for boat or vice-versa.

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