What is the distinction between Hardwoods and Softwoods and why is Teak specifically used to manufacture Traditional Wooden Garden Furniture for the UK market.
The distinction between Hardwood and Softwood actually has to do with plant reproduction. All trees reproduce by producing seeds, but the seed structure varies. In general, hardwood comes from a Deciduous tree which loses its leaves annually, and softwood comes from a Conifer, which usually remains evergreen. Hard Woods
Hardwood trees are Angiosperms
that produce seeds with some sort of covering. This might be a fruit such as an apple, or a hard shell such as an acorn. E.g. Teak, Maple, Oak, Elm, Mahogany and SycamoreSoft Woods
Softwoods, on the other hand, are Gymnosperms
These plants let seeds fall to the ground as is, with no covering such a Pine trees, which grow seeds in hard cones. Other examples are Redwood, Fir, Cedar, and Larch.
Hardwoods tend to be slower growing, and are therefore usually denser. Although there are many different types of woods used for building garden furniture, the very high natural levels of Silica and Rubber that are present in Teak makes it widely accepted in the Industry as being the single best timber for the Great British outdoors.
There is a mathematical scale used to test the density of a timber called the Janka Hardness Scale
. This scale works by calculating the force needed to embed half the diameter of a steel .444 inch ball into the wood. Woods scoring a high rating on the Janka Hardness Scale are considered harder. Because of this the Janka Hardness Scale is a good indication of how resistant each wood species is to denting and wear and a useful way to see how hard the wood will be to saw or nail.