Considering its popularity, it’s only natural to wonder if apple wood is a hardwood flexible enough for different projects. After all, the lumber’s hardness can hinder how you can control its shape during cutting and sanding procedures.
In this post, our resident woodworkers will explore this tree specie and determine how its attributes can elevate your woodworking experience.
How Hard Is Apple Wood?
If you’ve been in the industry for a long time, you’ll know that apple wood is one of today’s hardest lumber species. Most construction professionals prefer this material mainly because of its strength and highly dense wood fibers.
This hardwood has an impressive 1730 lbf or 7700 N rating on the Janka hardness scale. It may surprise you, but this specification is higher than most materials under the same category, like ash, walnut, or oak.
Given its score on the scale, we can guarantee that apple wood is a durable material that can resist regular wearing and shearing. This attribute is also what makes the wood perfect for furniture-making projects.
You may not know, but its dense level and strength offer excellent protection against harsh external elements. Thanks to this, the material can last long, even with minimal surface maintenance.
Unlike other woodworking lumber, applewood doesn’t feature a straight-grain pattern. It’s also not soft, so cutting, drilling, and nailing its surface can be challenging. On the bright side, it responds well to woodturning, gluing, and finishing.
To make it clear how strong and durable this hardwood is, here’s a hardness comparison table including other wood species:
|Lumber Species||Wood Hardness Value|
|Applewood||1730 lbf (7700 N)|
|Yellow Pine Wood||870 lbf (3870 N)|
|Teakwood||1155 lbf (5140 N)|
|American Beech Wood||1300 lbf (5800 N)|
|North American Walnut||1010 lbf (4500 N)|
|Golden Teakwood||2330 lbf (10400 N)|
|Red Mahogany Wood||2697 lbf (12000 N)|
|Cherrywood||995 lbf (4430 N)|
|Baltic Birch Wood||1260 lbf (5600 N)|
|Basswood||410 lbf (1823 N)|
|Cypress Wood||510 lbf (2269 N)|
|White Ash Wood||1320 lbf (5900 N)|
|Hard Maple Wood||1450 lbf (6400 N)|
|Douglas Fir||710 lbf (3158 N)|
|Red Maple Wood||950 lbf (4200 N)|
|Willow||570 lbf (2530 N)|
|White Cedarwood||320 lbf (1423 N)|
|Brazilian Walnut Wood||3684 lbf (16390 N)|
|Jatoba Wood||2350 lbf (10500 N)|
|Satinwood||1820 lbf (8100 N)|
|Silver Maple Wood||700 lbf (3100 N)|
|Black Cherry Wood||950 lbf (4200 N)|
|Larch Wood||830 lbf (3690 N)|
|Honey Locust Wood||1580 lbf (7030 N)|
|Hemlock Wood||540 lbf (2402 N)|
|Cottonwood||430 lbf (1913 N)|
Key Characteristics of Apple Wood
If you inspect applewood closely, you’ll notice that this material carries a hardwood color range of light to deep red. These hues come in streaks spread across the surface to produce distinct aesthetics.
You can compare its uniform and consistent texture to cherrywood. And since it includes tiny vessels of the exact sizes, you can rely on this hardwood to withstand the harshest conditions.
Some woodworkers think applewood doesn’t need a protective finish, but did you know it can develop decay and mold growth  when exposed to extreme weather? Experts suggest applying sealants for exterior use to avoid this disaster.
Given its dense level and hardness, its workability isn’t the best option for woodworking beginners. They may find this material difficult to nail, drill, cut, or drive a screw in.
On the bright side, the wood’s denseness prevents it from chipping and tearing during woodturning activities.
And with a density range of up to 833 kg/m3, no one can deny that applewood provides a harder surface than other lumber species.
Its durability and compatibility with exterior finishes make you think it’s the perfect material for outdoor furniture pieces.
However, lower external humidity levels can affect its properties and make it shrink. You must cover its surface with a sealant if you want to use it.
To save you time and effort in understanding its attributes, here’s an overview of Applewood’s crucial features:
|Wood Color Range||Light to the dark reddish hue|
|Density Level||From 657 kg/m3 up to 833 kg/m3|
|Hardness Level||1730 lbf|
|Wood Type/Species||Hardwood Tree|
|Applications/Uses||Handtool handles, furniture-making, woodturning/carving|
Apple Wood’s Pros and Cons
Now that you know the material’s specifics, the next step is to get familiar with the advantages and drawbacks of using apple wood. Remember that these attributes determine if the wood fits your project.
As you can see, most of its drawbacks are mendable by proper sealing procedures. Besides the resistance against external elements, applying a protective layer on its surface can make the hardwood more stable during cutting operations.
It’s also a procedure you can’t skip if you don’t want the hassle of costly repairs and replacement due to moisture exposure.
What Projects Is Apple Wood Best Used For?
Since applewood has reliable durability and strength, it can withstand different impact levels that many workpieces experience due to regular usage.
As a result of its solid construction, you can utilize this material freely in woodworking applications like:
- Making furniture workpieces
- Carving wood designs
- Crafting wooden tool handles
- Constructing wood floors
- Building decorative items
- Creating kitchen workpieces (butcher block/cutting board)
If you want to use apple wood, you have plenty of projects to consider. You can even rely on it for intricate jobs like wood carving without the risk of reducing its durability.
And as long as it undergoes proper finishing, this hardwood can withstand moist environments like kitchens and bathrooms.
The Strength of Apple Wood
One of the most impressive features apple wood can give your workpiece is its strength. This material is so strong that it can stand against stresses and pressures without affecting its original dimensions and stability.
With its stable structure, apple wood is less likely to break or crack when exposed to heavy loads. It’s also the reason why it works as an excellent material for projects like bookshelves, wooden floors, and bed frames.
If you want further proof of this wood’s strength, check its compressive and flexural specifications. These figures will show you how much more sturdy this material is than other hardwoods:
Seeing how high its bending specifications are, you don’t need to worry about breaking this hardwood if you decide to soften it by steaming.
Is it Good for Woodworking?
Yes, you can count on apple wood in many woodworking applications. Workpieces with this lumber can enjoy long-lasting material life thanks to its combined hardness, density, and durability.
Apple wood’s complex workability is the only downside of using it as a woodworking material. As already mentioned, this wood is very dense. It makes it difficult for tools to cut, drill, or carve the surface.
On top of that, the wood’s hardness can also make it harder to drive nails, screws, and blades into the material.
You must ensure they’re well-maintained and sharpened if you don’t want the tool to turn blunt and damaged.
And while its durability gives it an edge as a reliable woodworking material, beginners will have difficulty utilizing it. This versatile wood suits industrial applications more.
More articles to check out:
Does apple wood split easily?
No, applewood does not split easily. You may not know, but this material can withstand extreme heat from firewood applications because of its high density and solid construction. You must utilize sharp woodworking tools if you want to split it apart.
Is apple wood a good hardwood?
Yes, applewood is a good hardwood. Considering its natural colors of light to dark reddish hue and hardness value of 1730 lbf, it’s compatible with a wide range of woodworking applications. Besides that, it can last longer than other lumber species.
After confirming that apple wood is a hardwood material suitable for different woodworking projects, it’s time to decide if its attributes can be helpful for your next workpiece.
While it’s less affordable than others, its durability and aesthetics can compensate for its high price tag, which can last longer than its cost.
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