Is Apple Wood a Hardwood? – Hardness of Apple Tree

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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, I 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 and based on my experience as well, I 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. 

Applewood slabs

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, I find that 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 SpeciesWood Hardness Value
Applewood1730 lbf (7700 N)
Yellow Pine Wood870 lbf (3870 N)
Teakwood1155 lbf (5140 N)
American Beech Wood1300 lbf (5800 N)
North American Walnut1010 lbf (4500 N)
Golden Teakwood2330 lbf (10400 N)
Red Mahogany Wood2697 lbf (12000 N)
Cherrywood995 lbf (4430 N)
Baltic Birch Wood1260 lbf (5600 N)
Basswood410 lbf (1823 N)
Cypress Wood510 lbf (2269 N)
White Ash Wood1320 lbf (5900 N)
Hard Maple Wood1450 lbf (6400 N)
Douglas Fir710 lbf (3158 N)
Red Maple Wood950 lbf (4200 N)
Willow570 lbf (2530 N)
White Cedarwood320 lbf (1423 N)
Brazilian Walnut Wood3684 lbf (16390 N)
Jatoba Wood2350 lbf (10500 N)
Satinwood1820 lbf (8100 N)
Silver Maple Wood700 lbf (3100 N)
Black Cherry Wood950 lbf (4200 N)
Larch Wood830 lbf (3690 N)
Honey Locust Wood1580 lbf (7030 N)
Hemlock Wood540 lbf (2402 N)
Cottonwood430 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. 

Applewood lumbers

It shares similarities in texture with cherry wood, something I’ve noticed while working on multiple projects. And since it includes tiny vessels of the exact sizes, you can rely on this hardwood to withstand the harshest conditions. 

Though some may think that apple wood doesn’t require a protective finish, let me offer a word of caution. From my own experience, the wood can be susceptible to decay and mold growth [1] if not properly treated. Experts often recommend sealants for exterior use, and I wholeheartedly agree.

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. 

cutting Applewood with table saw

If you’re considering apple wood for outdoor furniture, take heed; while it is highly compatible with exterior finishes, it’s not impervious to the elements. 

It can shrink in lower external humidity levels. Therefore, I highly recommend applying a sealant for maintaining its integrity.

To save you time and effort in understanding its attributes, here’s an overview of Applewood’s crucial features:

Wood Color RangeLight to the dark reddish hue
Density LevelFrom 657 kg/m3 up to 833 kg/m3
Hardness Level1730 lbf
Wood Type/SpeciesHardwood Tree
Applications/UsesHandtool 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.

milling Applewood

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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?

Applewood is known for its exceptional durability and strength, making it highly resistant to various levels of impact commonly encountered during regular use.

Applewood pencil

As a result of its solid construction, you can utilize this material freely in woodworking applications like:

  1. Making furniture workpieces
  2. Carving wood designs
  3. Crafting wooden tool handles
  4. Constructing wood floors
  5. Building decorative items
  6. 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.

The stability of apple wood is one of its standout features, in my opinion. It’s far less likely to break or crack under heavy loads, making it an ideal choice for projects that require a strong material. 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:

Applewood log

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. 

staining Applewood

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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Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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