Wood, as a material, can have its hardness quantified using the Janka rating; the industry standard rating. With this rating, the resistance of wood samples to denting and wear is measured. Varying on account of wood grain direction, different woods are tested based on the cut surface of a stump cut from the material. The measure of hardness and strength is pounds-force (lbf).
Here, we list the top 10 hardest woods in the world, and provide a bit of information about each type:
1. Australian Buloke
An ironwood tree that is native to Australia, this wood comes from a species of tree occurring across most of Eastern and Southern Australia. Known as the hardest wood in the world, this particular type has a Janka hardness of 5,060 lbf.
2. Schinopsis brasiliensis
A species of flowering plant in the cashew family, the schinopsis brasiliensis originates in Brazil and creates an extremely tough wood of 4,800 lbf. Due to this immense hardness and strength, this wood is often used in construction.
3. Schinopsis balansae
A hardwood tree, the schinopsis balansae is a tree which makes up large areas of forest in Argentina and Paraguay. Reaching a whopping 24 metres in height at times, the tree’s wood is extremely hard, at 4,570 lbf.
4. Lignum vitae
A trade wood, lignum vitae comes from trees of the genus Guaiacum which are indigenous to the Caribbean as well as the northern coast of South America. This wood has been used since the 16th century, combining strength, density and toughness at an impressive 4,500 lbf in the Janka hardness test.
5. Piptadenia Macrocarpa
This wood has a Janka hardness rating of 3,840 lbf, making it suitable for a variety of construction projects. It comes from a tree native to areas including Argentina, Bolivia and Peru.
Snakewood has a Janka rating of 3,800 lbf, and is an exotic hardwood which is particularly prized for the highly figured grain it exhibits. Originating from South America, it is used in a variety of projects requiring tough, dense wood.
7. Brazilian Olivewood
With a Janka rating of 3,700, this wood is an exotic, attractive choice. Combining its pleasing aesthetic with properties including toughness and strength, exotic household furniture can seriously benefit from its presence.
8. Brazilian Ebony
A dense, heavy wood originating from Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil, this wood has a Janka rating of 3,692. Particularly good for the construction of decking and planking, this wood is not only hard and durable, but shock-resistant, making it an attractive yet extremely practical and cost-effective choice in the long-run.
9. Brazilian Walnut
Originating in Central and South America, this wood has a grain that varies from straight to irregular or interlocked. With a Janka hardness rating of 3,684, this wood can be used for a number of projects, whether indoor or outdoor.
10. African Pearwood
This is species of tree is found in Angola, Cameroon, the Republic of Congo, Gabon and Nigeria. With a natural habitat of tropical moist lowland forests, the wood itself has a Janka hardness rating of 3,680 lbf.
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