What is ‘Softwoods’?
Using the word ‘softwood’ is usually used to describe the timber from coniferous trees. Softwoods are generally lighter in colour, have distinct annular rings and are softer than hardwoods, but not always. There are some softwood species (like white cypress) which are much harder than some hardwoods.
Australia has many native softwood species like celery top pine, white cypress and hoop pine, as well as growing non-native species like radiata pine.
Softwoods form a large part of the timber we use, as the trees from which they come grow quickly and are easily renewable. Though very strong, they are lightweight, easy to work with, and are easily transported to your work site. They are also less expensive than most hardwoods and are used extensively for flooring, decking, structural framing, cladding, paneling, bench tops, beams and poles.
While softwoods are generally less durable than many hardwoods, because of their open-cell structure, they absorb adhesives, finishes and preservatives very easily. Treated softwood is very durable, resistant to insects, fungal attacks and decay and is a popular option for most woodworking projects, especially furniture and cabinet making.