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Softwoods are easy to work with and are in demand in applications where bending is required. Such wood lends itself to any type of processing; products with decorative carving, veneer, plywood, as well as souvenir and other products are made from it.

It is believed that conifers are distinguished by the softest wood, although there are many soft varieties among deciduous ones.

Consider the properties of the most popular softwoods: linden (lime tree), pine, cedar, alder, spruce, poplar, aspen.


Linden wood (lime tree), properties

Density: 530 kg / m³

Brinell hardness: 2.2 kgf / mm²

Thermal conductivity (at -30 / + 40 ° C): 150 mW

Linden wood is one of the softest deciduous trees in our latitudes. With a moisture content of 12-15%, it belongs to the types of medium weight.

It differs in uniform density, toughness, low elasticity and low strength. During drying a strong warpage is observed, the wood cracks, while in the dried state the wood is stable. With high humidity, as well as with heavy precipitation it is quickly damaged by fungi, therefore, in such conditions, it is short-lived.

Linden is easy to process, easy to cut and planed. It holds quite well connected with nails and screws, but gluing is not desirable, the strength of such connections will be low. The wood is easily bent and pricked, the surface is processed by polishing, staining and painting. It also can be coated with varnish.

It is often used for sculpture, woodcarving and turning. Linden is used to make internal parts of furniture and plywood and used to imitate walnut wood. Linden is also used to make models for casting, toys, kitchen appliances and containers for dry goods, musical instruments and frames for beehives.

Pine wood properties

Density: 520 kg / m³

Brinell hardness: 2.5 kgf / mm²

Thermal conductivity (at -30 / + 40 ° C): 150 mW

Pine is characterized by an average density, and with a moisture level of 12-15%, by an average weight, especially in comparison with other conifers. The density of the pine tree will greatly depend on the width of the growth rings. The wider the rings, the lower the proportion of late wood in them, and the lower the density.

Pine wood is characterized by good toughness and moderate tendency to warping.

It has medium or low resistance to destruction by fungi (depending on the type). In its raw form, it is used only for load-bearing parts of a building or in areas where there is no risk of permanent moisture.

On the market, pine is sold in the form of round timber, veneer and sawn timber; it is also used for the manufacture of plywood, chipboard, durable paper and cellulose. Pine is widely used as a building material, both for internal and external parts of structures, in the construction of railways (sleepers). Pine is often used to make boxes, pallets and ocontainers. It is also used to make beehives and frames for beehive.

Properties of cedar wood

Density: 420 kg / m3

Brinell hardness: 4 kgf / mm²

Thermal conductivity (at -30 / + 40 ° C): 95 mW

Cedar wood has high strength and softness, making it easy to process. Cedar is considered one of the most versatile types of wood and is used in a variety of fields, from construction to the manufacture of everyday items.

Cedar is quite resistant to rotting and fungi, so it is not afraid of moisture.

In addition, cedar has valuable natural properties: it is a natural antiseptic, therefore it is widely used for decoration and construction: in a cedar house the air will be almost sterile. In addition, cedar has a pleasant coniferous aroma, which is also beneficial for human health.

In addition to building materials such as cedar timber, decking and flooring boards, this wood is also used to make musical instruments, kitchen utensils and everyday items. It is also used to make beehives with long term life.

Alder wood properties

Density: 550 kg / m3

Brinell hardness: 2.7 kgf / mm²

Thermal conductivity (at -30 / + 40 ° C): 170 mW

Alder wood is characterized by its softness and homogeneous fine structure. The moisture content of alder is in the range of 12-15%, it has a medium weight. Alder's strength and elasticity is low. Alder has a low resistance to rotting when exposed to external moisture, but at the same time the resistance properties are very high under water.

The indisputable advantage of alder is ease of processing. This wood is not prone to warping and cracking during drying, it is easy to saw and plan. It is good for gluing and it holds with screws, but it cracks when nails are hammered. It lends itself well to surface treatments such as varnishing, staining and polishing.

It is used in many areas: veneer, plywood, chipboards, paper, boxes and pallets, stands and containers, musical instruments, casting molds, charcoal. Alder is also used as fuel, turning products, toys and even wooden shoes are made from it. In the construction industry, alder is used for interior decoration. Since alder is highly resistant under water conditions, it is often used in the construction of underground and underwater structures.

Spruce wood properties

Density: 470 kg / m³

Brinell hardness: 2.3 kgf / mm²

Thermal conductivity (at -30 / + 40 ° C): 110 mW

Spruce wood, with its average density, is very soft, moisture content is 12-15%.

The density depends on the width of the growth rings, the wider they are, the lower the density of the spruce wood.

For this level of density, spruce wood has very good mechanical properties. Easy to work: Can be easily sawed, planed, routed, coated and polished, and can be easily screwed and nailed together. Bonding also holds well.

Untreated wood is short-lived under the influence of weather conditions - especially when in contact with the ground, spruce quickly decays, therefore spruce is always processed for external use.

Spruce is used for the manufacture of lumber, round timber, boards, veneer. Composites are made from spruce: plywood, chipboard, glued timber, fiberboard. In construction, this type of wood is widely used both for interior design and for external finishes. In addition, spruce is used to make musical instruments, packaging items (pallets, boxes, blocks), fences, partitions, flooring, toys, and paper. Also used in the chemical industry.

Aspen wood properties

Density: 450 kg / m³

Brinell hardness: 1.86 kgf / mm²

Thermal conductivity (at -30 / + 40 ° C): 170 mW

Aspen is considered a very soft wood for its density. With a humidity in the range of 12-15%, it is considered one of the lightest deciduous tree in our latitudes. Accordingly, the absolute strength indicators for such species of wood are also low.

Aspen is quite resistant to cracking and prickles easily. On the surface, aspen fibers are compacted, due to which it shows good wear resistance when it is rubbed.

This type of wood is not resistant to moisture and weather conditions. It dries slowly, cracking and warping are not common for Aspen.

Aspen lends itself well to such types of processing as sawing, milling, peeling and cutting. Fresh wood lends itself better to processing than dry wood. It sticks well, fasteners with screws hold a little worse. The surface of the aspen is easy to process and cover.

Such wood is used to make paper, drawing boards, household appliances, tools. Also used in the chemical industry.

Comparison of the properties of thermal conductivity of wood with artificial materials

Wood species



Thermal conductivity, mW

Types of artificial materials

Thermal conductivity, mW




Foamed polyethylene































The lower the thermal conductivity, the better the material's ability to retain heat. When choosing materials for construction, this indicator should be taken into account.

Soft woods have fairly good thermal conductivity. Based on our comparison plate of wood with popular artificial insulation, it can be seen that from soft woods cedar and spruce retain heat best. The thermal conductivity of these rocks is not inferior to plastic, and pine and linden have the same thermal conductivity as rubber and drywall. The advantage of wood in this case is naturalness, durability and absolute safety for human health. Synthetic materials such as polyethylene foam, styrofoam and polystyrene, which retain heat at times better than wood, are often used as an auxiliary insulation when building structures are made of wood.


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