Different Wood Types And Their Properties, Part Two: Softwoods

In Part One of our blog series about wood types, we discussed different types of hardwoods and their properties. Some hardwoods make excellent choices for many CNC router table projects, while others would be best for specific projects.

The same can be said for softwoods. While most softwoods are, in fact, softer than most hardwoods, there are some that are harder. Most softwoods make for great CNC router table projects. If you’re in the market for a new CNC router table, contact Wright CNC to purchase one of the best CNC routers.

Softwoods

In our blog about wood types that are good for CNC router table projects, we mentioned that softwoods are one of the best options for machining. Due to their softer properties, they’re easier to cut. That being said, having a sharp, quality router bit is the key to making sure the wood doesn’t splinter. Softwoods are also less fire-resistant, so it’s important not to run the router bit at too high of speed or the wood will heat and start to smoke. Choose any one of these coniferous trees for your next CNC router table project and you’ll have amazing results.

Cedar

There are a couple of different types of cedar to choose from: Yellow and Western Red. Yellow Cedar can range from white and yellow to light brown. It’s easy to work with and great for a variety of projects. It ranks at a two out of five on the hardness scale.

Western Red Cedar also contains white, yellow, and light brown, but it also contains more pinks and pink-browns, giving it more red coloring. It’s also very versatile and even softer than yellow cedar. It ranks at about a one out of five on the hardness scale.

Douglas Fir

This type of softwood is one of the world’s most popular and well-known types of wood. It has more of a pinkish-brown color, with a heartwood that ranges from yellow and orange to a reddish brown, and sapwood that is paler. It is slightly harder than other softwoods, ranging from two to three out of five, but is still very easy to machine.

Pine

Pine is another type of conifer that has more than one species. In fact, pine consists of a variety of species that range in color and hardness. Caribbean, Celery Top, Hoop, Klinki, Radiata, Scots, and Slash are all different types of pine. They range in hardness from two to five on the hardness scale, with Scots Pine and Klinki Pine being the softest and Caribbean Pine being the hardest. Their colors range from lighter white, yellow, and light brown to pink, pinkish-brown, and reddish-brown.

Redwood

Redwood is a type of wood that’s true to its name: it’s red. Darker than other softwoods, its rich color is unique and varies only in how light or dark of red that it is. It has a hardness of about two out of five. That, paired with the straight grain of its wood, makes it great for machining and a variety of projects.

Spruce

Norway Spruce and Pine-Fir Spruce are the two species of this softwood and look very similar to one another. They are both whitish-yellow, with a very subtle difference in the heartwood. The heartwood of the Norway Spruce has slightly darker browns and reds, while the Pine-Fir Spruce has a heartwood that remains more yellow. They both have a straight grain that is fairly even and, along with being less than a two on the hardness scale, making them both easy to machine.

Yew

Yew is a name given to a variety of coniferous trees. Because of this, different species of yew grow all over the world and are generally named after the area that they grow in. Yew is generally one of the harder softwoods, making it more difficult to work with. That being said, it can still be great for projects involving larger cuts.


There are a variety of softwoods that you can choose from for your next project on your CNC router table. Softwoods are a great option because they’re affordable and easy to machine. If you want a darker finish, staining is always an option on lighter woods like softwoods. If you’re interested in purchasing a CNC router table of your own, check out our selection at Wright CNC.

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