Hemlock Wood vs. Pine Wood

Hemlock wood and Pinewood are two types of softwood used for different purposes. Pinewood is native to the Northern Hemisphere and can make high-value carpentry items such as windows, floors, roofs, furniture, etc. They are coniferous trees that can reach a height of 150 feet.

On the other hand, Hemlock wood is native to North America, East Asia, and Central Asia. Hemlock trees can reach a height of more than 100 feet and can live for more than 500 years. It can make cabinets, roof decking, furniture, and general construction.

These two wood choices have advantages, disadvantages, similarities, and differences, but which is the best choice for your purpose? In terms of cost, hemlock wood is costlier than pine wood as pine wood is high in availability.

Hemlock Wood vs Pine
 Hemlock WoodPine Wood
ColorThe color of the sapwood ranges from white to pale brown. The color of the heartwood ranges from pale yellow to pale brownThe color of the sapwood ranges from creamy white to yellow. The color of the heartwood is light brown, which sometimes looks reddish. 
GrainHemlock wood grain is generally straight but can sometimes be spiraled.The grain of pine wood is usually uneven, having a striped or wavy appearance.
TextureHemlock wood has a coarse and uneven texture.Pine wood has a delicate but uneven texture.
WorkabilityIt glues well, stains well, and finishes nicely. Although, the wood tends to splinter when being worked on and it takes time to dry.Pine wood is easy to work with; it glues well, nails well and finishes well. The only problem is that it has many knotswhich makes it difficult to cut.
DensityIt has a density of 41-50 lb./ft³It has a density of 22-53lb./ft³

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Key Differences Between Hemlock Wood and Pine Wood

Strength

When it comes to strength, hemlock wood has the upper hand as it is stronger and stiffer than pine wood. It is heavy but works well with tools and will last for about 5-10 years in good conditions.

Hemlock wood is considered moderately strong with a bending strength of 11,300 psi and a compressive strength of 7200 psi. It also has a stiffness of 1.63 Mpsi and a hardness of 540 lb.

Pinewood is considered to be solid and more durable than most softwoods. The bending strength of white pine is 8,600 psi, and the compressive strength is 4,800 psi. It also has a stiffness of 1.24 Mpsi and a hardness of 380 lb.

Durability

When purchasing wood for any construction, durability is essential. It is what determines how long your wood will last. In terms of durability, hemlock wood is considered not durable for some reasons.

One reason is that it is not resistant to rot and decay, making it a wrong choice for outdoor furniture. Hemlock wood will last you for about 5-10 years in good condition. One good advantage of this wood is that it can resist insect attacks.

Pinewood is a very durable wood capable of resisting warping, shrinkage, and swelling. It also does a great job of resisting moisture. The wood is not precisely rot-resistant, but old-growth pine is somewhat resistant to rot.

Cost

Everyone wants to purchase wood that is affordable and high-quality. Pinewood is high in availability because the trees have a fast growth rate. This makes the wood more affordable than most softwoods. Therefore, pine is cheaper than hemlock wood. The price ranges between $4.50-$10 per square foot.

Hemlock wood is considered the more expensive option between the two, even though it is cheaper than some other softwoods. The price ranges between $15-$16 per square foot.

Similarities Between Hemlock Wood and Pine Wood

When it comes to similarities, hemlock and Pinewood do not have much in common, apart from belonging to the same family.

They Both Belong to the Pine Family

Hemlock wood is usually described as a pinewood with fewer knots because it belongs to the pine family but has little to zero knots as the Pinewood does. The Pinaceae family (pine family) included coniferous trees such as pines, spruces, cedars, and hemlocks.

These trees or shrubs usually have needle-like leaves alongside membranous scales and refined grains. These trees grow from 7-300 feet tall, and they are mostly evergreen trees. There are 115 species in the pine family.

Pros and Cons of Hemlock Wood

Pros

  • Hemlock wood is moderately hard, increasing its durability and making it suitable for sub-floors, roofing, and framing purposes.
  • Hemlock wood is better at resisting warping than pine wood.
  • Once hemlock wood dries appropriately, it is capable of holding paint well.
  • Hemlock wood has a smooth texture, making it easy to finish and stain well.

Cons

  • The wood is not resistant to rot and decay, making it a wrong choice for outdoor furniture.
  • It is an expensive choice compared to pine wood.
  • It is capable of producing dangerous chemicals during the manufacturing process. These chemicals can cause skin allergies and breathing problems.
  • Hemlock wood is prone to splinters which are usually complicated and small.

Pros and Cons of Pine Wood

Pros

  • Pine wood is a cheaper option compared to hemlock wood.
  • It is lightweight, which makes it easy to work with.
  • It is capable of resisting shrinking and swelling.
  • The grain and pattern of Pinewood give it a natural aesthetic design that is pleasing to the eye.
  • It is a good choice for floors that will be put in high-traffic areas.
  • It is a great option for ornaments as it is mostly used as a Christmas tree.

Cons

  • Pinewood is susceptible to scratches and dents.
  • When exposed to sunlight, the color changes.
  • It requires constant care as it has low moisture resistance.
  • It contains a lot of knots which usually makes it harder to work with.

Conclusion

Hemlock and pine wood are two great options for your woodwork constructions. When you examine all the properties, disadvantages, and advantages, you will tell which is the better choice for you in terms of durability, workability, affordability and appearance. Hemlock wood or pine wood? It all depends on your purpose and what exactly your needs are.

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