What is the Hardest Wood

What is the Hardest Wood

What is the Hardest Wood

Different types of wood are harder than others, making it difficult to determine a single winner. Some of the hardest woods include Australian Buloke, Schinopsis brasiliensis, Schinopsis balansae, Lignum vitae, Piptadenia Macrocarpa, African Blackwood, Snakewood, Brazilian Olivewood and Brazilian Walnut.

How is Wood Hardness Measured?

There’s no single answer to this question. Wood hardness is measured in at least two different ways, depending on the species of wood and the measurement technique used. There are several types of scales for measuring hardness, none universally recognized as “correct” by all users.

A simple scale that has seen good usage in recent decades is the Janka hardness test (JH), also known as Rapid Hardness (RH). The face value gives rise to a simplified ranking which reflects how fast a cylindrical needle will penetrate into wood. 

If it takes 500 pounds-force(lbf) on an American Society for Testing Materials A machine foot-pound-second drop weight machine  to penetrate one inch into the wood, then that species has a Janka hardness of 500lbf.

Top 10 hardest wood

  1. Australian Buloke – 5,060 IBF

A species of tree native to Australia, ironwood trees are found across much of Eastern and Southern Australia.. The wood is heavy and strong, making it a popular choice for construction projects. Known as the hardest wood in the world, this particular type has a Janka hardness of 5,060 lbf

      2. Schinopsis brasiliensis – 4,800 IBF

The Schinopsis brasiliensis, a species of flowering plant in the cashew family, is native to Brazil and generates an exceptionally robust wood with a high specific density.

It is an excellent choice for outdoor applications, but its use has been limited by the difficulty of machining it. Due to this immense hardness and strength, this wood is often used in construction.

  1. Schinopsis balansae – 4,570 IBF

Schinopsis balansae is third on the list of hardest woods with a rating of 4,570 IBF. This wood is classified as an extremophilic or “extreme-loving” species because it has survived in the harshest environments on the planet.

It has also been able to stand up to centuries of abuse, making it a popular choice for outdoor furniture and floors.

  1. Lignum vitae – 4,500 IBF 

Lignum vitae, a trade wood from the Caribbean and northern South America, is obtained from trees of the genus Guaiacum. The lumber has been used since the 16th century and boasts excellent strength, density, and toughness in the Janka hardness test.

  1. Piptadenia Macrocarpa – 3,840 IBF

It comes from a tree native to areas including Argentina, Bolivia and Peru. This wood is dense and heavy with a rating of 3,840 on the IBF scale. It is resistant to decay and fungus, making it a popular choice for outdoor applications such as decks and floors.

  1. African Blackwood – 3,720 IBF

African Blackwood is another type of hardwood that is found in Africa. This wood is dense and strong with a hardness rating of 3,720 on the IBF scale. This makes it ideal for applications such as furniture, musical instruments, and knife.

  1. Snakewood – 3,800 IBF 

Snakewood is a tropical tree found in South America. The tree has a hardness rating of 3,800 IBF which makes it one of the hardest woods in the world. This wood is very dense with a fine grain pattern.

  1. Brazilian Olivewood – 3,700 IBF

This wood has an exotic, beautiful appearance and a Janka rating of 3,700. Exotic household furniture may profit considerably from the use of this sturdy hardwood.

    9. Brazilian Walnut – 3,684 IBF

This wood comes from Central and South America and has a grain that ranges from straight to irregular or interlocked. With a Janka hardness of 3,684, this indoor or outdoor in nature.

   10. African Pearwood – 3,680 IBF

The African blackwood tree (Simaruba odorata) is a species that can be found in Angola, Cameroon, the Republic of Congo, Gabon and Nigeria. It is one of the hardest woods in the world with a Janka hardness rating of 3,700 lbf (16,030 N).

This wood has a beautiful dark brown color with faint green or white streaks.


The top 10 hardest wood list has a variety of types and uses. The Australian Buloke is the strongest, but Schinopsis brasiliensis is an excellent choice for outdoor applications due to its high specific density and resistance to decay and fungus.

All these trees may be used in construction projects as well as furniture making–whether it’s yard or indoor items. Which type do you think would work best for your project?

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