The Janka hardness

The janka hardness chartJanka hardness test measures the hardness of wood. It measures the force required to embed a 0.444 inch steel ball into wood to half the ball’s diameter. It is a good measurement technique to determine the relative hardness across hardwoods.Red oak is used as the standard and its hardness is 1,290 on the Janka scale. White oak is just a bit harder at 1,360. Bamboo is a bit harder at 1,380 and maple a bit harder than that at 1,450.But, if you shift toward the exotic hardwoods from South America, the woods are on a different wavelength. The popular Brazilian Cherry is 2,350 – almost twice as hard as red oak. And, Brazilian walnut comes in at 3,684 – nearly triple the hardness of red oak.Below is a listing of many hardwoods so you can see the range of hardness. You’ll also note that most of the pines (which were used a LONG time ago) are low. They are rather soft and aren’t even considered hardwoods. They can dent very easily.Also note that there are some woods such as “cherry” and “walnut” that vary greatly based on their country of origin. Brazilian Cherry and Brazilian Walnut are very HARD; conversely American Cherry and American Walnut are very SOFT and will also dent very easily. So, if you are considering cherry or walnut, be sure to investigate further.Tree SpeciesHardness3,684 Brazilian Walnut Lapacho/Ipe3,540 Brazilian Teak/Cumaru/Brazilian Chestnut2,350 Brazilian Cherry/Jatoba2,200 Santos Mahogany/Cabrueva1,925 Merbau1,912 Brazilian Oak/Amendoim1,850 Tigerwood1,820 Hickory1,780 Rosewood1,710 Kempas1,630 Wenge1,575 Zebrawood1,570 Timborana1,510 Sapele1,450 Hard Maple1,380 Natural Bamboo1,360 White Oak1,320 Ash1,290 Red Oak1,260 Yellow Birch1,225 Heart Pine1,080 Peruvian Walnut1,010 American Walnut/Black Walnut950 American Cherry900 Cedar870 Southern Yellow Pine – Long leaf690 Southern Yellow Pine – Short leaf660 Douglas Fir