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Hardwood or softwood


Alan Zoff

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I have been offered, for me to buy, some new "external window cills". They were advertised as hardwood and I wanted some weather-resistant hardwood to finish off a project. Now the seller says she BELIEVES they are hardwood but doesn't have any proof or know enough to be absolutely certain.

I am going to take a look tomorrow. Is there a straightforward way for a novice to identify hardwood from softwood?
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Generally hard woods are much closer grained than soft wood.

Assuming these are not made of Balsa, a small pointed object stuck* in will usually differentiate between soft and hard woods, but as Grumpy says this is not infallible. Otherwise as he says it is down to hands on and experience.

* do chose a bit that will not show later.
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Thanks T. I went to look at it this morning and established that it's a fairly close-grained softwood that has been pressure treated. Recommended for window cills and other exposed external woodwork. Seller couldn't find the receipt and guarantee lost in house move but I bought it anyway as it is some nice looking timber at a very fair price.

Time now to put the plane, etc to - hopefully - good use.
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