What is the Strongest Wood?


Do you want to get the hardest wood for your construction needs? Then, you’d need to answer this question first: What is the strongest wood? To do so, you can trust on Janka Hardness Test - a wood hardness rating standard. This kind of test is created by Gabriel Janka to measure the force need to embed a steel ball into the surface of the wood. It has been used on various woods to determine the most suitable species for flooring and is measured by pounds-force (lbf).


The hardest woods are those who are more prone to resist wear and dent. So if you need the most durable material, whether it’s for your house or a company building, you might want to check out this top 10 strongest wood.

10. African Pearwood or Moabi (3,680 lbf)

African Pearwood or Moabi is sometimes pinkish brown or dark red-brown in color. The color is an indication of its age. The darker it is, the older the wood. When cut, you’ll see grain patterns in it like that of a beeswing, mottled, and pommele. The grain can be fine and even, but will range from wavy to straight. The wood does not produce any kind of odor.

With 3,680 lbf, it is durable and resistant to insects. However, you can easily work with it using machine or hand tools. It also glues, turns, and finishes quite well and responds better to steam bending. Just remember that African Pearwood is high in silica content; thus its cutting edges will dull with tool steel. Also, it’s known to cause severe reactions like nose and eye irritation if handled without protection.

African Pearwood is usually used in making veneer, fine furniture, turned objects, cabinets, and other specialty products.

African Pearwood or Moabi

veneer in a roll

9. Brazilian Walnut (3,684 lbf)

Also known as Ipe or Lapacho, the Brazilian Walnut is sometimes reddish brown in color, sometimes yellowish olive, and sometimes brackish brown. Thus, it can be difficult to distinguish with other woods like Cumaru. However, Brazilian Walnut tends to be a little darker and it lacks the vanilla scent common in Cumaru. Its texture ranges from medium to fine and its grain can vary from interlocked to straight.

With 3,684 lbf, it’s very durable and can resist insects and weather changes. In fact, it’s said to have been used as the boardwalk in Coney Island, New York and has lasted for 25 years. Working with Brazilian Walnut can be difficult, though. It is dense and hard so it has high cutting resistance. Its yellow deposits can get in the way of polishing, too. Moreover, it’s said to cause eye, respiratory, and skin irritation if handled without protection.

Brazilian Walnut is usually used in decking, veneer, exterior lumber, flooring, etc.

8. Brazilian Ebony (3,692 lbf)

Brazilian Ebony is a heavy wood that comes with a range of figures and colors. It can be streaked or marble-like. It can be olive brown or blackish with light markings. When cut, the colors can be bold and bright. However, once exposed to light and air, it can turn dark. This wood is oily and low-luster. Its texture is often fine and uniform and its grain is usually straight but can sometimes be irregular.

Since this wood is hard, it can be resistant to sanding and cutting. Also, working with hand tools can be difficult. It does hold nails well once they’re applied and be polished to a good finish with lesser difficulty.

Brazilian Ebony is good for planking and decking. You can also use it for railing, trim works, and fittings.



7. Brazilian Olivewood (3,700 lbf)

Though one of the lesser-known woods, there’s no doubt that Brazilian Olivewood can compete with the others when it comes to durability. It comes with dark brown or yellow-brown color. Its grain is straight and its texture is usually fine.

Brazilian Olivewood is durable to any kinds of fungi. The presence of demarcated sapwood might be one of the reasons for its durability. It can blunt hand tools, so slicing is not recommended. You might also have trouble when it comes to interlocked grain. Nailing is good and gluing can be done for the interior.

You can use this wood for flooring, paneling, high-class furniture, ship building, bridges, joinery, and more.

6. Snakewood (3,800 lbf)

Snakewood is also known as Letterwood or Amourette. It got its after its snakeskin pattern. This wood is usually reddish brown with dark patches. It can darken with exposure and age. It has a natural luster to it. The wood’s grain is straight and its texture is fine. It has a mild scent which is somehow similar to Bloodwood.

With 3,800 lbf, Snakewood is highly durable and resistant to any kinds of insect attack. However, it’s rarely used in exterior construction where durability can be an issue. Since the wood is dense, it can blunt cutters. It is also brittle, so it can splinter if not handled well. Despite this, it can finish to a high-quality polish. Moreover, it rarely creates an allergic reaction.

You can use Snakewood as tool handles, veneer, inlay, violin bows, and more.

table of veneered samples

table of veneered samples

5. Brazilian Tiger Mahogany (3,840 lbf)

There’s little known about this exotic wood. But as its name suggests, it can exhibit a variety of stripings and colors. The stripes can range from bold strokes to fine lines and the color can range from dark to light. The color changes with exposure and age, though.

Brazilian Tiger Mahogany is durable and hard. Thus, it can easily dull cutting tools. It’s mainly used for outdoor construction like in railroads, marine ships, and implement handles. It’s rarely used as flooring, but there are some companies that offer them.

4. Pockholz (4,500 lbf)

Pockholz is also known as lignum vitae and guayacan. As one of the hardest and most durable wood, you can hardly find this greenish wood in local construction shops. It is also the densest traded wood; thus, it can easily sink in water. Pockholz is usually used as heavy bails against windy conditions. It is also used in making croquet mallets, lawn bowls, deadeyes of sailing ships, etc.


deadeyes of sailing ships

3. Quebracho Colorado (4,570 lbf)

Quebracho Colorado can be medium or light reddish brown. Sometimes, it has dark black streaks. Prolonged exposure can darken it further. Its texture is fine and uniform and its grain is interlocked and irregular. It also has a natural luster to it. When it comes to odor, it has none.

With 4,570 lbf, Quebracho is highly durable. It has top weathering characteristic and is resistant to any insect attack. On the other hand, it is very difficult to work with it due to its irregular grain. It can easily blunt cutters and will crack during the drying. Still, it can turn and finish well.

This wood is often used in heavy construction like railroad ties and fence posts. However, it can also be used in making turned objects and furniture.

railroad ties

railroad ties

2. Chamacoco (4,800 lbf)

Chamacoco is of the same family as Quebracho Colorado. In fact, it also goes by the name Quebracho. However, it’s slightly stronger than the other. Its heartwood is reddish brown and its sapwood is yellowish white. The grain is interlocked and the texture is fine.

This wood is heavy and durable. Thus, it can be hard to work with it. It has a high blunting effect on tools but can plane, sand, and turn well.

Chamacoco is valued for its outdoor work. You can use it in making telegraph poles, railway sleepers, wooden bridges, fencing posts, and more.

telegraph poles

telegraph poles

1. Australian Buloke (5,060 lbf)

Australian Buloke comes in reddish brown color. Its sapwood is yellowish brown and it can come with lace-like patterns. Its texture is uniform and its grain is usually straight, but sometimes interlocked.

The world’s hardest wood, it can be difficult to work with. Tearout can happen when planing and surfacing. It can be used in flooring, knife handles, turned objects, fine furniture, and other construction needs.

Final Thoughts

You can choose any wood from the list when choosing durable material for construction.

However, for flooring, we would recommend Brazilian Walnut and for heavy construction, the Chamacoco.

Why? It’s because according to your needs, these are the strongest and the most accessible. Australian Buloke is very hard to get as you can rarely find it outside Australia.

If you have more questions about this topic, just leave a comment below.

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