Wood is one of the most widely used materials in the world due to its beauty, versatility and durability. The Janka scale organises wood by hardness and is one of the factors that is considered when creating pieces of furniture or, in our case, worktops.
Credit : wikipedia
What is the Janka hardness test?
Developed by Gabriel Janka, the Janka hardness test measures how resistant wood is to denting and general wear. To do this, a steel ball measuring 11.28 millimetres in diameter is driven into a piece of wood until it reaches halfway. The force required to do this is measured in pounds (lbs) or newtons which gives Janka hardness. Due to grain direction, this test can be conducted on both the surface of the wood (side hardness) and the edge of the wood (end hardness).
Comparing Our Solid Wood Worktops
Our solid wood worktops are available in a variety of woods including European, African and American species. Wenge is the hardest wood that we supply and birch is the softest. However, every single one of our timbers is of equal quality and is suitable for use as a work surface in any kitchen.
This table shows our different timbers arranged by hardness according to the Janka scale. At first glance, there might seem to be a big difference between the woods. In reality this difference is not so drastic, especially when you consider that the softest wood in the world, balsa, has a Janka hardness rating of 70 lbs. Even birch, our softest wood, is far harder than this.
1,630 lbs (7,300 N)
1,575 lbs (7,010 N)
1,510 lbs (6,700 N)
1,450 lbs (6,450 N)
1,380 lbs (6,450 N)
1,320 lbs (5,900 N)
1,300 lbs (5,783 N)
1,260 lbs (5,600 N)
1,220 lbs (5,410 N)
1,210 lbs (5,380 N)
1,120 lbs (5,000 N)
1,010 lbs (4,500 N)
995 lbs (4,430 N)
960 lbs (4,280 N)
910 lbs (4,000 N)
Black American Walnut
Explaining Hard Wood and Soft Wood
The terms softwood and hardwood seem self-explanatory – unfortunately, this is not the case. Softwood refers to timber that is harvested from conifers, including pine, whereas hardwood comes from broadleaf trees like oak, ash and maple. These terms can cause confusion, but essentially, they have nothing to do with the hardness of the timber. In fact, some softwoods are harder than some hardwoods.
Using the Janka Scale to Choose Your Worktop
When choosing a worktop for your kitchen, timber hardness might not be your predominant variable. You might be more interested in the colour or the grain pattern of the wood. The Janka scale is worth keeping in mind though, especially if you have narrowed your choice down to two or three worktops.
All of the worktops that we supply are suitably hard for use in even the busiest of kitchens. Wenge is a very dense, dark wood that works particularly well in contemporary kitchens. Birch, on the other hand, is much lighter, both in terms of weight and colour and is appropriate for a more traditional kitchen.
Now you know how the Janka scale relates to the timber we supply. If you would like to learn more about our solid wood worktops, why not browse our wooden worktops information guides. Alternatively, you could leave your thoughts in the comments below or head over to Facebook and Twitter for inspiration and ideas.