Hardest Woods

Top 10 Hardest Woods Worldwide | Wood Fact


The Australian Buloke wins the first spot as the hardest wood in the world. It has been determined by quantifying its hardness using the Janka rating. Generally, wood is a strong and durable building material, but wood is not created equal. There are softwoods, and there are hardwoods. Thus, when selecting a type of wood for your next project, it is important to consider your material’s strength and durability. 

The Hardness Indicator

There are hundreds of varieties of hardwood in North America. Hardness is an important factor to consider, which varies for different species. As one of the ways to determine the wood type, the hardness tells how well a wood can withstand dents and scratches. 

Meanwhile, the wood industry uses the Janka hardness scale to determine how many pounds of force (lbf) it takes to drive a 0.444-inch steel ball halfway into a piece of wood’s face grain. The harder the wood is, the greater the Janka grade and the more power is required to drive the ball into it. 

For instance, common red oak has a Janka hardness rating of 1220 lbf, which indicates that it would require 1220 pounds of force to embed the steel ball halfway. For comparison, the world’s hardest wood, Australian Buloke, has a Janka hardness of 5 060 lbf, while soft balsa wood needs 67 lbf.

Janka Scale tells the Hardest Woods.

As Australian Buloke takes the first spot, it is also important to shed light on the succeeding hardest woods. You may wonder, what is the second, the third, and so on? So, here are the top ten toughest kinds of wood in the world, along with some details about each kind.

Hardest WoodWood NameIBF (Pounds of Force)
#1Australian Buloke5,060 IBF
#2Schinopsis brasiliensis 4,800 IBF
#3Schinopsis balansae4,570 IBF
#4Lignum vitae4,500 IBF
#5Piptadenia Macrocarpa3, 840 IBF
#6Snakewood3, 800 IBF
#7Brazilian Olivewood3,700 IBF
#8Brazilian Ebony 3,692 IBF
#9Brazilian Walnut3, 684 lBF
#10African Pearwood 3,680 IBF

More about the strongest woods

Let’s delve deeper into knowing more information about the top 10 strongest woods.

Australian Buloke – 5,060 IBF

Dubbed as the ironwood tree. This wood is the hardest in the world, and the Australian border must be proud to present it. Specifically, it has a Janka rating of 5, 060 lbf. 

Schinopsis brasiliensis – 4,800 IBF

Brazil has something to be proud of because this wood species has seized the second spot for the hardest wood in the world. Schinopsis brasiliensis is a member of a flowering plant in the cashew family. With its Janka rating of 4, 800 lbf, this wood is often utilized for construction purposes. 

Schinopsis balansae – 4,570 IBF

Schinopsis balansae belongs to the hardwood family. As it dominates the large areas of Argentina and Paraguay forest, it also reigns in the fourth spot, the hardest wood type. Its tree can reach up to 24 meters in height, with a quantified hardness of 4 570 lbf.

Lignum vitae – 4,500 IBF 

No wonder why Lignum vitae has been used since the 16th century because of its amazing strength. It places fourth as the hardest wood with a Janka rating of 4, 500. Unfortunately, it needs another 70 lbf to surpass schinopsis balansae. But it does not matter for the Caribbean and the northern coast of South America where this wood originated because it is strong for them. 

Piptadenia Macrocarpa – 3, 840 IBF

The resiliency of this wood species originated from the vast land of Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru. Fortunately, it ranks fifth in the list, thanks to its 3 840 Janka rating. As a result, it is widely used in various residential and construction projects. 

Snakewood – 3, 800 IBF

Another competitive wood that has made it to crawl in the sixth spot is snakewood. On the other hand, snakewood is an exotic hardwood appreciated for its highly detailed grain structure, in contrast to the previous tree species. This South American wood is employed in the building industry where robust wood is required. Snakewood yields a Janka rating of 3,800 lbf.

Brazilian Olivewood – 3,700 IBF 

This wood, which has a Janka rating of 3,700, is exotic and lovely. Exotic furniture can greatly benefit from its presence when it combines a beautiful look with qualities like durability and strength.

Brazilian Ebony – 3,692 IBF

Brazilian ebony is a thick, dense wood found in Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. The Janka rating of this wonderful natural wood is 3,692. Brazilian ebony is ideal for use in planking and decking construction. It is resilient as well as shock-resistant. 

Brazilian Walnut – 3, 684 lBF

Brazilian Walnut is yet another tough wood from Central and South America. The tree grain on this particular specimen ranges from straight to interlaced to uneven. 3,684 lbf is the hardness rating for this wood, which made it to the ninth spot. As a result, it has been employed in both interior and outdoor construction projects.

African Pearwood – 3,680 IBF

The Republic of Congo, Gabon, Angola, Cameroon, and Nigeria are all home to this tenth hardest wood species. This wood, which has a Janka hardness grade of 3,680 lbf, may be found in tropical moist lowland forests.

The Hardest Conclusion

The list above is the top 10 hardest kinds of wood that ever existed. The Australian Buloke is gifted with enough strength to reach the first spot, making it the most popular. As a result, it has been used in the construction and furniture manufacturing industry for many years. 

However, it does not mean that other strong woods are neglected. There are still nine others on the list which are unique on their own, useful in so many ways, and full of wood facts that need to be explored.