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What is Heartwood?

Heartwood is a term used to describe the wood that is at the center of a tree. There are two primary categories used to depict the naturally occurring wood of a tree: heartwood and sapwood. For all intents and purposes, heartwood is considered to be the deadened core of the tree that is the result of a chemical transformation which occurs to strengthen the center of a tree as it grows in girth. The outer layers of wood that are still in the process of expanding are referred to as sapwood. The creation of heartwood is a naturally occurring process that transforms the properties of the wood at the core of the tree in order to aid in its resistance to decay.

Some projects are constructed entirely out of heartwood because of its extreme density and strength. Sapwood requires a drying period even after it has been cut into boards. Heartwood does not contain nearly as much moisture and is therefore less likely to warp. Though heartwood can be purchased exclusively, it is more expensive. Heartwood is also highly sought-after for its unique color qualities. Because heartwood is chemically different from a tree’s sapwood, the color quality will also be noticeably different.

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