10 Surprising Facts About Wood

Recently, we were asked what type of nailer to use with a specific wood. And it got us thinking—what about wood? We talk a lot about tools and fasteners, but not so much about the actual material we use to build, make and play. So we compiled 10 interesting tidbits about wood. After all, where would we be without pine for lumber, or the hickory bats used in America’s favorite pastime? So, let’s take a swing and learn a few things.

A Wooden Bridge Over a Creek

Here are 10 Cool Facts About Wood:


1. Trees not only absorb water, they filter and produce it. A single tree can absorb up to 100 gallons of water and release it into the air—in a day.

2. There are more than 23,000 types of trees. They’re broadly divided into two groups—hardwood and softwood.

3. The terms “hardwood” and "softwood” can be a bit misleading, as they don’t necessarily refer to the strength of the wood, but rather how the tree propagates. Hardwood trees are deciduous, have enclosed seeds and lose their leaves in a season. Most softwoods are evergreen with their seeds residing in cones. 

4. Cedar, pine, fir, and other softwoods make up approximately 80% of the lumber used in construction, including framing and roofing. (Shop our framing or roofing tools and fasteners here). Softwoods are fast growing, more easily worked, and feature a wide grain.

Image of Wooden Flooring

5. Often used for carving, oak is extremely durable but difficult to work. It has a high tannin content, which makes it resistant to attack by insects. Take a wild guess at America's national tree.

6. Oak and southern yellow pine (SYP) are the two most common woods used in pallet making. (See our tools for pallet and crate assembly.) 

7. A softwood, cedar is used to make roof shingles. Easily sawed and nailed, cedar is a good insulator and it's resistant to humidity.

8. Some of the most common natural woods used in flooring include the hardwoods maple, cherry, and oak. Other popular choices are teak and walnut. Click here to shop flooring tools and fasteners.)

9. Native to North America, the Douglas fir is the traditional choice of Christmas trees. Other popular types include Scotch pine, cypress, cedar, and Colorado blue spruce.

10. A 12-ton Norway spruce was used for the 2018 Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. After the holidays, the wood will be cut into pieces, kiln dried and milled. The finished beams will be donated to Habitat for Humanity.

Closeup of a Christmas Tree and Light

Need a fun project for using leftover pallet wood? Habitat posted some steps for making a pallet Christmas tree. If anyone decides to try it, please post about it, below!


~ The Nail Gun Depot Team

Leave a Reply


  • Darrell December 18, 2018 at 6:11 AM

    I am putting up cedar shingles on a wall. Can you recommend the best gun to use for the shingles? And what size staples or nails.
    Thank you

    • Nail Gal December 19, 2018 at 4:27 AM

      Hi Darrell,

      We recommend the Metabo HPT (Hitachi) NV65AH2M nailer or Everwin SCN65 nailer. Either would work for your application. The nail length you'll need depends on the thickness of the material, so we'll leave that to you, but you'll want to use stainless steel nails for cedar shingles. Good luck!

  • Annette Costner January 28, 2019 at 1:11 PM

    The staples are not going in all the way, and I have air compressor 100 psi which is what gun calls for. What is the problem? Please reply...

    • Nail Gal January 29, 2019 at 4:04 AM

      Hi Annette, thanks for your question. That's not a lot to go on. We'd have to know more about your specific application and materials (type of fasteners, tool model, specific material, etc). If you need help with an item purchased from Nail Gun Depot, please contact our Customer Service.

  • Joshua Riley December 12, 2019 at 1:43 PM

    What is the hardest wood? Your tool works better when ponding into hard wood correct? You wouldn’t want soft wood for pounding right?

    • Nail Gun Depot December 16, 2019 at 12:00 PM

      The hardest commercially available hardwood is hickory, and it is five times harder than aspen, one of the “soft” hardwoods, per the American Hardwood Information Center. Most nail guns are designed to drive into a variety of woods - albeit, softer woods will show more surface damage if depth of drive is not properly used.

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