Comparing wood properties

Recently I used purple heart and hard maple to make a chess set. These woods look great together, but there is a distinct difference between the ‘heft’ of the pieces. This is because they have a significant density contrast. So in the hunt for woods with similar densities for a future chess set, I made a simple bar graph for quick density comparisons. I gathered the data with permission from The Wood Database (an excellent resource).

While I was at it, I also made plots of specific gravity (relative to water), janka hardness (a measure of dent-resistance), elastic modulus (stiffness) and crushing strength (how much it can be compressed before failure). There is, of course, some deviation to be expected because of species variation, water content, et cetera.


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