Gmelina Wood Strength (& Is It a Hardwood or a Softwood?)

Is Gmelina a Hardwood or a Softwood? (& Is It Strong?)

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Gmelina is a type of wood with 35 different species that grow across the globe. It is most commonly found around tropical areas in Australia, New Guinea, New Caledonia, Southeast Asia, India, and Africa. The most common use of this timber is for pulp, plywood, packaging, particle board, and matches.

Continue reading to find out more about gmelina’s strength as well as whether it’s a hardwood or a softwood.

Is Gmelina a Hardwood or a Softwood?

Before I answer this question here is a short explanation of what defines a hardwood or softwood. Chances are it isn’t what you think.

When the seeds dropped by a tree produce a coating, the wood is classified as hardwood. This coating can either resemble a fruit, shell, or nut. If the seeds are dropped to the ground without any coating, they will be classified as softwoods. This doesn’t always show whether a type of timber is soft or hard, it merely is what categorizes it as softwood or hardwood.

Now we have cleared that up, we can answer the above question.

Yes, gmelina is considered a hardwood as the tree drops seeds that resemble a small piece of fruit. However, this type of wood has all the properties of softwood and is in fact a lot weaker than many softwoods.

Gmelina Wood Strength: All You Need to Know

Listed below is all you need to know when it comes to the strength, stiffness, hardness, and density of gmelina.

We also added the same test results for pine and black walnut to give a clear example of how the hardwood gmelina stacks up against a common softwood such as pine and a common hardwood like black walnut.

Compressive Strength

The compressive strength of gmelina is 4,801.5 lbf/in2 (2.75 GPa). In comparison, pine has a compressive strength of 5,075 lbf/in2 (3.4 GPa), while black walnut comes in at 7,975 lbf/in2 (4.8 GPa).

The way that this test is conducted is by clamping a length of timber from end grain to end grain and measuring how much force it can take before it begins to compress. Compressive strength is important to know for beams and stud work. If the compressive strength of timber is too low it will not be able to bear a heavy load.

Bending Strength (Modulus of Rupture)

The modulus of rupture of dry gmelina is 9,425 lbf/in2 (65 MPa). As for pine, this softwood has a bending strength of 8,598.5 lbf/in2 (59.3 MPa), and black walnut has one of 14,601.5 lbs/in2 (100.7 MPa).

This test is performed by applying pressure to the center of a length of timber that is laying horizontally while elevated at both ends. It shows how much weight wood can withstand perpendicular to the grain.

Wood with a high-value modulus of rupture is necessary for woodworking jobs such as table and chair legs. A timber with a lower value would be perfect for a tabletop or bench, as the pressure is on the face of the timber and not perpendicular to the grain.

Stiffness (Modulus of Elasticity)

The stiffness or modulus of elasticity of gmelina is 1,305,342/in2 (9 GPa). When comparing pine in this test it has a modulus of elasticity of 1,450,380 lbf/in2 (10 GPa), while black walnut comes in at 1,667,937 lbf/in2 (11.5 GPa).

To measure this, a length of timber is placed in a three-point bend test.  This test goes hand in hand with the bending strength test. As the modulus of elasticity will show how much timber will deflect when a load is applied perpendicular to the grain.

Hardness (Janka Scale)

When using the Janka hardness test the result for gmelina is 719.3 lbf. When we place pine up against gmelina, pine has a Janka hardness of 380 lbf and black walnut of 1,010 lbf.

To perform this test an 11.2mm steel ball is forced into the center of a piece of timber. The amount of force it took to imbed the ball is then measured. A timber with a high Janka hardness value would be perfect for things such as flooring, studs, beams, decks, and roofing. A low-value timber is more suited for paneling, joinery, and musical instruments

Density

The density rating of gmelina is 31.7 lbs/ft3 (510 kg/m3). Whereas pine has a density of 26 lbs/ft3 (420 kg/m3) and black walnut has a density of 41 lbs/ft3 (660 kg/m3).

The density of timber is measured by calculating the ratio between the dry weight of wood divided by the green (wet) volume of the same wood. It is important because as the density value gets higher the strength of the wood increases.

The result of this makes things easier when choosing a certain timber. If strength isn’t a concern with your project then select a low-density rated wood as this is going to be much cheaper.

As we can see with these tests, black walnut far outweighs both of these timbers. Although pine is considered a softwood, its results are better than hardwood gmelina. This shows that although gmelina is considered a hardwood it is beaten in the majority of these tests by a softwood.

Is Gmelina Strong?

Although the softwood pine rated higher in the strength tests, gmelina is not to be looked past. In comparison to its weight gmelina is extremely strong.

This timber is used widely in construction, carpentry, woodworking, sports equipment, musical instruments, and furniture. This material is also very durable and is widely available.

Summary

As we can see from this article, gmelina is part of the hardwood family, although its strength is outweighed by a softwood such as pine. The reason this wood is considered a hardwood is that the adult gmelina tree drops seeds that resemble small green fruits.

Despite its low strength test scores, there are plenty of uses for this timber. Gmelina is perfect for construction jobs such as flooring, internal stud work, and plywood. Plus this timber is very affordable and has a constant supply on the market.