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Basswood vs Pine: Which Takes the Crown?

Basswood and pine are two of the most common picks for any type of wood project. Even guitar enthusiasts get confused regarding which one to pick. But to pick the one you should know the differences.

What are the dissimilarities between basswood vs pine?  

Both wood types have a slight price difference. For example, basswood is pricier than pine. Basswood is also less durable than pine. Plus pine has different types that result in different hardness levels. For people who are smell-sensitive, basswood is a better choice as pine has a distinct odor. 

Does this small portion of differences clear things for you? If not, you can check out our detailed comparison of the wood types. That’ll surely clear the confusion. 

Let’s pick the best wood! 

Pine vs Basswood: Sneak Peek 

Pine and basswood have some similarities. This makes people a little confused. But these two have many dissimilarities. These can help you figure out which suits you better. 

That’s the reason why I have arranged a quick and short segment here. This section of straightforward comparison will give you the primary idea you need. 

You should also go through a quick comparison while picking between maple and basswood

Here’s the short comparison:

Factors BasswoodPine
Cost Expensive Cheap
Hardwood or softwoodHardwoodBoth
Durability and strength Less durable and weakerMore durable and stronger 
Difficulty level of wood carving Less difficult More difficult 
Ability to resist rotLess rot resistant More rot resistant 
Color Whitish to light brown (sapwood), heartwood color not defined well enoughYellowish to white (sapwood), yellowish or reddish brown (heartwood)
Grain and appearance Straight grain with refined lookStraight but textured grain with rustic look
Suitable for outdoor or indoorIndoor onlyBoth 
Uses Best for wood carving Best for construction projects
Sustainability Less sustainable More sustainable 

So many differences! Got your answers yet? If not, you have to stay with me a little longer. Because in the next part I’ve explained these features to show which one’s better. 

Basswood vs Pine: Detailed Comparison 

We’ve already learned some of the core differences between basswood and pine. But let’s get into the in-depth details-

Price & Availability 

Pine and basswood are both widely available. That’s why you’ll have no problem finding the right cut or piece of both wood types. 

But when you check the price tag of these two, you’ll notice an obvious difference. For example, you’ll find pine in the price range of $1.40 to $2.18 for every board foot. 

On the other hand, you’ll see that basswood in that same quantity is more expensive. Basswood would cost you around $3.45 to $7.30. As a result, while buying this wood you’ll have to add more dollars to your budget. 

Here are some of my recommendations regarding both pine and basswood:

Product 1
Product 2

Pick the one that suits you. But be sure to read my entire piece before.

Hardness Level

Before starting any wood projects, you should consider one pretty important thing. That’s checking the hardness level of the piece of wood you’ve chosen. 

In most cases, the hardness level is measured as the Janka hardness level. In the case of basswood, the Janka hardness is 410. 

After seeing this rating, you may say that basswood is quite hard. But the hardness of pine comes with a twist. 

In most cases, basswood might seem a harder type of wood than some pine. But as mentioned before, pine has different varieties. 

When the hardness of both wood types is ranked on the Janka scale, pine will be the harder piece of wood.

Let’s check out the hardness of different pines:

Pine Wood TypeJanka Hardness 
Southern White 380
White Pine420
Southern Yellow 870
Heart Pine1225
Red Pine1570

You see? Only the Southern White variety is softer than basswood. Other varieties are much harder in comparison to basswood.

Durability and Rot Resistance 

Durability is a serious issue in the case of every wood type. Even while picking between birch and alder, you should consider which one is more durable.

You know that pine is considered softwood so is it durable enough? 

Yes, pine is much more durable than basswood even though basswood is considered a hardwood. In fact, pine can resist rot and infestation of insects. 

As a result, it can stay the same for a long time. But you definitely have to take care of it. Otherwise, it wouldn’t last a decade. 

In reverse, basswood can’t survive rot and insect infestation. It’ll not last as long as pine. You can only be happy with this wood for only a few years. But with proper care, it may last a little longer. 

In conclusion, pine wins when it’s about durability. 

Suitability for Outdoor Work

Whether or not a wood type is suitable for outdoors or indoors depends on two things: durability and hardness. The answer to your concern has already been answered before. 

But let’s see a recap-

Basswood is not as hard as most varieties of pine. As a result, it can’t resist rot or survive an insect infestation. This makes it less suitable for outdoor woodwork. 

If you have outdoor wood projects, pine is definitely the only option available. But for indoor woodwork, both types are outstanding choices. 

Appearance 

The outer look is important for any type of woodwork. Both pine and basswood are pretty similar yet still a little different. 

Pine has different varieties so the color for each is also different. But when it comes to sapwood it’s mostly a bit yellowish-white. In terms of heartwood, the wood is mainly light yellowish or reddish brown. 

Basswood, on the contrary, in terms of sapwood, it’s mainly light white to brown. In the case of heartwood, the color is not defined that well. 

When it comes to appearance, grain is another important part. Both the wood types have straight grain. 

But the grain in pine is much stronger and textured than that of basswood. This makes it an excellent choice for projects that require a rustic look and sturdy body. 

On the other hand, basswood has less textured and strong grain. As a result, it’s a great option if you need to give your woodwork a refined look. 

Smell

Are you a smell-sensitive person? 

If yes, this is an important segment for you. Because knowing which wood has what type of smell will surely help you avoid the one you don’t want. 

Basswood doesn’t have a smell that can be characterized. That’s why it’s good for people who are sensitive to smell.

But White pine, unlike basswood, has a resinous smell. This smell can be pleasant to some while irritating to others. 

Which one are you?

Different Uses

Basswood is a hardwood that’s not difficult to work with as it has closed pores. You can easily cut it by hand or with tools. 

This wood type is used mostly while woodworking and wood carving. It’s also used in the manufacture of lumber and plywood. 

Sometimes it can be used for your electric guitars too. It’s a popular choice of wood among guitar enthusiasts. 

On the other hand, due to its stiffness, pine is used for construction purposes. It’s a good option for subflooring, making boxes, interior trim, and making posts or poles. Pine is a popular option in case you want to craft too. 

Sustainability

You’ll be happy to know that both basswood and pine are sustainable. You’ll have no difficulty in growing or taking care of them.

These wood trees don’t require many chemicals and pesticides too. As a result, you’ll not be harming the environment. 

If I have to choose one for being more sustainable, it’d be pine. Because it’s easy to take care of and lasts a long time.

Final Verdict: Which Is the Better Wood?

I’m done from my side! 

I’ve discussed all the differences now it’s your time to decide. To make it a bit easier, I want to give you the last push!

If you’re looking for cheap and durable wood, pine is obviously the better choice. You can use it for both your indoor and outdoor work, construction, or even crafting. 

But if your budget is flexible and you want something refined for your indoor woodwork, pick basswood. You won’t regret the decision. 

FAQs

Is basswood similar to pine?

No, basswood isn’t the same as pine. Both have different characteristics and uses. Basswood is hardwood while pine is softwood. Basswood is good wood carving while softwood is good construction.

What wood is comparable to basswood?

Basswood is comparable to mostly birch, pine, and soft maple. All four types have similar grain densities. This density points out which points out the carving difficulty.

What is basswood used for?

Basswood is mostly used in wood carving. Because this hardwood is easy to cut and work with. But basswood can also be used for building musical instruments such as guitars. 

Parting Words

Found what you’re looking for in the debate of basswood vs pine? I hope you did.

By the way, did you know pine has over 100 different species? 

That’s why I’m here to give you one last piece of advice. If you want to do woodworking, go for Sugar pine. You’ll love the results!

That’s it! Have a good time working with your favorite wood!