Softwoods are made from conifer trees like pine and spruce, while hardwoods are broad leafed trees like oak and maple. Softwood is used much more often in furniture, house framing, plywood, etc. because it is cheap and abundant. This is because it grows faster when its young then broad leafed trees do. Conifer trees tend to sprout quickly and then level off in growth, meaning they should be harvested at a young age. Hardwoods take longer to sprout and grow, but once they are established, produce far more wood. This is why hardwoods tend to be more expensive and are used for nicer applications, because it is a rarer wood then ordinary, industrial pine.
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