Old Growth Vs New Growth Wood

Updated: Aug 10, 2019

Difference between old-grown and new grown-wood. Why does old grown timber perform much better than the timber grown the timber that is locally/farm grown.

OLD GROWTH - 1927 (Left) V/S New Growth - 2018 (Right)


The image above shows the difference between old growth teak wood and new growth teak wood. See how the grains are much tighter together in the old growth timber. Old-growth wood refers to wood from trees that belonged to forests that grew up over hundreds of years. A majority of today’s lumber is harvested from trees that have been cultivated to grow rapidly, so the wood is not as dense. As a result, it is weaker and more susceptible to decay and instability. Old-growth wood has nearly ten times the number of growth rings per inch (meaning that it is much denser) and is more resistant to decay or damage .Old-growth wood has distinct advantages over today’s wood: it is resistant to rot and termites, stronger and harder, and more stable.

Old growth timber comes from natural forests, there forest were allowed to grow naturally not from lumber farms. Unfortunately, most of these forests have been depleted now due to such high demand for wood. This means that newly logged wood you might buy are new growth.

Old growth wood grows slowly, due to natural competition for light and nutrients in forests. This slow growth rate resulted in very tightly packed growth rings. Tightly packed growth rings have many benefits.

New Growth Wood

As virgin forests depleted, lumber farms popped up to meet the increased demand for timber. These farms used fast growth trees and managed the forests in a way to maximize the growth of individual trees. This means that a tree can mature and be felled just 10-20 years after planting. If you just want a lot of timber this is good news, but there’s a catch. This new growth wood has grown so quickly that the growth rings are spaced far apart. They don’t have heartwood, which only forms after a tree has been around for around 50 years.

Denser Wood

Tighter packed growth rings = denser wood. More tightly packed growth rings result in denser wood. Denser wood means added security, less chance of splintering or splitting, and also better rot resistance. This is why doors from old or traditional homes from the 18th century are still useful today.

Less Warping & Termite ,Borer Attack

Less warping. The tightly packed rings in old growth wood mean there is less room for the wood to move. Compare this with new growth wood, which has younger and softer wood. This softness means that it warps more easily and is more susceptible to termite and borer attacks.

Sourcing Old Growth Wood

When purchasing wood, you should always consider the source of the wood. Since old growth redwood is so scarce and so valuable, poaching is a significant problem in forests. Many less reputable wood sources illegally harvest juvenile wood. Such practices can cause permanent damage or kill the tree. In order to ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy the beauty of wood, we believe that ethical sourcing is of the utmost importance when souring wood.