Crushing Strength

Sometimes known as compression strength parallel to the grain, this is a measurement of the wood’s maximum crushing strength when weight is applied to the ends of the wood (compression is parallel to the grain).

Compression strength testing
Compression strength testing

This number is a good indicator of the wood’s strength in applications such as deck posts, chair legs, or other circumstances where the load being applied is parallel rather than perpendicular to the grain.

In practical terms, the number itself isn’t all that meaningful, but it becomes useful to use in comparison with other woods. For instance, Ipe is known to have excellent strength properties among imported species, and has a crushing strength of 13,510 lbf/in2 (93.1 MPa). In comparison, White Oak is a well-known wood used in cabinetry and furniture, and has a crushing strength of 7,440 lbf/in2 (51.3 MPa), and Redwood is commonly used for decking, and has a crushing strength of 5,690 lbf/in2 (39.2 MPa).

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Gregory Curtis Holmberg

Where can I find numbers for wood strength in tension parallel to the grain? Crushing strength is about compression, and elasticity is about bending perpendicular to the grain, so not really what I want either. I’m building a guitar and want to make a top from Sitka Spruce and another top from carbon fiber sheet, and compare them. I know Sitka Spruce tops on guitars are typicaly 1/8″ (3.2mm) with additional bracing. Elastic (flexure) modulus of Sitka Spruce is 11 GPa. But you don’t list the tensile strength of Sitka Spruce. I need to figure out an equivalent thickness for… Read more »


Be aware that the speed of sound along and perpendicular to the grain both affect the performance of a guitar top. So strength is only a small part of the story.
Fot example, this is the reason that the grain of the wood runs along the long dimension of the guitar.