I was looking through the Structures and Environment Handbook on this. It
was covered in section 201 as follows:
"Hardwoods and softwoods.
All native species are divided into two classes- hardwoods and softwoods. In
general, hardwoods have broad leaves and are deciduous (shed their leaves
each season). Softwoods are conifers and have scalelike leaves as in cedars
or needlelike leaves as in pines. "Hardwood" and "softwood" do not describe
the wood's hardness or softness."
Beyond this, I've never seen any tables covering a wood's sawability
(difficulty to saw as an indication of "hardness".) If any measure could be
applied, I would guess it would be related to either a wood's elastic
modulus or compression perpendicular to grain. (There would have to be some
common frame of reference which is common to both hardwoods and softwoods.)
You should be able to find values for most all hardwoods and softwoods in
the "Wood Handbook" by the Forest Products Laboratory, Forest Service of US
Dept of Agriculture. (Handbook #72)
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