Apple Wood – Characteristics, Uses, Pros and Cons

What is Apple Wood?

Apple wood is a type of hardwood that comes from small to medium-sized deciduous apple trees (genus Malus). The apple tree is found in most temperate climates and is mainly cultivated for its sweet fruit, but the wood from apple trees can also be used for various purposes, including woodworking and smoking/grilling.

While Apple wood is moderately durable and stable, it is not as popular for furniture as other hardwoods such as walnut or oak. Apple is also known as Crab Apple, Wild Apple. 

In this blog post, we will explain the features, advantages, and disadvantages of using Apple Wood so that you can decide whether Apple Wood is the right choice for you.

Scientific nameMalus spp. (Malus domestica, Malus sieversii, Malus sylvestris, etc.)
Tree Size10-30 ft (3.5-9 m) tall, 1 to 1.5 ft (.3 to .4 m) trunk diameter
Dried Weight52 lbs/ft3 (830 kg/m3)
Janka Hardness1,730 lbf (7,700 N)
Crushing Strength6,030 lbf/in2 (41.6 MPa)
Shrinkage: Radial5.6%, Tangential: 10.1%, Volumetric: 17.6%, T/R Ratio: 1.8

Characteristics of Apple Wood


The heartwood generally varies from light brown to deeper red/brown. When freshly cut, apple wood is usually a light, creamy color. However, as it ages and undergoes oxidation, the color of the wood darkens, becoming a darker brown.

The color of apple wood or any species depends on many factors, such as the tree’s age, growing conditions, and weather conditions. 

Grain Pattern and Texture

Generally, Apple wood has a straight and fine grain with a uniform texture. It has a tight and even grain, contributing to its smooth appearance and making it relatively easy to work with in woodworking projects.

Density and Hardness

Apple wood is considered a hardwood. Hardwoods are generally denser and harder than most softwoods. It falls somewhere in the mid-range of hardwood hardness.

Here is the Janka hardness of popular wood species, so you can compare it to the hardness of apple wood.

Wood SpeciesJanka Hardness
Red oak1,220 lbf (5,430 N)
Pacific Yew1,600 lbf (7,120 N)
Apple wood1,730 lbf (7,700 N)
Shagbark Hickory1,880 lbf (8,360 N)
Wenge1,930 lbf (8,600 N)
African padauk1,970 lbf (8,760 N)

Scent and Aroma

Apple wood has a light, sweet scent when working with.

Uses of Apple Wood

Smoking and grilling

Apple wood is an excellent choice for smoking and grilling. It is a fruity wood known for its mild, slightly sweet and fruity flavour that imparts great flavour to a variety of meats, poultry and fish.

Another reason for choosing apple wood for smoking is that apple wood burns slowly and evenly so that the meat cooks evenly and does not burn.


Apple wood is beautiful and durable, making it the perfect choice for high-quality furniture. It is ideal for chairs, desks, cabinets, spoons, bowls, handles, etc.

Carving and Turning

Apple is used for carving and tool handles, but it is not easy to carve due to its high density and hardness. Carving smoothly with apple wood requires a bit of experience, along with the right and sharp tools.


Apple wood is a good choice for firewood as it generates a lot of heat with good coaling properties. Its BTUs value is 26.5 Million BTUs per cord, which is more than many kinds of wood.

Pros of Using Apple Wood 

Attractive Appearance

The color of the Apple wood is a beautiful light reddish, and the wood grain is straight and uniform, adding visual interest to the finished furniture. The texture of the wood is fine and smooth, making it easy to work and finish.

Availability and Sustainability 

Apple wood is relatively easy to find in the native regions where apple trees grow. Apple wood is generally available at a moderate price.


The biggest advantage of using apple wood is its sustainable hardwood. Apple trees are cultivated extensively for fruit, and when the apple trees are mature, they are harvested for lumber.

Finish Well

Apple wood is challenging to work with, but it can be finished smoothly. Once finished, it gives excellent results. It takes stains, paints, and finishes well.

Cons of Using Apple Wood 

Hard to work with

Apple wood is a wood with high density and hardness, so it can be a bit difficult to work with. However, it is fine to work with sharps and machine tools.

Limited Supply and Regional Availability

Apple wood is available only in a limited area. Finding a sustainable and affordable source can be challenging, especially if you are not in an area where apple trees are common.

Not Rot-Resistant 

Apple wood has no natural resistance to decay and insects, so it is not suitable for outdoor projects.

Not Moisture-Resistant 

Applewood cannot be used where it is exposed to water, moisture or weather. Continuous exposure to moisture may cause the wood to swell or smell.

Limited Size

Apple trees do not grow very large in size, so logs or pieces of apple wood may be smaller in size than some other hardwoods, which can be a limitation for larger woodworking projects.

Tips for Working with Apple Wood

  • Choose well-seasoned wood with a moisture content of around 6-8%. Properly seasoned wood is less prone to warp or crack during and after woodworking.
  • Before starting work, inspect the wood for defects, cracks or insect damage and remove these parts.
  • The density of apple wood is high. So be careful during machine operation and use sharp tools. Sharp blades reduce the risk of tear-out and splintering.
  • Carefully sand the apple wood to get a smooth surface. Start with coarse sandpaper and gradually move to a finer grit.
  • Apple wood glues, stains, finishes, and turns well.
  • When working with apple wood, wear proper safety gear, such as safety glasses and a dust mask.

Tips for Using Apple Wood for Cooking/Smoking

  • While cooking with apple wood, keep the flame low and slow; this will maintain the taste of your food and will not burn your meat.
  • Do not soak wood chips or pieces in water. This will not improve the test, although the wood will not burn easily and produce lots of smoke.
  • Apple wood is preferred for smoking because it cooks chicken or pork faster than other woods.
  • Apple wood produces high heat, so it is better to use medium or small-sized tree twigs or apple wood chips.
  • Never use evergreen wood for smoking; always use low-moisture or dry wood chips.

Is Apple Wood a Hardwood?

Yes, apple wood is hardwood. It has a known hardness value of 1,730 lbf (7,700 N) and an average dried weight of 52 lbs/ft3 (830 kg/m3).

Frequently Asked Questions About Apple Wood

Is Apple Wood Expensive?

Yes, Apple wood is moderately expensive than similar types of wood. The price of apple wood may vary depending on many factors like location, availability of apple trees, and demand for wood.

Is Wood Apple Available in India?

Yes, Applewood is available in most countries of Asia. But not available in all parts of India. It is primarily found only in Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal in India.

Is Apple Wood Good For Smoking Turkey?

Yes, apple wood is an excellent choice for smoking turkey. Its mild, slightly sweet and fruity flavour enhances the flavour of the meat. Smoking a turkey with apple wood can result in a delicious and flavorful dish.

Is apple wood good for smoking chicken?

Yes, Apple wood is good for smoking chicken. It produces a light, fruity aroma that enhances the flavour of the chicken. 

Is Apple Wood Good For Smoking Briskets?

Apple wood is a good choice for smoking brisket; you can also mix some oak or mesquite wood chips with the apple for a more savoury flavour.

Is Apple Wood Good For Smoking Pork?

Yes, Apple wood is one of the preferred woods for smoking pork. It gives a sweet, mild smoky aroma to the meat. Apart from apple wood, you can use pecan, cherry, maple, and orange wood for smoking pork.

Is Apple Wood Good For Smoking Beef?

Yes, apple wood is a good choice for smoking beef because it produces high and evenly heat that cooks the beef thoroughly. Mesquite, hickory or oak wood is the most popular wood for smoking beef than apple wood. You should also try these woods for beef smoking. This doesn’t mean that apple wood is bad for beef; it’s just people’s preference.


Overall, Apple wood holds some unique characteristics, which make it a versatile hardwood, mainly used for furniture and smoking meats.

It’s an attractive color, and its fine grain makes it ideal for furniture, while the mild, sweet & fruity taste makes it an excellent wood for smoking.

In this blog post, I have tried to find out some advantages and disadvantages of apple wood. I hope this blog helps you to make a decision to choose this wood.