In our relatively harsh environment tree specie diversity suffers. Most of our hardwood products are Red Maple, Yellow or Paper Birch, Black Cherry, American Beech or Poplar. Most of our softwood products are Balsam Fir, Red or Black Spruce, Eastern White Pine or Northern White Cedar. Occasionally there are some interesting outliers like a Swamp Holly, Hawthorn or Alder that will have nice features. We also have a couple fringe species like Hemlock,Striped Maple and Mountain Ash but only in limited numbers. For the most part hardwood species are tougher than the softwood choices, but for our products softwood is just as suitable if not better. Hardwood products are heavier to carry, more likely to develop drying splits and they don't stain as well. There are exceptions to the norms. Poplar (Bigtooth Aspen) is lighter and weaker than some softwoods like Tamarack. Poplar also soaks up stain colors like a sponge. Softwoods, on the other hand, are very light in weight when fully dry, they stain well and oftertimes the natural shapes are more graceful. There is no wrong choice, but they are different.