Received this question from a PA fire officer and wanted to use this as an opportunity to make sure all of you are aware of some really neat crush testing that has been conducted.

Regarding whether to use soft or hard wood for cribbing, here's the original question...


I wanted your feedback on the issue of cribbing. What is better - hard or soft for box cribbing material and step chocks? We are planning on replacing our current inventory and wanted a second opinion."

Here's my reply...
I recommend soft wood for making stepchocks. It is cheap and makes the stepchock easy to repair or throw away if it gets damaged.

For building box cribbing, the problem with soft wood can be failure. For individual cribbing; 2x4, 4x4 stuff, I use hard wood. Has a greater strength and therefore has a greater resistance to failure when supporting a lifted load.

Check out the work done by a friend of mine; Mr. Frank Maltese. He is a cribbing manufacturer from the NorthEast. He has done crush testing of all kinds of wood and has some great information on this very subject. is Frank's email is Frank's crush test online info. Great images of various types of wood holding up or failing during his testing process. Lots to think about after you view Frank's tests.