HARD SOFTWOOD WITH MEDICINAL QUALITIES
Though the berries of yew have traditionally been considered poisonous, the anticancer drug Taxol is extracted from yew. The tree is very slow growing, while the lumber is hard and good for bending, and often used in the making of archery bows. The leaves are
slightly shorter than those of English yew trees (T. baccata), hence the Latin name T. brevifolia.
Type Temperate softwood
Other names Oregon yew, Pacific yew
Similar species English yew (T. baccata)
Alternatives Red maple (Acer rubrum)
Sources West coast of North America, from Alaska to California Color Orange brown, which dulls and darkens with age
Texture Very fine and even
Grain Straighter than English yew, but still wavy and interlocking at times
Weight Medium to heavy (46 lb./cu. ft.) (740 kg/cu. m)
Strength Strong and good for bending
Seasoning and stability Stable once seasoned, but prone to shakes during the slow drying process.
Wastage Moderate to high due to defects and bands of contrasting white sapwood
Range of board widths Reasonable
Range of board thicknesses Reasonable
Durability Very good with respect to both insect attack and moisture
Burl yew is highly prized in the solid by turners and as a veneer by cabinetmakers and coachfitters. The sapwood can be used for contrast.
Yew trees are precious and should be protected. You are unlikely to find certified lumber, but yew has not been listed as vulnerable.
AVAILABILITY AND COST
Rare and expensive.