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Yellow Birch Betula alleghaniensis

Birch is one of the most prolific of species in North America, and there are many variations, but yellow birch is the best for woodworkers and the most commonly available. It is grown mostly in the northeast and the Great Lake states, and is used extensively for simple jobs and in the production of plywood. The distinctive smell of the lumber resonates with anyone who has used it.

Type Temperate hardwood
Other names B. lutea (synonym), gray birch, Canadian silky birch, hard birch, silver birch, swamp birch, curly birch, white birch, witch hazel
Similar species Sweet birch (B. lenta), paper birch (B. papyrifera), river birch (B. nigra), gray birch (8. populifolia)
Alternatives Beech (Fagus grandifolia or F. sylvatica)
Sources North America
Color Light reddish brown heartwood and pale sapwood
Texture Fine and even
Grain Straight Hardness Moderate
Weight Medium to heavy (44 lb./cu. ft.) (700 kg/cu. m)
Strength Good; excellent for bending
Seasoning and stability Seasons slowly but well, and moves considerably once dry.
Wastage Moderate; some knots and sapwood Range of board widths Good
Range of board thicknesses Good
Durability Poor; vulnerable to insect attack and decay. Heartwood cannot be preserved easily.

Birch is often used for veneer, either sliced or rotary cut. The rotary-cut version can show distinctive growth-ring patterns.

There is no threat to yellow birch. AVAILABILITY AND COST
Widely available and inexpensive.

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Updated: 12/2017   copyright 2011 Rowecraft