Smart, Cost-Effective, Treasured for Generations.

Yellow Birch

Betula alleghaniensis
 
 

Stain Selector

Clear

Light

Medium

Dark

 

From sap to bark, birch trees are used to make everything from beer to toothpicks. Native Americans stretched birch bark on their canoe frames and used the wood for their arrows. The birch is New Hampshire's state tree. It is also popular as an ornamental tree and has gained the nickname "Mother Tree" because birches were planted at the White House to honor the mothers of U.S. presidents. The oil extracted from the bark contains a chemical used to treat rheumatism and inflammations.

Where It Grows

Eastern U.S., principally Northern and Lake states. The average tree is 60 to 70 feet in height. Birch prefers valleys and stream banks although it adapts itself to higher grounds.

Main uses

Furniture, millwork and paneling, doors, flooring, kitchen cabinets, turnings and toys.

Relative Abundance

0.7 percent of total U.S. hardwoods commercially available.

Did You Know?

Native Americans often rolled and burned birch bark to keep mosquitoes away.

General Description

Yellow birch has a white sapwood and light reddish brown heartwood. The wood is generally straight-grained with a fine uniform texture. Generally characterized by a plain and often curly or wavy pattern.

Working Properties

The wood works fairly easily, glues well with care, takes stain extremely well, and nails and screws satisfactorily where pre-boring is advised. It dries rather slowly with little degrade, but it has moderately high shrinkage, so is susceptible to movement in performance.

Physical Properties

The wood of yellow birch is heavy, hard and strong. It has very good bending properties, with good crushing strength and shock resistance.

Availability

Reasonable availability, but more limited if selected for color.

Working Properties


Machining

 
 
 
 
 
Poor
Good

Nailing

 
 
 
 
 
Poor
Good

Screwing

 
 
 
 
 
Poor
Good

Gluing

 
 
 
 
 
Poor
Good

Finishing

 
 
 
 
 
Poor
Good
 

Strength and Mechanical Properties (inch-pound)a


 

Static Bending

Moisture Content

Specific Gravity (b)

Modulus of Rupture
(lbf/in2)

Modulus of Elasticity (c)
(106 lbf/in2)

Work to Maximum Load
(in-lbf/in3)

Green-12% 0.48-0.65 6,400-16,900 1.17-2.17 15.7-20.8

Impact Bending
to Grain
(in)

Compression
Parallel to Grain
(lbf/in2)

Compression
Perpendicular to Grain
(lbf/in2)

Shear
Parallel to Grain
(lbf/in2)

Tension
Perpendicular to Grain
(lbf/in2)

Side Hardness
(lbf)

29-33 3,540-7,110 360-690 1,130-1,700 560-570 660-950

a) Results of tests on small clear specimens in the green and air-dried conditions. Definition of properties; impact bending is height of drop that causes complete failure, using 0.71-kg (50 lb.) hammer; compression parallel to grain is also called maximum crushing strength; compression perpendicular to grain is fiber stress at proportional limit; shear is maximum shearing strength; tension is maximum tensile strength; and side hardness is hardness measured when load is perpendicular to grain.

b) Specific gravity is based on weight when ovendry and volume when green or at 12% moisture content

c) Modulus of elasticity measured from a simply supported, center-loaded beam, on a span depth ratio of 14/1. To correct for shear reflection, the modulus can be increased by 10%.