Botanical name: Betula alleghaniensis
Common/commercial names: None
Distribution & Availability
Eastern USA, principally Northern and Lake States. Reasonable availability, but more limited if selected for colour, i.e. red birch (heartwood) or white birch (sapwood). Increasingly found in export markets, although volumes produced may limit sizes and grades available.
Yellow birch has a white sapwood and light reddish brown heartwood. The wood is generally straight grained with a fine uniform texture.
Physical & Mechanical Properties
The wood of yellow birch is heavy, hard and strong. It has very good wood bending properties, with good crushing strength and shock resistance.
The wood works fairly easily, glues well with care, takes stain and polish 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 can be susceptible to movement in performance.
Non-resistant to heartwood decay. Moderately resistant to preservative treatment but sapwood is permeable.
Furniture, internal joinery and panelling, doors, flooring, kitchen cabinets, turning and toys.
Often sorted for sap (sapwood) or red (heartwood). When sorted for colour, the FAS grade will allow a 5 inch minimum width. Refer to the NHLA's Rules for the Measurement & Inspection of Hardwood & Cypress for colour sorting specifications. Paper birch is a much softer textured birch species, which is lighter in colour, with scattered brown flecks and should not be confused with yellow birch.