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.

General Description

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.

Working Properties

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.

Main Uses

Furniture, internal joinery and panelling, doors, flooring, kitchen cabinets, turning and toys.

Other Information

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.




Ash Aspen Beech Birch Cherry Cottonwood Gum Hackberry Hickory & Pecan Hard maple Soft maple Red oak White oak Sycamore Tulipwood/Yellow poplar Walnut