Basswood Hardwood


Basswood, also known by its botanical name Tilia americana and related species (Tiliaceae), is a versatile timber, with a creamy-white to pale pinkie-brown sapwood and pale brown heartwood. The grain is fine and straight, with a uniform texture. Basswood is an ideal choice for carving, furniture, mouldings, and many other applications. Its light colouring and its ability to darken on drying makes Basswood a popular choice for woodworking projects.

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Material Type:

Also Called:
American Lime, Lime Tree, American Whitewood, Whitewood, Florida Basswood, American Linden, Florida Linden, Carolina Linden,

Durability Notes:
Basswood is non durable and used for internal applications

The drying and seasoning of Basswood is dependant on a number of factors; the speed in which it is processed after felling and logging, the method of drying and the specific kilns or location (if air dried). Generally the care taken by those processing the wood will have an impact on its drying and seasoning. As an overview; Basswood - dries fairly quickly with little distortion or impact on the grade and quality of the wood. There is minimal movement in service. Please note that all wood is liable to move when in service plus there can be dimensional change. The extent of this will depend on; the stability of the species itself, the conditions it is exposed to, the coating, decoration and protection. You will find more information about the suitability of this wood, for any proposed application, by using our interactive system and the filters shown.

Basswood is a light, soft and weak wood. This wood works very easily and has a low resistance to cutting. Sharp tools are required to obtain a clean finish. It can take stain and polish without difficulty and Basswood planes, glues, screws and nails well. It has good carving properties.

Typical Uses:
Furniture, Cabinetry, Carving, Millwork, Musical Instruments, Plywood, Turnery, Veneers, Woodenware.

Moisture Content:
Guide - 12-18% for KD

Interesting Facts:
Basswood is an ideal wood for  many woodcarvers. Its soft, fine, even texture make it easy to work with, while its pale, inconspicuous colour doesn’t detract from the carved patterns of the finished product (which also makes it easier to paint and colour)

Commonly asked questions about Basswood

Is Basswood a hardwood or a softwood? Basswood is a hardwood. It is the same for; is Basswood hardwood or softwood? - Basswood is a hardwood.

Most groups/families of species share the same characteristics but this normally relates to their life as plants. Individual species do not always share the same characteristics as their relatives, in terms of the wood. Many factors influence how we use the wood and what we use it for, including where it grows, how it is forested, how it seasons/dries, etc. The answers to the following common questions, therefore relate to this particular species/wood and not the Basswood family as a whole. Even more specific – our answers relate to the wood (as we know it) in its form as a useable resource.

What colour is Basswood? Basswood can be described as brown, white/cream (very light brown), yellow/brown

Is Basswood good for outdoor use? or is Basswood good for exterior use? Basswood is most suited for internal/interior use. Basswood should not be used as an exterior/external timber (without treatment).

Whether the wood is naturally durable or not we would still recommend that it is decorated and/or coated with a suitable product to provide protection and/or maintain its appearance. This even applies when using the wood internally as, even subtle, changes in temperature or humidity will affect the wood. This will depend on the application/purpose of the wood and the user’s desired appearance. We also recommend that a recoating, care and maintenance programme is adhered to, for the life of an exterior wood. Wood cannot rot if it is kept dry – coatings and decoration can provide this protection. All of that said there are many durable timbers that are often left to weather naturally and will last for many years untreated/coated – movement and visual changes will occur but this is sometimes the desired effect. All wood is hygroscopic (it 'wants' to be in tune with its environment) it will therefore take on water from moisture in the air (or when directly exposed to or submerged in water) and ‘release it’ when dry or exposed to heat. This, inevitably, results in movement and dimensional change. For more about moisture in wood please click here - Moisture in wood

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