Birch (European) Hardwood

Birch (European)

European Birch (Betula pendula and B. pubescens) is a beautiful, versatile wood species that is ideal for furniture, joinery, and turnery. It features a creamy-white to pale brown colour with no separation between sapwood and heartwood. The grain is generally straight and of a fine, even texture, with a glossy appearance. Occasionally, the wood may display a curly figure caused by irregularities in the grain. Masur birch is a particularly attractive variety, caused by larvae attacking the cambium and resulting in a flecked, swirling figure. European Birch is a sustainable and legal species, which can be sourced from reliable suppliers.

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Material Type:

Also Called:
Silver Birch (B. Pendula), European Whitebirch, Downy Or Hairy Birch (B. Pubescens), Bouleau (French), Sandbirke (German). Flame, Birku, Icy, Curly, Masur Birch

Durability Notes:
Birch (European) wood has some durability but is considered non durable and not suited for exterior applications

The drying and seasoning of Birch (European) 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; Birch (European) - must be dried quickly to prevent fungal attack and has a slight tendency to warp. There is only small 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.

Birch is dense, has medium stiffness and resistance to shock loads, with high bending and crushing strength. Birch tends to be woolly but generally works well with hand or machine tools. Birch has a tolerable blunting effect on cutters and tooling. Birch requires pre-drilling for nails and screws. Birch can be polished and stained to a good finish and glues well. Birch is very good for turnery.

Typical Uses:
Furniture, Cabinetry, Flooring, Millwork, Plywood, Musical Instruments, Veneer, Toys.

Moisture Content:
Guide - 10-18% for KD (+/- 2%)

Commonly asked questions about European Birch Wood

Is Birch a hardwood or a softwood? Birch is a hardwood. It is the same for; is European Birch hardwood or softwood? - European Birch 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 Birch 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 European Birch? European Birch can be described as brown, light brown, yellow/brown

Is European Birch good for outdoor use? or is European Birch good for exterior use? European Birch is most suited for internal/interior use. European Birch 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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