Birch (Yellow) Hardwood

Birch (Yellow)

Yellow Birch is a hardwood species, scientifically known as Betula alleghaniensis, and is part of the Betulaceae family. It is an attractive timber, with a fine, even texture and close-grained. The sapwood of Yellow Birch is a pale yellow, whitish or light red-brown colour, although colour variations can occur. The grain is mostly straight, but wavy and curly grain can also be present, providing a pleasing figure.

Yellow Birch is a versatile timber, with a range of uses. It is commonly used for furniture, joinery, turnery and much more. Yellow Birch is a popular choice for woodworking projects, due to its attractive grain and colour.

If currently available from sustainable and legal sources, Yellow Birch can be sourced from suppliers. It is a great choice for woodworking projects and can be used to create a range of products.

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Material Type:

Also Called:
Hard Birch, Canadian Yellow Birch, Betula Wood, Quebec Bitch, Swap Birch

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

The drying and seasoning of Birch (Yellow) 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 (Yellow) - dries quite slowly with little impact on the grade and quality of the wood, but shrinkage tends to be pretty high. Birch can develop end and surface checks and wet heartwood can lead to honeycombing and collapse. There is a lot of movement in use, giving poor dimensional stability. 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.

When Yellow Birch is air-dried, bending strength is very high. The wood also has a high resistance to shock loads and high crushing strength. Both nailing and screwing properties are poor and pre-drilling is needed. Gluing needs care and must be carried out in controlled conditions, with an appropriate glue. Planing can be challenging when the grain is irregular but is good on straight grain sections. The wood has a tolerable dulling effect on cutters but otherwise works fairly easily with both machine and hand tools. Yellow birch takes stain, oils, varnish and polish very well.

Typical Uses:
Furniture, Cabinetry, Flooring, Musical Instruments, Turning, Veneer, Plywood, Firewood

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

Commonly asked questions about Yellow Birch Wood

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

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