Willow Hardwood


Willow, or Salix spp., is a versatile timber that can be used for a variety of applications. It has a whitish sapwood of varying thickness, and a white to pinkish heartwood. Willow typically has a straight grain, with a fine and even texture. Black willow has a heartwood ranging from pale reddish-brown to greyish-brown, with an interlocked grain. Willow can be used for a number of applications, including cricket bats, flooring, artificial limbs, and much more. Willow is a sustainable timber that is available from legal sources.

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Material Type:

Also Called:
White Willow, Gooding Willow, Common Willow (S.Alba); Cricket-Bat Or Close-Bark Willow (S. Alba Var. Coerulea); Crack Willow (S. Fragilis); Black Willow, Dudley Willow (S.Nigra), Weide (German). There Are About 350 Species, Saule (French)

Durability Notes:
Willow wood is non durable. It is perishable and should only be considered for internal use.

The drying and seasoning of Willow 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; Willow - dries fairly quickly with minimal impact on the grade and quality of the wood, but it can retain pockets of moisture. Crack willow (S. fragilis) can spit badly when drying. There is small movement in use. 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.

Willow is light but flexible and resilient. Its strength properties are low and it has a poor steam-bending rating. It works easily by hand or machine, with only a slight blunting effect on cutting edges. Willow turns, moulds, drills, routs, carves and sands well, provided sharp cutters are used. Willow has excellent gluing qualities and can be brought to a really nice finish.

Typical Uses:
Furniture, Crafts, Musical Instruments, Baskets, Cabinets, Carvings, Turnery, Firewood, Charcoal, Construction, Boat Building, Tool Handles.

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

Commonly asked questions about Willow Wood

Is Willow a hardwood or a softwood? Willow is a hardwood. It is the same for; is Willow hardwood or softwood? - Willow 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 Willow 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 Willow? Willow can be described as brown, light brown, red

Is Willow good for outdoor use? or is Willow good for exterior use? Willow is most suited for interior/interior use. Willow can 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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