Yew (European) Softwood

Yew (European)

European Yew (Taxus baccata) is a beautiful and versatile timber that is suitable for a variety of uses. The near-white sapwood is easily distinguishable from the heartwood, which is commonly golden orange-brown and can be streaked with lighter and darker brown, as well as patches of dark purple. Clusters of ingrown bark and tiny knots are also common. The grain of European Yew is usually straight, but can also be wavy, curly and irregular, with a medium, even texture. These features make it a highly attractive wood for furniture, turnery, joinery and more.

European Yew is currently available from sustainable and legal sources, making it an excellent choice for your next project.

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Material Type:

Also Called:
Yew, If (French), Yewtree, Eibe (German), Iubhar (Gaelic), Venijnboom (Dutch), Ibar (Old Irish), Iur (Irish), Ywen (Welsh)

Durability Notes:
Yew (European) wood is a durable timber.

The drying and seasoning of Yew (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; Yew (European) - dries quickly and well, with little impact on the grade and quality of the wood if care is taken. European Yew can distort slightly and new shakes can form or exists ones open up. European Yew exhibits 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.

Yew is a hard, elastic wood, with medium crushing and bending strength, low resistance to shock loads, low stiffness. European Yew is fairly challenging to work by hand. Straight-grained wood planes well but any irregular grain can tear-out and other machining qualities depend on grain direction. Yew splits easily. Due to the oily nature of the wood, gluing can be challenging. Pre-drilling is advised for nailing and screwing. Yew turns very well, stains well and can be polishes to an excellent finish.

Typical Uses:
musical instruments, furniture, archery bows, veneer, small decorative items, sculpture, boat building.

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

Commonly asked questions about European Yew Wood

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

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 Yew 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 Yew? European Yew can be described as brown, pink/pale red

Is European Yew good for outdoor use? or is European Yew good for exterior use? European Yew is most suited for exterior/external use. European Yew 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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