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Blunting Effect
Boring
Carving
Comments
Common Names
Common Uses
Countries of Distribution
Cutting Resistance
Distribution Overview
Drying Defects
Ease of Drying
Environmental Profile
Family Name
Gluing
Grain
Heartwood Color
Kiln Schedules
Luster
Mortising
Moulding
Movement in Service
Nailing
Natural Durability
Numerical Data
Odor
Painting
Planing
Polishing
Product Sources
References
Regions of Distribution
Resistance to Impregnation
Resistance to Splitting
Response to Hand Tools
Routing & Recessing
Sanding
Sapwood Color
Scientific Name
Screwing
Staining
Steam Bending
Strength Properties
Texture
Trade Name
Tree Identification
Tree Size
Turning
Varnishing
Veneering Qualities

Scientific Name
Betula alleghaniensis

Trade Name
Yellow birch

Family Name
Betulaceae

Wood Image 1

Wood Image 1

Common Names
American birch, Betula wood, Birch, Black birch, Canadian silky wood, Canadian yellow birch, Curly birch, Gold birch, Gray birch, Hard birch, Quebec birch, Silver birch, Swamp birch, Yellow birch

Regions of Distribution
North America, Western Europe

Countries of Distribution [VIEW MAP]
Canada, United Kingdom, United States

Common Uses
Agricultural implements, Bobbins, Boxes and crates, Building materials, Butcher blocks, Cabinetmaking, Casks, Chairs, Charcoal, Chemical derivatives, Chests, Concealed parts (Furniture), Cooperages, Cutting surfaces, Decorative plywood, Decorative veneer, Desks, Dining-room furniture, Domestic flooring, Dowell pins, Dowells, Drawer sides, Drum sticks, Figured veneer, Fine furniture, Fixtures, Floor lamps, Flooring, Flooring: commercial heavy traffic, Flooring: industrial heavy traffic, Fuelwood, Furniture , Furniture components, Furniture squares or stock, Furniture, Handles: general, Hardwood distillation, Hatracks, Interior construction, Joinery, Kitchen cabinets, Living-room suites, Marquetry, Mathematical instruments, Millwork, Musical instruments , Musical instruments, Office furniture, Organ pipes, Packing cases, Paneling , Paneling, Parquet flooring, Piano keys, Pianos , Plywood, Railroad ties, Sporting Goods, Textile equipment, Toothpicks, Toys, Turnery, Vehicle parts, Veneer, Veneer: decorative

Environmental Profile
Widespread
Rare in parts of its natural range (population is at risk)
Likely rare at the periphery of its range
Globally secure
Data source is Nature Conservancy


Distribution Overview
The range of yellow birch extends from southern Newfoundland, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Anticosti Island, the Gaspe peninsula, and Maine west to southern and southwestern Ontario and Minnesota; south to northern New Jersey, northern Ohio, extreme northern Indiana and Illinois; and south in the mountains to South Carolina, extreme northeastern Georgia, and eastern Tennessee. Reported to grow in Northern Europe and Northern Asia. It is a very hardy tree.

Heartwood Color
Brown
Purple
Red
Reddish brown
Pale brown
Dark brown
Brown


Sapwood Color
White
White to yellow
Clearly differentiated from the heartwood
Paler than heartwood
Light reddish brown


Grain
Figure
Straight
Distinct (figure)
Variable (figure)
Wavy
Growth rings (figure)
Even
Closed
Stripe (figure)

Straight
Variable figure
Distinct and fine figure
Wavy
Clear growth rings (figure)
Striped figure
May be wavy or curly
Generally straight, but not always
Distinct figure

Some logs may contain wavy or curly grain. Annual rings, grain and pores are often indistinct, and a uniform scattering of fine pores or vessels throughout the material gives it a dull and lusterless appearance.

Texture
Coarse
Fine
Fine and even


Luster
Low


Natural Durability
Perishable
Susceptible to insect attack
Non-durable
Perishable
Moderately durable
Will deteriorate rapidly in wet conditions without chemical protection
Very little natural resistance
Susceptible to attack from termites (Isoptera)
Susceptible to attack from powder post (Lyctid & Bostrychid) beetles
Resistant to attack from powder post (Lyctid & Bostrychid) beetles
Non durable


Odor
No specific smell or taste


Kiln Schedules
Dry at a slow speed
UK=G US=T8B3/T5B1
T8 - C4 (4/4)
T5 -C3 (8/4) US


Drying Defects
Splitting
Internal Honeycombing Possible
Checking
Collapse
Discoloration
Distortion
Moderate twist/warp
Moderate to severe collapse and honeycomb
Moderate surface checking
End surface checks may be moderate to severe


Ease of Drying
Rapidly
Moderately Difficult to Difficult
Moderate
Easy
High shrinkage
Dries slowly with little degrade


Tree Identification
Bole/stem form is cylindrical
Bole/stem form is straight


Tree Size
Tree height is 30-40 m
Trunk diameter is 150-200 cm


The birch tree is rather short-lived, and rarely exceeds 80 years of age

Product Sources
The ITTO reports that timber production from this species is negligible. It is exported in low volumes.

Comments
General finishing qualities are rated as good

Blunting Effect
Little
Blunting effect on machining is moderate


Boring
Fair to good results
Fairly easy to very easy
Very good results


Carving
Fair to Good Results
Fairly Easy to Very Easy


Cutting Resistance
Easy to saw


Gluing
Fair to Good Results
Moderate gluing properties
Easy to glue
Difficult to glue
Carefully controlled conditions required


Mortising
Fair to Good Results
Fairly Easy to Very Easy
Finishes satisfactorily
Exceptional mortising properties


Moulding
Fair to Good Results
Fairly Easy to Very Easy
Moulding ease is moderate


Movement in Service
Fair to Good Stability - Medium Movement
Excellent Stability - Small Movement
Large
Not stable/prone to move
Medium


Nailing
Fair to Good Results
Very Good to Excellent Results
Fairly Easy to Very Easy
Holds nails well
Holds satisfactorily
Possible if prebored
Poor nailing properties


Planing
Fair to Good Results
Fairly Easy to Very Easy
Requires reduced cutting angle
Ease of planing is moderate

Material containing irregular grain is generally difficult to machine in most operations and may be accompanied by some grain tearing unless cutting angles are reduced. Straight-grained wood works without too much difficulty.

Resistance to Impregnation
Permeable sapwood
Permeable heartwood
Heartwood is moderately resistant
Sapwood is permeable
Heartwood is permeable
Heartwood is resistant


Resistance to Splitting
Poor
Good


Response to Hand Tools
Responds Readily
Easy to Work
Easy to machine
Moderate working qualities
Difficult to machine


Routing & Recessing
Fair to Good Results
Fairly Easy to Very Easy


Sanding
Fair sanding qualities


Screwing
Very Good to Excellent Results
Fair to Good Results
Fairly Easy to Very Easy
Screwing yields satisfactory results
Screwing yields good results
Poor screwing properties


Turning
Fair to Good Results
Fairly Easy to Very Easy
Good results
Good results
Easy to turn


Veneering Qualities
Suitable for peeling
Veneers moderately easy
Veneers easily
There is slight to moderate drying degrade and the potential for buckles and splits
Moderately easy to veneer


Steam Bending
Fair to Good Results
Very good
Good
Moderate


Painting
Good results


Polishing
Good results


Staining
Fair to Good Results
Very Good to Excellent Results
Finish is generally good
Finish is generally satisfactory


Varnishing
Good results


Strength Properties
Density (dry weight) = 38-45 lbs/cu. ft.
Hardness (side grain) = soft
Shearing strength (parallel to grain) = low
Bending strength (MOR) = medium
Max. crushing strength = high
Density (dry weight) = 46-52 lbs/cu. ft.
Modulus of Elasticity (stiffness) = low
Max. crushing strength = medium
Toughness-Hammer drop (impact Strength) = high
Shrinkage, Radial = fairly large
Modulus of Elasticity (stiffness) = medium
Shrinkage, Tangential = moderate
Shrinkage, Tangential = fairly large
Max. crushing strength = low
Hardness (side grain) = very soft
Bending strength (MOR) = high
Toughness (total work) = medium
Shrinkage, Tangential = very small
Shrinkage, Tangential = small
Shrinkage, Tangential = large
Shrinkage, Radial = very small
Shrinkage, Radial = moderate
Shrinkage, Radial = large
Shearing strength (parallel to grain) = very low
Shearing strength (parallel to grain) = medium
Heavy
Hardness = medium
Hardness (side grain) = medium
Compression strength (parallel to grain) = high
Bending strength (MOR) = very low
Bending strength (MOR) = very high
Bending strength (MOR) = low

Work to Maximum Load = very low

Numerical Data
ItemGreenDryEnglish
Bending Strength882515571psi
Crushing Strength421951psi
Density42lbs/ft3
Hardness1102lbs
Impact Strength4753inches
Maximum Crushing Strength43588127psi
Shearing Strength1734psi
Stiffness151018821000 psi
Toughness549inch-lbs
Work to Maximum Load1318inch-lbs/in3
Specific Gravity0.50.57
Weight4232lbs/ft3
Radial Shrinkage6%
Tangential Shrinkage8%
Volumetric Shrinkage17%
ItemGreenDryMetric
Bending Strength6201094kg/cm2
Crushing Strength2966kg/cm2
Density673kg/m3
Hardness499kg
Impact Strength119134cm
Maximum Crushing Strength306571kg/cm2
Shearing Strength121kg/cm2
Stiffness1061321000 kg/cm2
Toughness632cm-kg
Work to Maximum Load0.911.26cm-kg/cm3
Specific Gravity0.50.57
Weight673512kg/m3
Radial Shrinkage6%
Tangential Shrinkage8%

References
Bodig, J. and B. A. Jayne. 1982. Mechanics of Wood and Wood Composites. Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, New York.

Boone, R.S., C.J. Kozlik, P.J. Bois and E.M. Wengert. 1988. Dry Kiln Schedules for Commercial Woods: Temperate and Tropical. United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, General Technical Report FPL-GTR-57, Madison, Wisconsin.

Brisbin, R.L. and Sonderman, D.L.,1973,American Woods - Birch,USDA, Forest Service American Woods FS-221

Brown, H.P. and Panshin, A.J.,1940,Commercial Timbers of the United States Their structure, identification,,properties and uses,McGraw-Hill, London

Brown, W.H.,1978,Timbers of the World: - No.7 North America,TRADA

California Department of Forestry. Comparative Physical & Mechanical Properties of Western & Eastern Hardwoods. Prepared by Forest Products Laboratory, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California. n/d.

Canadian Forestry Service. 1981. Canadian Woods - Their Properties and Uses. Third Edition. E.J. Mullins and T.S. McKnight, Editors. Published by University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Canada.

Edlin, H.L. 1969. What Wood is That?: A Manual of Wood Identification. A Studio Book, The Viking Press, New York.

Farmer, R.H.,1972,Handbook of Hardwoods,HMSO

Forest Products Research Laboratory, U.K.,1945,A Handbook of Empire Timbers,Department of Scientific and Industrial Research Forest Products Research

Forest Products Research Laboratory, U.K.,1957,Timbers for Flooring,Forest Products Research Laboratory, Princes Risborough, Bulletin, No.40

Forest Products Research Laboratory, U.K.,1967,The Steam Bending Properties of various timbers,Forest Products Research Laboratory, Princes Risborough, Leaflet,No.45

Forest Products Research Laboratory, U.K.,1969,The Movement of Timbers,Forest Products Research Laboratory, Princes Risborough Technical Note,No.38

Forests Products Research Laboratory, U.K.,1956,A Handbook of Hardwoods,Forest Products Research Laboratory, Princes Risborough, Department of,Science and Industrial Research, Building Research Establishment

Harrar, E.S.,1942,Some Physical Properties of Modern Cabinet Woods 3. Directional and Volume,Shrinkage,Tropical Woods,9(71, pp26-32

HMSO, 1981. Handbook of Hardwoods, 2nd Edition. Revised by R.H. Farmer. Department of the Environment, Building Research Establishment, Princes Risborough Laboratory, Princes Risborough, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire

Hoheisel, H., Arroyo, J.,1966,Resultados Preliminares de las Propiedados Fisicas y Mecanicas de 30,especies,de la Guayana Venezolana,Inst. Forestal Latin Am. de Investigacoin y Capacitacion Venezuela Boletin,No.20-21

I.U.F.R.O.,1973,Veneer Species of the World,Assembled at F.P.L. Madison on behalf of I.U.F.R.O. Working Party on,Slicing and Veneer Cutting

Jackson, A. and D. Day. 1991. Good Wood Handbook - The Woodworker's Guide to Identifying, Selecting and Using the Right Wood. Betterway Publications, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Kaiser, J. Wood of the Month: American Beech - A Furniture Favorite. Wood and Wood Products, February, 1993. Page 30.

Kloot, N. H. and E. Bolza. 1961. Properties of Timbers Imported into Australia. Technological Paper No. 12. Division of Forest Products, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Organization, Melbourne, Australia.

Kloot, N.H., Bolza, E.,1961,Properties of Timbers Imported into Australia,C.S.I.R.O. Forest Products Division Technological Paper,No.12

Kukachka, B.F.,1962,Characters of Some Imported Woods,U.S.A. Department of Agriculture, Forest Products Laboratory, Madison,,Foreign Wood Series,No.2242

Lincoln, W.A. 1986. World Woods in Color. Linden Publishing Co. Inc. Fresno, California.

Little, E.L. 1980. The Audubon Society Guide to North American Trees - Eastern Region. Published by Arthur A. Knopf, New York.

Markwardt, L.J., Wilson, T.R.C.,1935,Strength and related properties of woods grown in the United States,U.S.A. Department of Agriculture Technical Bulletin,No.479

Mullins, E.J. and McKnight, T.S.,1981,Canadian Woods Their Properties and Uses,University of Toronto Press 3rd Edition

Panshin, A.J. and C. deZeeuw. Textbook of Wood Technology. McGraw-Hill Series in Forest Resources. McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York.

Patterson, D.,1988,Commercial Timbers of the World, 5th Edition,Gower Technical Press

Redding, L.W.,1971,Resistance of Timbers to Impregnation with Creosote,Forest Products Research Laboratory, Princes Risborough, Building Research,Establishment Bulletin No.54 pp.43

Rendle, B.J. Editor. 1969. World Timbers, Volume Two - North & South America (Including Central America and the West Indies). Published by Ernest Benn Limited, Bouverie House, Fleet Street, London.

Rendle, B.J.,1969,World Timbers (3 Vols.,Ernest Benn Ltd. London

Smith, D.N.,1959,The Natural Durability of Timber,Forest Products Research Laboratory, Princes Risborough, Building Research,Establishment Record,No.30

Timber Development Association Ltd.,1955,World Timbers (3 Vols.,Timber Development Association Ltd.

Titmuss, F.H.,1965,Commercial Timbers of the World,Technical Press Ltd., London, 3rd edition

U.S.D.A. Forest Service,1974,Wood Handbook,U.S.A. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service Handbook,72

USDA. 1987. Wood Handbook: Wood as an Engineering Material. Agriculture Handbook No. 72. United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Madison, Wisconsin.

USDA. 1988. Dry Kiln Operators Manual, Preliminary Copy. Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, Madison, Wisconsin.

Wolcott, G.N.,1950,An Index to the Termite Resistance of Woods,Agricultural Experimental Station, University of Puerto Rico Bulletin,No.85

Wood, A.D.,1963,Plywoods of the World: Their Development, Manufacture and,Application,Johnston & Bacon Ltd. Edinburgh & London








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