Common Name(s): Buckeye, Ohio Buckeye, Yellow Buckeye
Scientific Name: Aesculus spp. (A. flava, A. glabra, and A. octandra)
Distribution: Eastern United States
Tree Size: 50-75 ft (15-23 m) tall, 1.5-2 ft (.5-.6 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 25 lbs/ft3 (400 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .33, .40
Janka Hardness: 350 lbf (1,560 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 7,500 lbf/in2 (51.7 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 1,170,000 lbf/in2 (8.07 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 4,170 lbf/in2 (28.8 MPa)
Shrinkage: Radial: 3.6%, Tangential: 8.1%, Volumetric: 12.5%, T/R Ratio: 2.3
Color/Appearance: Heartwood is creamy white or yellowish, not clearly demarcated from the white sapwood. Can have grayish streaks. Buckeye burl can feature reddish brown knots, with light to dark gray swirls of discoloring (see pictures below).
Grain/Texture: Buckeye has a fine, even texture. Grain tends to be straight or slightly interlocked.
Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; very small pores in no specific arrangement; solitary and radial multiples of 2-3; growth rings faintly distinct due to marginal parenchyma; rays barely visible even with 10x lens; parenchyma banded.
Rot Resistance: Buckeye has poor decay resistance, and is rated as non-durable to perishable.
Workability: Buckeye is generally easy to work, but it’s unusually low density can lead to fuzzy surfaces, similar to Aspen or Cottonwood. Responds poorly to steam bending. Glues and finishes well.
Odor: Buckeye can have an unpleasant smell when green, which greatly subsides upon drying.
Pricing/Availability: Not typically used for lumber due to its low density and strength, Buckeye can sometimes be found in board form, and should be comparable to Aspen or Basswood. Burls are more valuable and are sold for smaller specialty purposes.
Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Common Uses: Furniture, utility wood, boxes/crates, pulpwood; while the burl sections are used for electric guitar tops, pen blanks, and other small, specialty turned objects.
Comments: Buckeye is one of the softest and lightest hardwoods native to the United States. It’s low strength and bland appearance limit it to basic utility purposes.
The burl sections of Buckeye are much more prized, and their light-on-dark knot clusters, and unique, almost black discolorations make them sought after for a variety of specialty and hobbyist applications.