Common Name(s): Madrone, Pacific Madrone
Scientific Name: Arbutus menziesii
Distribution: Western coast of North America
Tree Size: 50-80 ft (15-24 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1.0 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 50 lbs/ft3 (795 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .58, .79
Janka Hardness: 1,460 lbf (6,490 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 10,400 lbf/in2 (71.7 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 1,230,000 lbf/in2 (8.48 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 6,880 lbf/in2 (47.4 MPa)
Shrinkage: Radial: 5.6%, Tangential: 12.4%, Volumetric: 18.1%, T/R Ratio: 2.2
Color/Appearance: Color tends to be a cream or pinkish brown color, but can also have dark red patches. Madrone is known for its burl veneer, which has many closely-packed clusters of knots and swirled grain.
Grain/Texture: Grain tends to be straight, with a very fine and even texture.
Endgrain: Semi-ring-porous or diffuse-porous; solitary and radial multiples; small pores in no specific arrangement, very numerous; heartwood deposits occasionally present; parenchyma absent; narrow to medium rays, spacing fairly close.
Rot Resistance: Madrone is rated as non-durable to perishable with regard to decay resistance.
Workability: Madrone is easy to work with machine and hand tools, and compares similarly to Hard Maple in working characteristics. The wood can be difficult to dry, and has a tendency to warp or twist. Madrone is an excellent turning wood, and also takes stains and finishes well.
Odor: No characteristic odor.
Pricing/Availability: Madrone is most often sold as burl veneer, which tends to be quite expensive. Madrone lumber, if available, is also expensive for a domestic wood species, easily costing more than other premium domestic hardwoods such as Cherry or Walnut: its price is likely to compare similarly to Myrtle, another Pacific-coast hardwood.
Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Common Uses: Veneer, turned objects, and other small specialty objects.
Comments: Madrone burl is highly prized as a decorative veneer, while Madrone lumber is a very dense and finely-grained hardwood that’s similar in appearance to fruitwoods. The wood burns long and hot, and as a result it is also used for firewood and charcoal.
Scans/Pictures: A special thanks to Steve Earis for providing the burl veneer sample of this wood species.