Yellow Birch (Betula alleghaniensis)

Yellow Birch (Betula alleghaniensis)

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Common Name(s): Yellow Birch

Scientific Name: Betula alleghaniensis

Distribution: Northeastern North America

Tree Size: 65-100 ft (20-30 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1.0 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 43 lbs/ft3 (690 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .55, .69

Janka Hardness: 1,260 lbf (5,610 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 16,600 lbf/in2 (114.5 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 2,010,000 lbf/in2 (13.86 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 8,170 lbf/in2 (56.3 MPa)

Shrinkage: Radial: 7.3%, Tangential: 9.5%, Volumetric: 16.8%, T/R Ratio: 1.3

Color/Appearance: Heartwood tends to be a light reddish brown, with nearly white sapwood. Occasionally figured pieces are available with a wide, shallow curl similar to the curl found in Cherry. There is virtually no color distinction between annual growth rings, giving Birch a somewhat dull, uniform appearance.

Grain/Texture: Grain is generally straight or slightly wavy, with a fine, even texture. Low natural luster.

Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; primarily radial multiples; medium pores in no specific arrangement, moderately numerous to numerous; parenchyma marginal, and sometimes diffuse-in-aggregates (faintly visible with lens); narrow rays, spacing fairly close to close.

Rot Resistance: Birch is perishable, and will readily rot and decay if exposed to the elements. The wood is also susceptible to insect attack.

Workability: Generally easy to work with hand and machine tools, though boards with wild grain can cause grain tearout during machining operations. Turns, glues, and finishes well.

Odor: No characteristic odor.

Allergies/Toxicity: Birch in the Betula genus has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually most common reactions simply include skin and respiratory irritation. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Likely to be rather economical in most instances. Figured boards can be more expensive, but normally plain birch lumber is in the same price range as maple or oak.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Common Uses: Plywood, boxes, crates, turned objects, interior trim, and other small specialty wood items.

Comments: Birch is one of the most widely used woods for veneer and plywood worldwide. Besides regular sheets of plywood, Birch veneer is also used for doors, furniture, and paneling.

Related Species:

Scans/Pictures:

Yellow Birch (sanded)

Yellow Birch (sanded)

Yellow Birch (sealed)

Yellow Birch (sealed)

Yellow Birch (endgrain)

Yellow Birch (endgrain)

Yellow Birch (endgrain 10x)

Yellow Birch (endgrain 10x)

  • Graham Erwin

    Dude,

    I am building a DN racing iceboat out of wood. The hull is mostly Sitka Spruce. The runner plank is quarter sawn ash on the top and bottom. The blades are a sandwich of carbon fiber, Baltic Birch, and 440C stainlss steel. If you would like to see pictures I can provide some. Or just Google “DN iceboat, hull, runner plank, runners, etc.
    Your database is very thorough, and we here at Erwin Enterprises have used it multiple times during construction. I noticed you do not have a scan of Baltic Birch. Would you like me to scan some for you? Could I do this exchange for a printed version of the database? Thanks.

    Sincerely,
    Graham Erwin
    Erwin Enterprises
    graham@fogmn.com

  • Graham,
    I’ve got some Baltic Birch myself, but the main issue that I’m having is simply determining what exact species of wood it is: baltic birch seems to be more of a vague term describing the region the birch came from, and not necessarily a specific species of birch.

  • Jas

    I like Birch. But there’s lots of things I like more. Like women. Football. Food. Partying. Etc. Etc. You get my drift.. lol.