Common Name(s): Tamarack, American Larch, Eastern Larch
Scientific Name: Larix laricina
Distribution: Canada and northeastern United States
Tree Size: 50-65 ft (15-20 m) tall, 1-2 ft (.3-.6 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 37 lbs/ft3 (595 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .49, .59
Janka Hardness: 590 lbf (2,620 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 11,600 lbf/in2 (80.0 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 1,640,000 lbf/in2 (11.31 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 7,160 lbf/in2 (49.4 MPa)
Shrinkage: Radial: 3.7%, Tangential: 7.4%, Volumetric: 13.6%, T/R Ratio: 2.0
Color/Appearance: Heartwood ranges from yellow to a medium orangish brown. Narrow sapwood is nearly white and is clearly demarcated from the heartwood. Flatsawn sections can exhibit a lot of character and interesting patterns in the growth rings. Knots are common but are usually small.
Grain/Texture: Grain is generally straight or spiraled. Texture is medium to fine with a greasy or oily feel.
Endgrain: Small resin canals, infrequent and variable in distribution; solitary or in tangential groups of several; earlywood to latewood transition abrupt, color contrast high; tracheid diameter medium-small. (Growth rings are generally wider in Tamarack than in Western Larch.)
Rot Resistance: Moderately durable regarding decay resistance.
Workability: Most hand and machine operations produce good results. However, Tamarack is high in silica content and will blunt cutting edges. Also, because of the disparity between the soft earlywood and the hard latewood, sanding can create dips and uneven surfaces.
Odor: No characteristic odor.
Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, wood species in the Larix genus have been reported to cause skin irritation, as well as hives and skin lesions. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.
Pricing/Availability: Lumber production of Tamarack is very small, and wood is very seldom available commercially. Expect prices to be moderate.
Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices, and is reported by the IUCN as being a species of least concern.
Common Uses: Snowshoes, utility poles, posts, rough lumber, boxes/crates, and paper (pulpwood).
Comments: Tamarack is a word from the native Abenaki language, which simply means “wood used for snowshoes.”