For most of us in the hardwood lumber industry we typically think of yellow birch when we think of plywood. But there are many other applications birch can be an excellent choice for!
Yellow birch is one of those species commonly harvested throughout the New England States, New York and Pennsylvania. You will also find it in parts of Appalachian region as well. In general birch represents about 5% of the overall hardwood lumber production in the United States, so it is not a majority species.
One of the characteristics birch is known for is that it does not contain a lot of sapwood. The sapwood it does contain is typically very light. The heartwood in birch usually varies in color from a light brown to a dark brown with a tinge of red in some instances.
Birch is known to be a hardwood that is hard, strong, and heavy. It also has a straight, fine, uniformed grain pattern. Although it can be hard to carve and shape with hand tools, it is regularly used in turning applications and can be found in many products such as furniture legs, posts, and balusters. From our experience, we have also found that because of its hardness many of our customers will use it in flooring and cabinet applications. Some customers consider using yellow birch as a substitute for hard maple in certain applications. Especially when it is sorted for color, (whiteness). Some even ask us to provide birch in specific ripped-to-width increments so they can use them as moulder blanks for their manufacturing applications.
In recent years, we have found that requests for birch logs have also been common since it is used as a veneer frequently.
Yellow birch can sometimes be hard to find. So it is important to check with your hardwood supplier on their current inventory & availability. If you need long term supply, consider working with your supplier to develop a regular program.
If we can help you in any way, please let us know!