From sap to bark, birch trees are used to make everything from beer to toothpicks. Native Americans stretched birch bark on their canoe frames and used the wood for their arrows. The birch is New Hampshire's state tree. It is also popular as an ornamental tree and has gained the nickname "Mother Tree" because birches were planted at the White House to honor the mothers of U.S. presidents. The oil extracted from the bark contains a chemical used to treat rheumatism and inflammations.
Where it Grows
Eastern U.S., principally Northern and Lake states. The average tree is 60 to 70 feet in height. Birch prefers valleys and stream banks although it adapts itself to higher grounds.
Yellow birch has a white sapwood and light reddish brown heartwood. The wood is generally straight-grained with a fine uniform texture. Generally characterized by a plain and often curly or wavy pattern.
Furniture, millwork and paneling, doors, flooring, kitchen cabinets, turnings and toys.
The wood works fairly easily, glues well with care, takes stain extremely well, and nails and screws satisfactorily where pre-boring is advised. It dries rather slowly with little degrade, but it has moderately high shrinkage, so is susceptible to movement in performance.
The wood of yellow birch is heavy, hard and strong. It has very good bending properties, with good crushing strength and shock resistance.