Birch trees are at home in Europe, Asia and Japan. Large areas of birch woodland are common in Northern Europe. In Central Europe birch is more common in small copses or as individual trees, in Southern Europe occasionally as mountainous tree.
The birch belongs to the Betulaceae family, of which there are about 40 different types for instance the common birch, weeping birch, red birch or white or silver birch. They grow to a height of 20 – 25 m and to an age of about 120 years. Commercially birch is particularly relevant in Northern countries in Scandinavia and Russia, where they are commonly used for making plywood.
Birch wood has a yellow-white or reddish-white to light brown colouring and darkens considerably with time. A coloured heartwood is seldom. Birch wood has a fine to medium-pore structure, a gentle wavy grain and slightly satiny surface shine. Different densities and fat content can lead to interesting light effects.
Birch wood is medium-weight and has good strength properties: it is elastic and tough but not particularly hard. Shrinkage varies from slight to strong. Except for the bark, birch wood is not durable.
Birch wood is light and easy to work. It can be turned, profiled and carved and is well-suited to "peeling" and cutting. It can be stained and polished. Its bending properties are good, splitting properties not so good.
Birch is available as round or sawn timber, as plywood as well as veneer.
- Veneer panels
- Manufacture of plywood
- carving and turning