Silver Birch: Betula alba

We supply English Birch, Welsh Birch, Scottish Birch and European Birch.

Distribution

Silver birch is found throughout the British Isles, Europe and Scandinavia.

Description

Birch timber is very light in colour, from a creamy white to a light biscuit. The woods straight grain and fine texture gives the timber a lustrous effect. Any defect in colour, shape or texture is a result of external factors such as insect attack, chemical injury, climatic stress or genetic abnormalities. Weight varies from 600-700 kg/m3; specific gravity .66.

Properties

Birch has good steam bending properties but is not tolerant of pin knots. The timber has medium stiffness and resistance to shock loads with high bending and crushing strength.

Seasoning

As birch is liable to fungal attack it is important to dry the wood quickly. The timber is prone to distortion, with some small movement in service.

Working

Birch timber has a tendency to be woolly when worked although it is easily cut with both hand and machine tools. If working with nails it is recommended that pre-bores are used, and to prevent tearing when planning it is advised that the cutting angle is reduced to 15°. Birch works well with glue and when stained and polished produces a beautiful finish.

Durability

Birch timber is perishable and susceptible to attack from the common furniture beetle. The wood is moderately resistant to preservative treatments, but the sapwood is permeable.

Uses

Birch has a variety of uses including high-end joinery, furniture, cabinets, turnery and flooring.