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domestic-hardwood

Chestnut, American (Castanea dentata)

Chestnut, American is a domestic hardwood

Location

American chestnut (Castanea dentata) is also known as sweet chestnut. Before this species was attacked by a blight in the 1920s, it grew in commercial quantities from New England to northern Georgia. Practically all standing chestnut has been killed by blight, and most supplies of the lumber come from salvaged timbers. Because of the species’ natural resistance to decay, standing dead trees in the Appalachian Mountains continued to provide substantial quantities of lumber for several decades after the blight, but this source is now exhausted.

Characteristics

The heartwood of chestnut is grayish brown or brown and darkens with age. The sapwood is very narrow and almost white. The wood is coarse in texture; growth rings are made conspicuous by several rows of large, distinct pores at the beginning of each year’s growth. Chestnut wood is moderately light in weight, moderately hard, moderately low in strength, moderately low in resistance to shock, and low in stiffness. It dries well and is easy to work with tools.

Primary Uses

Chestnut was once used for poles, railroad crossties, furniture, caskets, boxes, shingles, crates, and corestock for veneer panels. At present, it appears most frequently as wormy chestnut for paneling, interior woodwork, and picture frames.

*Much of the base wood information presented here is made available by the USDA FPL FS. If you are interested in a much more technical description of wood properties, I encourage you to visit the source.

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domestic-hardwood

Cherry, Black (Prunus serotina)

Cherry, Black is a domestic hardwood

Location

Black cherry (Prunus serotina) is sometimes known as cherry, wild black cherry, and wild cherry. It is the only native species of the genus Prunus of commercial importance for lumber production. Black cherry is found from southeastern Canada throughout the eastern half of the United States. Production is centered chiefly in the Middle Atlantic States.

Characteristics

The heartwood of black cherry varies from light to dark reddish brown and has a distinctive luster. The nearly white sapwood is narrow in old-growth trees and wider in secondgrowth trees. The wood has a fairly uniform texture and very good machining properties. It is moderately heavy, strong, stiff, and moderately hard; it has high shock resistance and moderately high shrinkage. Black cherry is very dimensionally stable after drying.

Primary Uses

Black cherry is used principally for furniture, fine veneer panels, and architectural woodwork. Other uses include burial caskets, wooden ware, novelties, patterns, and paneling.

*Much of the base wood information presented here is made available by the USDA FPL FS. If you are interested in a much more technical description of wood properties, I encourage you to visit the source.

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domestic-hardwood

Butternut (Juglans cinerea)

Butternut is a domestic hardwood

Location

Also called white walnut, butternut (Juglans cinerea) grows from southern New Brunswick and Maine west to Minnesota. Its southern range extends into northeastern Arkansas and eastward to western North Carolina.

Characteristics

The narrow sapwood is nearly white and heartwood is light brown, frequently modified by pinkish tones or darker brown streaks. The wood is moderately light in weight (about the same as eastern white pine), rather coarse textured, moderately weak in bending and endwise compression, relatively low in stiffness, moderately soft, and moderately high in shock resistance. Butternut machines easily and finishes well. In many ways, butternut resembles black walnut especially when stained, but it does not have the same strength or hardness.

Primary Uses

Principal uses are for lumber and veneer, which are further manufactured into furniture, cabinets, paneling, interior woodwork, and miscellaneous rough items.

*Much of the base wood information presented here is made available by the USDA FPL FS. If you are interested in a much more technical description of wood properties, I encourage you to visit the source.

Categories
domestic-hardwood

Buckeye (Aesculus octandra, A. glabra)

Buckeye is a domestic hardwood

Buckeye consists of two species, yellow buckeye (Aesculus octandra) and Ohio buckeye (A. glabra). These species range from the Appalachians of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina westward to Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Buckeye is not customarily separated from other species when manufactured into lumber and can be used for the same purposes as aspen (Populus), basswood (Tilia), and sapwood of yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera).

Characteristics

The white sapwood of buckeye merges gradually into the creamy or yellowish white heartwood. The wood is uniform in texture, generally straight grained, light in weight, weak when used as a beam, soft, and low in shock resistance. It is rated low on machinability such as shaping, mortising, boring, and turning.

Primary Uses

Buckeye is suitable for pulping for paper; in lumber form, it has been used principally for furniture, boxes and crates, food containers, wooden ware, novelties, and planing mill products.

*Much of the base wood information presented here is made available by the USDA FPL FS. If you are interested in a much more technical description of wood properties, I encourage you to visit the source.

Categories
domestic-hardwood

Birch (Betula alleghaniensis, B. lenta, B. papyrifera)

Birch is a domestic hardwood

The three most important species are yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis), sweet birch (B. lenta), and paper birch (B. papyrifera). These three species are the source of most birch lumber and veneer. Other birch species of some commercial importance are river birch (B. nigra), gray birch (B. populifolia), and western paper birch (B. papyrifera var. commutata). Yellow, sweet, and paper birch grow principally in the Northeast and the Lake States; yellow and sweet birch also grow along the Appalachian Mountains to northern Georgia.

Characteristics

Yellow birch has white sapwood and light reddish-brown heartwood. Sweet birch has light-colored sapwood and dark brown heartwood tinged with red. For both yellow and sweet birch, the wood is heavy, hard, and strong, and it has good shock-resisting ability. The wood is fine and uniform in texture. Paper birch is lower in weight, softer, and lower in strength than yellow and sweet birch. Birch shrinks considerably during drying.

Primary Uses

Yellow and sweet birch lumber is used primarily for the manufacture of furniture, boxes, baskets, crates, wooden ware, cooperage, interior woodwork, and doors; veneer plywood is used for flush doors, furniture, paneling, cabinets, aircraft, and other specialty uses. Paper birch is used for toothpicks, tongue depressors, ice cream sticks, and turned products, including spools, bobbins, small handles, and toys.

*Much of the base wood information presented here is made available by the USDA FPL FS. If you are interested in a much more technical description of wood properties, I encourage you to visit the source.

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domestic-hardwood

Beech, American (Fagus grandifolia)

Beech, American is a domestic hardwood

Only one species of beech, American beech (Fagus grandifolia), is native to the United States. It grows in the eastern one-third of the United States and adjacent Canadian provinces. The greatest production of beech lumber is in the Central and Middle Atlantic States.

Characteristics

In some beech trees, color varies from nearly white sapwood to reddish-brown heartwood. Sometimes there is no clear line of demarcation between heartwood and sapwood. Sapwood may be roughly 7 to 13 cm (3 to 5 in.) wide. The wood has little figure and is of close, uniform texture. It has no characteristic taste or odor. The wood of beech is classed as heavy, hard, strong, high in resistance to shock, and highly suitable for steam bending. Beech shrinks substantially and therefore requires careful drying. It machines smoothly, is an excellent wood for turning, wears well, and is rather easily treated with preservatives.

Primary Uses

Most beech is used for flooring, furniture, brush blocks, handles, veneer, woodenware, containers, and cooperage. When treated with preservative, beech is suitable for railway ties.

*Much of the base wood information presented here is made available by the USDA FPL FS. If you are interested in a much more technical description of wood properties, I encourage you to visit the source.

Categories
domestic-hardwood

Basswood (Tilia americana)

Basswood is a domestic hardwood

American basswood (Tilia americana) is the most important of the native basswood species; next in importance is white basswood (T. heterophylla), and no attempt is made to distinguish between these species in lumber form. In commercial usage, “white basswood” is used to specify the white wood or sapwood of either species. Basswood grows in the eastern half of the United States from the Canadian provinces southward. Most basswood lumber comes from the Lake, Middle Atlantic, and Central States.

Characteristics

The heartwood of basswood is pale yellowish brown with occasional darker streaks. Basswood has wide, creamy white or pale brown sapwood that merges gradually into heartwood. When dry, the wood is without odor or taste. It is soft and light in weight, has fine, even texture, and is straight grained and easy to work with tools. Shrinkage in width and thickness during drying is rated as high; however, basswood seldom warps in use.

Primary Uses

Basswood lumber is used mainly in venetian blinds, sashes and door frames, moulding, apiary supplies, wooden ware, and boxes. Some basswood is cut for veneer, cooperage, excelsior, and pulpwood, and it is a favorite of wood carvers.

*Much of the base wood information presented here is made available by the USDA FPL FS. If you are interested in a much more technical description of wood properties, I encourage you to visit the source.

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domestic-hardwood

Aspen (Populus grandidentata, P. tremuloides)

Aspen is a domestic hardwood

Aspen is a generally recognized name that is applied to bigtooth (Populus grandidentata) and quaking (P. tremuloides) aspen. Aspen does not include balsam poplar (P. balsamifera) and the other species of Populus that are included in the cottonwoods. In lumber statistics of the U.S. Bureau of the Census, however, the term cottonwood includes all the preceding species. Also, the lumber of aspen and cottonwood may be mixed in trade and sold as either popple or cottonwood. The name popple should not be confused with yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), also known in the trade as poplar. Aspen lumber is produced principally in the Northeastern and Lake States, with some production in the Rocky Mountain States.

Characteristics

The heartwood of aspen is grayish white to light grayish brown. The sapwood is lighter colored and generally merges gradually into the heartwood without being clearly marked. Aspen wood is usually straight grained with a fine, uniform texture. It is easily worked. Well-dried aspen lumber does not impart odor or flavor to foodstuffs. The wood of aspen is lightweight and soft. It is low in strength, moderately stiff, and moderately low in resistance to shock and has moderately high shrinkage.

Primary Uses

Aspen is cut for lumber, pallets, boxes and crating, pulpwood, particleboard, strand panels, excelsior, matches, veneer, and miscellaneous turned articles. Today, aspen is one of the preferred species for use in oriented strandboard, a panel product that is increasingly being used as sheathing.

*Much of the base wood information presented here is made available by the USDA FPL FS. If you are interested in a much more technical description of wood properties, I encourage you to visit the source.

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domestic-hardwood

Ash, White Group (Fraxinus americana, F. pennsylvanica, F. quadrangulata, F. latifolia)

Ash, White Group is a domestic hardwood

Important species of the white ash group are American white ash (Fraxinus americana), green ash (F. pennsylvanica), blue ash (F. quadrangulata), and Oregon ash (F. latifolia). The first three species grow in the eastern half of the United States. Oregon ash grows along the Pacific Coast.

Characteristics

The heartwood of the white ash group is brown, and the sapwood is light-colored or nearly white. Second-growth trees are particularly sought after because of the inherent qualities of the wood from these trees: it is heavy, strong, hard, and stiff, and it has high resistance to shock. Oregon ash has somewhat lower strength properties than American white ash, but it is used for similar purposes on the West Coast.

Primary Uses

American white ash is used principally for nonstriking tool handles, oars, baseball bats, and other sporting and athletic goods. For handles of the best grade, some handle specifications call for not less than 2 nor more than 7 growth rings per centimeter (not less than 5 nor more than 17 growth rings per inch). The additional weight requirement of 690 kg/m3 (43 lb/ft3) or more at 12% moisture content ensures high quality material. Principal uses for the white ash group are decorative veneer, cabinets, furniture, flooring, millwork, and crates.

*Much of the base wood information presented here is made available by the USDA FPL FS. If you are interested in a much more technical description of wood properties, I encourage you to visit the source.

Categories
domestic-hardwood

Ash, Black Group (F. nigra, F. profunda)

Ash, Black Group is a domestic hardwood

Location

The black ash group includes black ash (F. nigra) and pumpkin ash (F. profunda). Black ash grows in the Northeast and Midwest, and pumpkin ash in the South.

Characteristics

The heartwood of black ash is a darker brown than that of American white ash; the sapwood is light-colored or nearly white. The wood of the black ash group is lighter in weight (basic specific gravity of 0.45 to 0.48) than that of the white ash group (>0.50). Pumpkin ash, American white ash, and green ash that grow in southern river bottoms, especially in areas frequently flooded for long periods, produce buttresses that contain relatively lightweight and brash wood.

Primary Uses

Principal uses for the black ash group are decorative veneer, cabinets, millwork, furniture, cooperage, and crates.

*Much of the base wood information presented here is made available by the USDA FPL FS. If you are interested in a much more technical description of wood properties, I encourage you to visit the source.