Birch wood is a thin and very light wood. Widely used in northern Europe to manufacture of plywood and also in quality furniture or joinery. Its tonality was very fashionable in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, thanks to Liberty, Art Nouveau or Modernism styles.

There are several species of birch from which this wood is obtained. They all belong to the genus Betula. They are especially abundant in northern Europefrom the UK to Russia. It can also be found in Canada, this variant being a little more dense.

The reference species and its scientific name is Betula pendula. It is known as common or European birch.

Features of birch wood

Color: Varies from light white to slightly yellow to soft orange tones. It is not always easy to differentiate the sapwood from the heartwood. his appearance is therefore very uniform not having a very clear grain.

Characteristic defects: Small knots and some rot.

Fiber: Straight, with some occasional undulations.

Grain: Good.

Density: It is a semi-heavy wood with a density of approximately 650kg / m3.

Toughness: Medium hardwood with a Monnin test result of 3.1

Durability: It is susceptible to attack by fungi and insects. Therefore, it is recommended to always apply treatments. Its use outdoors is not suitable.

Dimensional stability:

  • Volumetric contraction coefficient: 0.38% slightly edgy wood.

Mechanical properties:

  • Compressive strength: 526 kg / cmtwo
  • Static flexural strength: 1,548 kg / cmtwo
  • Modulus of elasticity: 170,000 kg / cmtwo

Impregnation: Between impregnable and slightly impregnable.


  • Sawn. No problems.
  • Drying. Fast, although with some risk of deformation.
  • Brushed. No problems.
  • Glued. No problems.
  • Nailed and screwed. Pre-drilling must be done.
  • Finish. Varnish or paint finishes are fine. Dyes can take an irregular shape.

Price: The price of birch wood is not high in the areas where it is abundant, that is, in Europe. Therefore, it has one of the best cost-benefit ratios in these areas.

birch characteristics


  • Manufacture of plywood sheets. The main use of this wood is the manufacture of birch plywood.
  • Manufacture of quality furniture and / or joinery.
  • Interior carpentry: frames, baseboards, friezes …
  • Sportive articles.
  • Pulp of paper.
  • Flip and sculpt. The famous Russian matryoshka dolls were made of this wood.
  • The uses of this tree in traditional medicine are curious. It is considered to have painkillers, antiseptics, healing applications, etc.

Birch plywood

Birch is an ideal species for the application of the unwinding technique. From this, the veneers with which the plywood boards are manufactured are obtained. In that sense, it is comparable to poplar wood.

It is interesting to know that the excellent performance of this board made it even used in the manufacture of airplanes, as was the case with some models manufactured in England during World War II.