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The Way Wood Works: Birch

This affordable
wood is great for
both high-end
and utilitarian

By Tim Johnson

Birch is a hot item at the lumberyard
these days, and birch
veneer is the all-time most popular hardwood
plywood.This isn’t a fad.Despite changes in taste and
fashion, birch has been in demand for furniture and cabinetry
for almost a century.

Birch lumber has a handsome appearance. Because of its
fine texture and straight grain, it machines well and routs
beautifully.Though hard,birch is easy to sand,and it turns like
a dream. Birch plywood is available in a wide range of

These characteristics make birch a great choice for all
types of cabinetry.But the best thing about birch is that it looks good with a variety
of finishes—it’s a great impostor for more expensive woods. I’ll show you how
to make the most of this durable, versatile and budget-friendly hardwood.

Yellow birch rules

Although the birch family Betulaceae contains over a dozen domestic species,
between 80 and 90 percent of the lumber you’ll find at the lumberyard is yellow
birch (Betula alleghaniensis).


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