Species of the month.... Basswood
Characteristics... Color: Basswood sapwood is creamy white to pale pinkish brown in color and gradually merges with the hardwood. The wood will darken to pale brown on drying. It has a fine straight grain which is usually uniform in texture. The sapwood is sometimes sold as white basswood.
Properties... Basswood is a light, soft and weak wood. It is low in strength and has a poor steam bending classification. This wood works very easily and has a low resistance to cutting. Sharp, thin tools are required to obtain a clean finish. It can stain and polish without difficulty; planes, glues, screws, and nails well; and has good carving properties.
Seasoning... Basswood dries fairly quickly with a little distortion or degradation. There is minimal movement in service.
Durability... It is non-durable, and permeable for preservation treatment. The sapwood is vulnerable to attack from a common furniture beetle and when in log form, from the longhorn beetle.
Typical uses... Since it is odor free, basswood is used for food containers; other uses include hand carving, patternmaking, furniture, quality joinery, cooperage, mallet heads, beehives, toys, picture framing and piano keys. It is also used for plywood, corn stock and veneers.
Availability... we have about 15 board feet of basswood at Rolling Acres and Brownwood. Basswood can be pricey at $11 a board foot, but the carvers love it.