I have a job where I need to fabricate some new trim work for a house that's all birch with either a light stain, or probably more likely a natural poly finish, that's darkened over time. So I've been trying to determine which type of birch it is. My problem is the information I'm finding on the net is contradictory.
For instance, one website says that red birch and yellow birch are both from the same tree. One is the sapwood and the other the heartwood. The next website says they're completely different trees, with different average sizes, color bark, etc.!
So what the heck is the truth about birch? Are white, yellow, and red birch different species? Are they different parts of the same tree?
The backside of the original trim on the house is much darker than, say, the birch veneer common on plywood, which I was always told is white birch. So I'm guessing it's red birch? But before I call my supplier and have them pull down a pack of something, I figure I better ask here first.
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)
From contributor M:
It's probably yellow birch. From what I understand, it's the most abundant species (Betula alleghaniensis) in North America. At least that's the case here on the central east coast. But its range goes all the way west to Minnesota. I got that from Wikipedia.
Two minor North American birch species are river birch and gray birch.
Sweet and yellow are very close in properties. Paper is much weaker. As an example, the hardness of paper is 910 pounds; sweet, 1470; and yellow, 1260. Paper is also about 15% lighter weight.