Tips on Sawing Birch

Advice on getting good lumber quality from Birch logs. January 14, 2009

Im going to be sawing birch for the first time here soon. The last time the mill cut birch was twenty years ago and we dont have any sawyers that have been there that long. Any advice on the characteristics of the wood that will give me an idea of what to expect would be appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
The outside of a log can provide a great deal of white lumber, so flatsawing is the best choice with 180 degree rotation from the opening face to the next face. The best results will be obtained with 4/4, unless your experience with the first few logs shows that the wood is good throughout the log with little or no brown heart. If good, then thicker is ok. The brown heart is next to worthless, so perhaps cants that box the heart would be best.

From the original questioner:
Does it snake easy like hard maple? Or can I zip right though it like oak?

From contributor S:
It cuts like butter.

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Yellow birch is close to oak, while the other birches are much softer and saw much more easily.

From contributor S:
White birch saws easy. Poplar saws a little harder but still is easy. There's a big difference between red and white oak. Red oak is fairly easy, and white oak is quite a bit tougher with white or green ash being the hardest around this area.