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American Basswood (Tilia americana)


Eastern USA, principally the Northern and Lake States.

General Description

The sapwood of basswood is usually quite large and creamy white in colour, merging into the heartwood which is pale to reddish brown, sometimes with darker streaks. The wood has a fine uniform texture and indistinct grain that is straight.

Hardwoodstats Ash

Working Properties

Basswood machines well and is easy to work with hand tools making it a premier carving wood. It nails, screws, and glues fairly well and can be sanded, stained, and polished to a good smooth finish. It dries fairly rapidly with little distortion or degrade. It has a fairly large shrinkage but good dimensional stability when dry.

Physical Properties

The wood is light and soft with generally low strength properties and a poor steam bending classification.

  • Specific Gravity: 0.37 (12% M.C.)
  • Average Weight: 417 kg/m3 (12% M.C.)
  • Average Volumetric Shrinkage: 12.6% (Green to 6% M.C.)
  • Modulus of Elasticity: 10,067 MPa
  • Hardness: 1824 N


Non-resistant to heartwood decay, sapwood liable to attack by common furniture beetle. The wood is permeable for preservation treatment.


USA: Reasonable availability both for lumber and veneer, particularly from the Northern States.

Export: Available in a full range of thicknesses and specifications, although volumes can be limited, this may change as demand increases.

Main Uses

Carving, turning, furniture, pattern-making, moldings, interior joinery and musical instruments. An important specialized use is Venetian blinds.