Species: The Hardwoods (Red alder – Alnus rubra, Bigleaf maple – Acer macrophyllum, Western white birch – Betula papyfirera, and Trembling aspen – Populus tremuloides)
The four commercially important hardwoods grown and processed in British Columbia are Red alder (Alnus rubra), Bigleaf maple (Acer macrophyllum), Western white birch (Betula papyfirera) and Trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides).
The most plentiful hardwood on the Pacific coast, alder grows in pure stands on moist bottom land in coastal valleys.
Varies in color from a flesh shade to a light reddish-brown with little distinction between heartwood and sapwood. It has a fine uniform texture and straight grain. Occasional pieces have prominent aggregate rays that show a pleasing pattern when the wood is quarter-sawn.
Light in weight with medium strength and hardness. Low durability in moist conditions.
Dries readily with little degrade. Easily worked with good machining and gluing qualities and good nail and screw-holding properties. Takes paint and stain finishes well.
British Columbia’s only commercial maple. It grows on Vancouver Island and the adjacent islands and mainland.
The sapwood is pinkish and the heartwood pinkish-brown. Texture is uniform and occasional pieces have highly figured, wavy grain.
Moderately heavy and hard and of medium strength. Not decay resistant.
Seasons well with little or no degrade. Has good machining, gluing, nail and screw holding, and finishing properties.
Western White Birch
One of only two birches found in southern British Columbia. Its range extends from Saskatchewan to the Pacific Coast.
Usually creamy white, but a brownish central core is often present. The growth-ring pattern is faint and the texture is fine and uniform.
Moderate in weight, strength and hardness. Not decay resistant.
Seasons satisfactorily with fairly high shrinkage but little degrade. Good machining qualities and high nail and screw holding ability. Requires care in gluing. Takes a smooth finish.
Canada’s most widely distributed hardwood. Grows from the Atlantic Coast to the Pacific Coast and north to the Yukon.
Light in color – ranging from nearly white to greyish-white. It is usually straight-grained with a fine, even texture and a faint growth-ring figuration.
Light in weight with medium strength properties comparable to Western white spruce. High resistance to wear. Not decay resistant.
Seasons satisfactorily with moderate shrinkage. Care is required when machining to produce quality surfaces. Moderately easy to glue and holds nails and screws satisfactorily.
Widely available in all domestic and export markets.
Casework, cabinetwork, industrial components, doors, architectural millwork, cutstock, veneer.