Smart, Cost-Effective, Treasured for Generations.

Basswood

Tilia americana - Other Name: Linden
 
 

Stain Selector

Clear

Light

Medium

Dark

 

The name comes from its inner bark, or bast, used by Native Americans to make rope.

Where It Grows

Principally the Northern and Lake states. Average tree height is 65 feet.

Main uses

Carvings, turnings, furniture, pattern-making, mouldings, millwork and musical instruments. An important specialized use is Venetian blinds and shutters.

Relative Abundance

Together, aspen, basswood, cottonwood, elm, gum, hackberry, sassafras, sycamore and willow represent 12.5 percent of commercially available U.S. hardwoods.

Did You Know?

Native Americans also used basswood’s inner bark fibers to make thread and fabric.

General Description

The sapwood of basswood is usually quite large and creamy white in color, 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.

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 and stained to a good smooth finish. It dries fairly rapidly with little distortion or degrade. It has fairly high 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.

Availability

Reasonable availability.

Working Properties


Machining

 
 
 
 
 
Poor
Good

Nailing

 
 
 
 
 
Poor
Good

Screwing

 
 
 
 
 
Poor
Good

Gluing

 
 
 
 
 
Poor
Good

Finishing

 
 
 
 
 
Poor
Good
 

Strength and Mechanical Properties (inch-pound)a


 

Static Bending

Moisture Content

Specific Gravity (b)

Modulus of Rupture
(lbf/in2)

Modulus of Elasticity (c)
(106 lbf/in2)

Work to Maximum Load
(in-lbf/in3)

Green-12% 0.32-0.37 5,000-8,700 1.04-1.46 5.3-7.2

Impact Bending
to Grain
(in)

Compression
Parallel to Grain
(lbf/in2)

Compression
Perpendicular to Grain
(lbf/in2)

Shear
Parallel to Grain
(lbf/in2)

Tension
Perpendicular to Grain
(lbf/in2)

Side Hardness
(lbf)

16 2,220-4,730 170-370 600-990 280-350 250-410

a) Results of tests on small clear specimens in the green and air-dried conditions. Definition of properties; impact bending is height of drop that causes complete failure, using 0.71-kg (50 lb.) hammer; compression parallel to grain is also called maximum crushing strength; compression perpendicular to grain is fiber stress at proportional limit; shear is maximum shearing strength; tension is maximum tensile strength; and side hardness is hardness measured when load is perpendicular to grain.

b) Specific gravity is based on weight when ovendry and volume when green or at 12% moisture content

c) Modulus of elasticity measured from a simply supported, center-loaded beam, on a span depth ratio of 14/1. To correct for shear reflection, the modulus can be increased by 10%.