American Hardwood Information Center

The Authoritative Resource for American Hardwoods

Gum

Liquidamber styraciflua
Other Names: Redgum,
sapgum, and sweetgum

DISTRIBUTION
The gums are an important part of the Eastern hardwood forests, and are found throughout the Southeastern U.S.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION
The sapwood tends to be wide and is white to light pink, while the heartwood is reddish brown, often with darker streaks. The wood has irregular grain, usually interlocked, which produces an attractive figure with a fine, uniform texture.

WORKING PROPERTIES
The wood is easy to work, with both hand and machine tools. It nails, screws, and glues well, takes stain easily, and can be sanded to an excellent finish. It dries rapidly with a strong tendency to warp and twist. It has a high shrinkage, and is susceptible to movement in performance.

PHYSICAL PROPERTIES
American gum is moderately hard, stiff, and heavy, and has a low steam-bending classification.

AVAILABILITY
Readily available, often separated for color and sold as sapgum (sapwood) and redgum (heartwood).

MAIN USES
Cabinet making, furniture parts, doors, millwork, strips and moulding, turnings, and rail ties. Good substitute for walnut when stained.



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