Latin Name: Tilia Americana.
Origin: Southeastern Canada and most of the United States.
Common Names: American Linden, American Whitewood, Lime, Linden.
The tree (characteristics): Basswood is a large tree, growing to heights of 70 to 80 feet tall with a trunk that is 3 to 4 feet in diameter. The bark of the tree is light or silvery gray, and smooth or finely ridges on branches and young trunks. Basswood is a favorite tree of both the honeybee and beekeepers, who are attracted to the non-showy fragrant flowers of the Basswood. The flowers appear in late May or June and produce distinctive tasting honey sold as “basswood honey”.
Appearance of Wood: Heartwood is pale to reddish-brown and at times it will have darker streaks throughout the wood. Sapwood is creamy white in color. The wood itself has a fine uniform texture and moderate luster. The grain is indistinct and straight.
Density: Basswood is a soft and light wood. Average reported specific gravity ranges from .32 to .42 with an average dried weight of 26 pounds per cubic foot. Janka Hardness is 410 pounds of force.
Drying and Shrinkage: Basswood dries rapidly with little distortion or degradation. However, it has a fair amount of shrinkage but good dimensional stability when it is dry. Average reported shrinkage values are 6.6% Radial, 9.3% Tangential. 15.8% Volumetric.
Working Properties: Basswood machines well and is easy to work with hand tools. The wood glues and finishes well and can be polished to a high luster. Basswood is considered a user-friendly wood for woodcarvers.
Durability: Basswood is considered non-resistant to heartwood decay. Common furniture beetles have been known to attack the sapwood.
Uses: Carving, turning. Furniture, patternmaking, moldings, interior joinery, and musical instruments. Basswood is also used for veneer, plywood, wood pulp, and fiber products.
Availability: Basswood is available within reason for both lumber and veneer, particularly from the Northern States.