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Commercial Profiles of Northwestern Ontario Tree Species

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Balsam FirAbies balsamea
Balsam Fir

General Wood Characteristics: The wood is white to pale brown. It is without distinctive odour or taste. It is light weight and soft, has good splitting resistance, and is low in shock resistance. Mechanically, it ranks better than white spruce (Picea glauca) and is less than or equal to properties of red (Picea rubens) and black spruce (Picea mariana). It has low nail-holding capacity.
Working Properties: Balsam fir works easily with both hand tools and machine operations. It finishes well, provided sharp cutting edges are used. It takes nails, paint, varnish, and polish well. It has good splitting resistance.
Durability: Heartwood is slightly resistant to nonresistant to decay. It is susceptible to attack by ambrosia beetles (pinhole borers), longhorn beetles, Buprestid beetles, and Sirex wood wasps.
Preservation: Resistant to preservative treatments.
Uses: The tree is a favorite Christmas tree, and the wood is used for pulpwood, lumber, light frame construction, paneling, and crates. The oleoresin (balsam) is used in microscopy, medicinal compounds, and spirit varnishes.
Toxicity: Working with the wood can cause eczema or dermatitis.
Species Distribution: From Newfoundland and Labrador west to northeast Alberta, south and east to southern Manitoba, Minnesota, northeast Iowa, central Wisconsin, central Michigan, southern Ontario, New York, central Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Maine.
The Tree: Balsam fir normally reaches heights of 60 ft (18.29 m), with diameters of 1.5 feet (0.46 m). Trees growing in optimal conditions can reach heights of 90 ft (27.43 m), with diameters of 2.5 ft (0.76 m). It grows from sea level to about 6,000 ft (1828.8 m).
Weight: click for chart
Mechanical Properties: click for chart
Drying and Shrinkage: click for chart
Kiln Drying Schedule: click for chart

See Properties and Units of Measurement for codes.



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MapleAcer
Maple
Acer rubrum
Red Maple

General Wood Characteristics: Maple lumber comes principally from the Middle Atlantic and Lake States, as well as Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. The wood of sugar maple and black maple is known as hard maple; that of silver maple, red maple, and boxelder as soft maple. The sapwood of the maples is commonly white with a slight reddish-brown tinge; the heartwood is light reddish brown, but sometimes is considerably darker. The sapwood is from 3 to 5+ inches (76 to 127+ mm) thick.
Hard maple has a fine, uniform texture, turns well on a lathe, is resistant to abrasion and has no characteristic odour or taste. It is heavy, strong, stiff, hard, and resistant to shock, and it has large shrinkage. Sugar maple is generally straight grained but the grain also occurs as "birds-eye," "curly," and "fiddleback" grain.
The wood of soft maples resembles that of hard maples but is not as heavy, hard and strong, the better grade of soft maple has been substituted for hard maple in furniture. The sapwood in the soft maples is considerably wider than that in the hard maples and has a lighter heartwood color.
Maple lumber sometimes has olive or greenish black discolored areas known as mineral streak or mineral stain, which may be due to injury. Maple wood stains well and takes a high polish. It is intermediate in gluing and has low decay resistance.
Working Properties: The wood turns well, is harder to work than softer woods, and has high nail-holding ability. It stains and polishes well, but is intermediate in gluing.
Durability: Rated as slightly or nonresistant to heartwood decay.
Preservation: Moderately resistant to penetration with preservatives.
Uses: Lumber, distillation, veneer, crossties, paper pulp, flooring, furniture, pallets, boxes and crates, shoe lasts, handles, woodenware, novelties, spools and bobbins, bowling alleys, dance floors, piano frames, bowling pins, cutting blocks, pulpwood and turnery.
Toxicity: May cause allergic bronchial asthma, dermatitis and rhinitis.
Species Distribution: Throughout most of North America, with commercial species in the eastern United States and Canada and the western coast of the United States (bigleaf maple).
The Tree: Maples grow to heights of 120 ft (36 m), with a diameter of 3 ft (1 m). Forest grown trees may have a clear bole of 60 ft (18 m).
Weight: click for chart
Mechanical Properties: click for chart
Drying and Shrinkage: click for chart
Kiln Drying Schedule: click for chart

See Properties and Units of Measurement for codes.



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BirchBetula
Birch
Betula papyrifera
Paper Birch

General Wood Characteristics: The wood varies slightly among species. The wood of yellow birch and sweet birch is heavy, hard and strong, while that of paper birch is lighter, and less hard, strong and stiff. All birches have a fine, uniform texture. Paper birch is easy to work with hand tools; sweet birch and yellow birch are difficult to work with hand tools and difficult to glue, but easily machined.
Yellow birch has white sapwood and light reddish-brown heartwood. Sweet birch has light-colored sapwood and dark brown heartwood tinged with red.
Working Properties: Working properties may vary with species. In general, birches split during nailing; if successfully nailed, they have good nail-holding properties.
Durability: Rated as slightly or nonresistant to heartwood decay.
Preservation: No information available at this time.
Uses: Yellow and sweet birch lumber and veneer are used principally in the manufacture of furniture, boxes, baskets, crates, woodenware, cooperage, interior finish, and doors. Birch veneer goes into plywood used for flush doors, furniture, paneling, radio and television cabinets, aircraft, and other specialty uses. Paper birch is used for turned products, including spools, bobbins, small handles, and toys. Also used for pulp wood, fuel wood, turnery, distillation products, toothpicks, ice cream sticks and tongue depressors.
Toxicity: Birches can cause dermatitis.
Species Distribution: North America. Yellow birch, sweet birch, and paper birch grow principally in the Northeastern and Great Lake States. Yellow and sweet birch also grow along the Appalachian Mountains to northern Georgia. Paper birch is also found throughout Canada and Alaska. Yellow, sweet, and paper birch are the source of most birch lumber and veneer.
The Tree: Birches can reach a height of 70 ft (21m), with a diameter of more than 2 ft (0.6 m).
Weight: click for chart
Mechanical Properties: click for chart
Drying and Shrinkage: click for chart
Kiln Drying Schedule: click for chart

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AshFraxinus
Ash
Fraxinus nigra
Black Ash

General Wood Characteristics: The sapwood of ash is light brown, while the heart-wood is brown to grayish brown. White ash and Oregon ash have lighter heartwood than do the other commercial species. The width of the sapwood is 3 to 6 inches (8 to 15 cm). It is ring porous, with the latewood being composed of parenchyma which surrounds and unites the latewood pores in tangential bands. The wood has no characteristic odour or taste.
Working Properties: Ash is straight grained, heavy, hard, strong, and stiff; it wears smooth, with high shock resistance. It machines well and is better than average in nail- and screw-holding capacity. It glues moderately well. Black ash, green, pumpkin and blue ashes have lower specific gravity and lower strength properties, but are still moderately strong, hard, and stiff compared to other native hardwoods. Ashes also split easier, shrink more, are average in workability, and perform more poorly in service compared to other native hardwoods.
Durability: Rated as slightly or nonresistant to heartwood decay.
Preservation: No information available at this time.
Uses: Handle stock, baseball bats, unupholstered furniture, flooring, millwork, hand tools, sporting goods, boxes and crates.
Toxicity: No information available at this time.
Species Distribution: Ashes are composed of 40 to 70 species, native to the north temperate regions of the globe. All species look alike microscopically.
The Tree: Ashes are trees or shrubs with large, opposite, pinnately compound leaves. The compound leaves have 2 to 11 leaflets. The flowers can be bisexual or there can be distinct male and female flowers on separate trees. The flowers have no petals and the fruits are dry with a flattened wing. The tree can reach heights of 80 ft (24 m) with straight boles.
Weight: click for chart
Mechanical Properties: click for chart
Drying and Shrinkage: click for chart
Kiln Drying Schedule: click for chart

See Properties and Units of Measurement for codes.



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Larix
Larches & Tamaracks
Larix laricina
Tamarack

General Wood Characteristics: The sapwood of tamarack is white and narrow (less than 1 in.((2.54 cm) wide), and the heartwood is yellow to russet brown. The wood is medium to fine in texture, has a silvery cast and an oily feel, and has no distinctive odour or taste. It is intermediate in strength, stiffness, and hardness. It is moderately high in shock resistance.
Working Properties: Tamarack works well in most instances, but may have a dulling effect on tools. It has a tendency to split when nailed and is low in paint retention.
Durability: The heartwood of tamarack is moderately resistant to heartwood decay.
Preservation: It is difficult to penetrate with preservatives.
Uses: Pulp products (glassine paper), posts, poles, mine timbers, rough timber, fuel wood, boxes, crates, and pails. In Alaska, young stems are used for dogsled runners, boat ribs, and fish traps. In Alberta, the branches are used for making goose and duck decoys.
Toxicity: At this time, no information exists on tamarack, but other species of larch can cause dermatitis and contact urticaria.
Species Distribution: Tamarack grows across northern North America near the northern limit of tree growth. It grows from Newfoundland, Labrador, and Quebec west to Hudson Bay, Mackinaw, the Yukon, and southern Alaska south to British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Minnesota, Wisconsin, northeastern Illinois east to Indiana, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maine. It occurs locally in the mountains of West Virginia and Maryland.
The Tree: In general, tamarack grows to heights of 75 ft (22.86 m), with a diameter of 2 ft (0.61 m), occasionally reaching heights of 115 ft (35.05 m), with a diameter of 3.5 ft (1.07 m). Trees 80 ft (24.38 m) tall and 2 ft (0.61 m) in diameter were once common in the Lake States. In the interior of Alaska, tamaracks are commonly 10 ft (3.05 m) tall and 3 in. (7.62 cm) in diameter. On good sites, in Alaska, tamarack reaches heights of 90 ft (27.4 m), with diameters of 1 ft (0.30 m). Maximum ages of tamarack are about 180 years, but trees 335 years old have been found.
Weight: click for chart.
Mechanical Properties: click for chart
Drying and Shrinkage: click for chart
Kiln Drying Schedule: click for chart

See Properties and Units of Measurement for codes.



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FirPicea glauca
White Spruce

General Wood Characteristics: The wood dries easily, is stable after drying, is moderately light in weight and easily worked, has moderate shrinkage, and is moderately strong, stiff, tough, and hard. It is straight, even grained, soft, and finishes with a satin-like surface. The wood is creamy white or straw coloured, and there is little difference between the colour of the heartwood and sapwood.
Working Properties: White spruce is easily worked.
Durability: The heartwood of spruce is slightly resistant to nonresistant to decay.
Preservation: White spruce is resistant to preservative treatment.
Uses: The largest use of white spruce is pulpwood. It is also used for framing material, general millwork, boxes and crates, and piano sounding boards.
Toxicity: Working with fresh spruce wood can cause dermatitis or other contact sensitivity
Species Distribution: White spruce is native to widespread areas across northern North America near the northern limit of trees, from Newfoundland, Labrador, and northern Quebec, west to the Hudson Bay, northwest Mackinaw, and northwestern and southwestern Alaska, south to southern British Columbia, southern Alberta and northwestern Montana, east to southern Manitoba, central Minnesota, central Michigan, southern Ontario, northern New York and Maine. It is also found locally in the Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming.
The Tree: White spruce trees reach heights of 110 ft (33.53 m), with diameters of 2 ft.
Weight: click for chart.
Mechanical Properties: click for chart
Drying and Shrinkage: click for chart
Kiln Drying Schedule: click for chart

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Picea mariana
Black Spruce

General Wood Characteristics: The wood dries easily, is stable after drying, is moderately light in weight and easily worked, has moderate shrinkage, and is moderately strong, stiff, tough, and hard. It is not very resistant to bending or end-wise compression. It is straight, even grained, medium to fine textured, soft, and produces a lustrous finish. It is without characteristic odour or taste. The wood is a pale yellowish white, and there is little difference in color between the heartwood and sapwood. It has exceptional resonance qualities, in the form of thin boards. It has moderately high shrinkage, but is easily air or kiln dried.
Working Properties: It is easily worked, glues well, is average in paint-holding ability, but rates low in nail-holding capacity.
Durability: The heartwood of spruce is slightly resistant to nonresistant to decay.
Preservation: It is difficult to penetrate with preservatives.
Uses: The largest use of black spruce is pulpwood. It is also used for framing material, general millwork, boxes and crates, and piano sounding boards.
Toxicity: Working with fresh spruce wood can cause dermatitis or other contact sensitivity.
Species Distribution: Black spruce has a widespread distribution across northern North America near the northern limit of trees, from Newfoundland, Labrador, and northern Quebec, west to the Hudson Bay, northwest Mackinaw, and central, western and southern Alaska, south to central British Columbia, and east to southern Manitoba, central Minnesota, Wisconsin, southeastern Michigan southern Ontario, New York, central and northeastern Pennsylvania, northern New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.
The Tree: Black spruce trees reach heights of more than 50 ft (15.24 m), with diameters of 1 ft (0.30 m). Exceptional trees grow to 90 ft (27.43 m), with a diameter of almost 2 ft (0.61 m).
Weight: click for chart.
Mechanical Properties: click for chart
Drying and Shrinkage: click for chart
Kiln Drying Schedule: click for chart

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Jack PinePinus banksiana
Jack Pine

General Wood Characteristics: The sapwood of jack pine is nearly white, and the heartwood is light brown to orange. The sapwood may make up half or more of the volume of a tree. The wood has a rather coarse texture and is somewhat resinous. It is moderately light in weight, moderately low in bending and compressive strength, moderately low in shock resistance, and low in stiffness. It also has moderately small shrinkage. Lumber from jack pine is generally knotty. In lumber, jack pine is sometimes included along with other pines with which it grows, including red pine and eastern white pine.
Working Properties: Jack pine ranks average in workability with tools. Compared with red pine, it has lower nail-holding capacity and is more liable to split when nailed.
Durability: Jack pine's durability is very limited when exposed to conditions favorable to decay.
Preservation: Penetration with preservatives is difficult.
Uses: Jack pine is used for pulpwood, box lumber, pallets, and fuel. Less important uses include mine timber, slack cooperage, poles, and posts.
Toxicity: In general, working with pine wood can cause dermatitis, allergic bronchial asthma, or rhinitis in some individuals.
Species Distribution: Jack pine is native to Cape Breton Islands, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Maine, and central Quebec, west to northern Ontario, northern Manitoba, southwestern Keewatin, and western Mackinaw, south to extreme northwestern Indiana, Michigan, southern Ontario, northern New York, and New Hampshire.
The Tree: Jack pine trees normally reach heights of 65 ft (19.81 m), with diameters of 10 in. (25.40 cm). Exceptional trees can be found that are 100 ft (30.48 m) tall, with diameters of 2 ft (0.61 m).
Weight: click for chart.
Mechanical Properties: click for chart
Drying and Shrinkage: click for chart
Kiln Drying Schedule: click for chart

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Red Pine Pinus resinosa
Red Pine

General Wood Characteristics: The sapwood of red pine is nearly white to yellow, and the heartwood varies from red to reddish brown. The wood has an oily feel and a resinous odour. It is straight, even grained, medium textured, and moderately heavy. It is intermediate in density between longleaf and eastern white pine. It is relatively strong and stiff and moderately high in shock resistance.
Working Properties: Red pine is easy to work with hand tools, holds nails, screws well, finishes well, but has difficulty holding paint.
Durability: It is moderately durable for uses not in contact with the ground.
Preservation: It is easy to treat with preservatives
Uses: Poles, pilings, cabin logs, posts, lumber for construction (girders, beams, joists, studs, stair parts and trusses), house siding, framing, shelving, trim millwork, lawn and garden furniture, woodenware, novelties, toys, and pulp and paper. The trees are planted for wind breaks and Christmas trees. The bark is used for tanning, and the old stumps are used for turpentine and rosin production.
Toxicity: In general, working with red pine wood can cause dermatitis, allergic bronchial asthma, or rhinitis in some individuals.
Species Distribution: Red pine is native to Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, southern Quebec and Maine, west to central Ontario and southeastern Manitoba, south to southeastern Minnesota and east to Wisconsin, Michigan, southern Ontario, northern Pennsylvania, northern New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. It is also found locally in northern Illinois, eastern West Virginia, and Newfoundland.
The Tree: Red pine trees reach heights of 80 ft (24.38 m), with diameters of 3 ft (0.91 m). A record tree was reported at a height of 150 (45.72 m), with a diameter of 5 ft (1.52 m). Long-lived stands may contain trees as old as 200 years.
Weight: click for chart.
Mechanical Properties: click for chart
Drying and Shrinkage: click for chart
Kiln Drying Schedule: click for chart

See Properties and Units of Measurement for codes.



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White PinePinus strobus
Eastern White Pine

General Wood Characteristics: The heartwood of Eastern white pine is light brown, sometimes with a reddish tinge, turning darker on exposure. The sapwood is white, tinged with yellow. It has a uniform texture, is easily worked with tools, shrinks little, is easily kiln dried, is straight grained, and is dimensionally stable. It is light weight, moderately soft, moderately weak, not stiff, and low in shock resistance. It has medium strength values.
Working Properties: It is easily worked with tools, is straight grained, and is dimensionaly stable. It takes stains, glue, and finishes well. It has good nail-holding ability.
Durability: The heartwood of eastern white pine is moderately resistant to decay.
Preservation: The heartwood is moderately resistant to preservative treatment, and the sapwood is permeable.
Uses: Most Eastern white pine is converted into lumber, which is put to a great variety of uses. A large proportion, which is mostly second-growth knotty lumber or the lower grades, goes into container and packaging applications. High grade lumber goes into patterns for castings. Other important uses are sash, doors, furniture, trim, knotty paneling, finish, caskets and burial boxes, shade and map rollers, and toy, dairy, and poultry supplies. The bark is used to produce white pine tar, an antiseptic and expectorant. The tree is a popular Christmas tree. Prior to the late 1800s, most of the large trees were logged for ship masts.
Toxicity: In general, working with pine wood can cause dermatitis, allergic bronchial asthma, or rhinitis in some individuals.
Species Distribution: Eastern white pine is native to North America from Newfoundland, the Anticosti Islands, and the Gaspé Peninsula of Quebec, west to central and western Ontario and extreme southeast Manitoba, south to southeastern Minnesota and northeastern Iowa, east to northern Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey and south to northern Georgia and northwest South Carolina. It is also locally distributed in western Kentucky, western Tennessee, and Delaware.
The Tree: Eastern white pine grows to heights of 100 ft (30.48 m), with a diameter of 3 to 6 ft (0.91 to 1.83 m). Historically, it has grown to heights of 200 ft (60.96 m), with diameters of 6 ft (1.83 m). Current national champion trees are taller than 140 ft (42.67 m).
Weight: click for chart.
Mechanical Properties: click for chart
Drying and Shrinkage: click for chart
Kiln Drying Schedule: click for chart

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AspenPopulus
Aspen (Poplar)
Populus balsamifera
Balsam Poplar
Populus grandidentata
Large-toothed Aspen (Bigtooth Aspen)
Populus tremuloides
Trembling Aspen (Quaking Aspen)

General Wood Characteristics: The sapwood of aspen is white, blending into the light brown heartwood. The wood of aspen has a uniform texture; is straight grained, light and soft; and has good dimensional stability and low to moderate shrinkage.
Working Properties: Aspen does not split when nailed, machines easily with a slightly fuzzy surface, and turns, bores and sands well. It holds nails poorly to fairly well, but glues, prints, and holds paint well. It is easily pulped by all commercial processes.
Durability: Rated as slightly or nonresistant to heartwood decay.
Preservation: Extremely resistant.
Uses: Pulp for books, newsprint and fine printing papers. Fiberboard, wafer board, sheathing, decking, decorative applications, boxes, crates, pallets, furniture parts, lumber core, veneer, match sticks, tongue depressors, paneling, excelsior.
Toxicity: Sawdust may cause dermatitis.
Species Distribution: Aspen (the genus Populus) is composed of 35 species which contain the cottonwoods and poplars. Species in this group are native to Eurasia/north Africa, Central America and North America. All species look alike microscopically.
Trembling aspen ranges from Alaska through Canada and into the northeastern and western United States. In North America, it occurs as far south as central Mexico at elevations where moisture is adequate and summers are sufficiently cool. The more restricted range of Large-toothed aspen includes southern Canada and the northern United States, from the Atlantic coast west to the prairies.
The Tree: Aspens can reproduce sexually, yielding seeds, or asexually, producing suckers (clones) from their root system. In some cases, a stand could then be composed of only one individual, genetically, and could be many years old and cover 100 acres (40 hectares) or more. Most aspen stands are a mosaic of several clones.
Aspen can reach heights of 120 ft (48 m), with a diameter of 4 ft (1.6 m). Aspen trunks can be quite cylindrical, with little taper and few limbs for most of their length. They also can be very crooked or contorted, due to genetic variability. The bark of the two species can be quite variable in colour and degree of furrowing. The leaves of aspen can vary from nearly round to ovate, with small to large teeth. Aspen trees are dioecious, that is, they occur as either male or female trees.
Weight: click for chart.
Mechanical Properties: click for chart
Drying and Shrinkage: click for chart
Kiln Drying Schedule: click for chart

See Properties and Units of Measurement for codes.



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CedarThuja occidentalis
Eastern White-Cedar

General Wood Characteristics: The sapwood of northern white-cedar is thin and white, and the heartwood is a light brown. The wood has an aromatic spicy "cedary or pencil-like" odour. It has an even grain, fine texture, and the lowest density of any commercial domestic wood. It is soft and has low Mechanical properties (bending and compressive strength, hardness, stiffness, shock and splitting resistance, and nail- and screw-holding abilities).
Working Properties: It is easy to work with using hand tools and is average in machinability. It is dimensionally stable, glues well, and holds paint well.
Durability: The heartwood is resistant to subterranean termites and resistant to very resistant to decay.
Preservation: Eastern white-cedar is resistant to extremely resistant to preservative treatments.
Uses: Rustic fencing and posts, cabin logs, lumber, poles, shingles, shipping containers, piling, lagging, pails, tubs, ties, boat building (especially canoe ribs), tanks, novelties, wooden wares, and pulp wood.
Toxicity: Can cause allergic bronchial asthma, dermatitis, and rhinitis
Species Distribution: Northern white-cedar is native to Quebec (the Anticosti Islands and Gaspé Peninsula), New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, southwestern Nova Scotia, and Maine, west to northern Ontario and southeastern Manitoba, south to southeastern Minnesota and northeastern Illinois, east to extreme northwestern Indiana, Michigan, southern Ontario, southern New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. It is also found locally in central Manitoba and the Appalachian Mountains in western Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, western North Carolina, and eastern Tennessee.
The Tree: Northern white-cedar trees normally reach heights of 50 ft (15.24 m), with diameters of 2 ft (0.61 m). Exceptional trees may grow 80 ft (24.38 m) tall, with a diameter of 5 ft (1.52 m). The record is 113 ft (34.44 m), with a diameter of 6 ft (1.83 m).
Weight: click for chart.
Mechanical Properties: click for chart
Drying and Shrinkage: click for chart
Kiln Drying Schedule: click for chart

See Properties and Units of Measurement for codes.



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