Species of Wood: Basswood
American basswood (Tilia americana) is the most important of the native basswood species; next in importance is white basswood (T. heterophylla), and no attempt is made to distinguish between these species in lumber form. In commercial usage, “white basswood” is used to specify the white wood or sapwood of either species. Basswood grows in the eastern half of the United States from the Canadian provinces southward. Most basswood lumber comes from the Lake, Middle Atlantic, and Central States. The heartwood of basswood is pale yellowish brown with occasional darker streaks. Basswood has wide, creamy white or pale brown sapwood that merges gradually into heartwood. When dry, the wood is without odor or taste. It is soft and light in weight, has fine, even texture, and is straight grained and easy to work with tools. Shrinkage in width and thickness during drying is rated as high; however, basswood seldom warps in use. Basswood lumber is used mainly in venetian blinds, sashes and door frames, moulding, apiary supplies, wooden ware, and boxes. Some basswood is cut for veneer, cooperage, excelsior, and pulpwood, and it is a favorite of wood carvers.