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Reader Michael S. asks about something that’s been on our “to do” list for at least a year now:  He wants to know where to find birch lumber.  It seems Michael can find all the birch-veneered ply in the world but can’t locate enough solid stock to do furniture and cabinetry projects.

You’re not alone in this, Michael.  We’ve been looking for a good source of this nice, smooth wood ourselves.  At this point we aren’t even really picky — rough stock or not, we’ll make do.  Birch works nicely and features smooth grain patterns, and we often wonder why it’s not available everywhere. It would stand to reason folks would want to work with it.

So we put it to you Toolmongers:  Do you know a good source for solid birch, that’ll help lovers of that yellow, wavy grain pattern get going?  Or should we move to a different stock that’ll be cheaper and more accessible in the long run?  Let us know in comments.


11 Responses to Reader Question: In Search Of Birch

  1. Michael says:

    Home Depot on the West Coast. Lumber is local, that’s why you can get nice Southern Yellow Pine in the South but its a special order in the mahogany price range on the West Coast. I get really nice birch boards, often getting a discount for wavy figured boards, in the trim section of Home Depot, where is in the same section as the paint grade poplar trim material.

  2. cw says:

    Despite their name, Boulter Plywood (in Somerville, MA, USA) sells hardwood as well, including birch. They gladly ship UPS. See http://www.boulterplywood.com

  3. Adon says:

    We get our wood from a local (Vancouver) hardwoods distributor. Birch isn’t hard to find around here. Maybe call up some local woodshops and ask where they get theirs.

    I’ve done this before with vinyl woodtape, and realized the distributor was less than 10 miles away.

  4. BT says:

    Try to find a local place first. http://www.woodfinder.com/ is a good resource as is the good old google search. Otherwise there are plenty of suppliers that will ship UPS or frieght such as http://www.woodworkerssource.com

  5. Gary says:

    If you’re going to stain the project, poplar grain matches reasonably well with birch ply. Granted, I’m not a huge fan of poplar, but I’ve used it before. Ditto what BT said about woodfinder. Great tool.

  6. BC says:

    I get birch from Wolf River Lumber — http://www.wolfriverlumber.com

  7. Cole Goldstein says:

    I found an amazing wood supply company, http://www.hearnehardwoods.com/ they seem to have a lot exotic woods and are very knowledgable. They do have solid birch for order on their site too. Just another place you might want to go.

  8. CH says:


    Small operation in New England with beautiful stock on hand, birch included.

  9. Rochefort says:

    Come to Finland. 😉 Besides pine, birch is the most common solid wood that we use here. The problem for us is more like “where to get something else than birch?” 🙂 (well, thats not really a problem. We do have alot of wood suppliers that carry all kinds of exotic woods).

  10. Steve Fine says:

    Woodply in Freeport NY has a huge variety of woods including birch. They have been around for a long time and they provide all kinds of finishing services as well.

  11. Michael W. says:

    Nothing beats a local yard where you can roam the stacks of wood. I go to a local sawmill/lumberyard called Hankle Lumber in East Nassau, NY ( http://www.hanklelumber.com/ ). The owner has a good eye for grain and produces some very nice wood.
    He normally carries Birch in 4/4, 5/4, and 8/4.

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