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What Is Birch Furniture?

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  • Written By: Christian Petersen
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 29 September 2016
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Birch furniture is furniture that is constructed from the wood of birch trees. Birch wood is a popular wood for furniture because it has an attractive grain, resists rot and insect damage, is relatively free from knots, and takes stain and other finishes well. Finished furniture made from birch lumber or finish-grade birch plywood is manufactured in many styles and includes some of the finest furniture made. Another popular type of birch furniture is known as bark and twig furniture and makes use of birch branches, from the size of twigs up to larger logs, in their rough, uncut form and may incorporate birch bark, which is employed as a decorative veneer or finish surface.

Many types of furniture are made from birch, and of the nine species of American birch, the gray birch and paper birch provide furniture makers and manufacturers with the majority of furniture-grade lumber. Almost any type of furniture may be made from birch, including bed frames and headboards, cabinets, tables, and chairs. Birch is a popular wood for turning as it is easily worked on a lathe. This quality allows craftsmen to more easily create elaborate and elegant designs on spindles, and for this reason, many fine chairs, tables, and banisters are made from birch.

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Some of the finest finish-grade plywood available is made from birch. While this type of plywood is not suitable for exterior applications, many fine pieces of indoor furniture, like cabinets, bookcases and dressers, are made of this type of plywood. Birch veneers are another popular material for craftsmen, and for furniture makers who apply a thin layer of birch over another, rougher wood in order to enhance the appearance of a piece of furniture.

Bark and twig birch furniture is a popular form of rustic furniture that employs pieces of birch branches in their raw, uncut form. These pieces of birch are usually stripped of their bark and finished but retain their original shape. They are then used to construct furniture, such as stools, chairs, bed frames and headboards, with a rustic look. This type of construction may also be used to give a rustic look to mirrors and picture frames and other types of furniture like dressers and tables. Birch bark is often applied as a veneer to flat surfaces of bark and twig birch furniture to further enhance its rustic appearance.

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