Is Birch Wood Strong? + Is it Harwood or Softwood?

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It is known that birch wood is a popular choice among woodworkers and builders for its strength, durability, and versatility. However, you might question its reputation for being sturdy and long-lasting for its relatively light color and texture.

In this discussion, our research team delves into how strong is birch wood and its classification as a wood.

Strength of Birch

Birchwood is a well-liked choice for creating furniture due to its warm hues, smooth and consistent texture, and diverse grain patterns. It is a resilient hardwood that displays a distinctive visual appeal in woodworking due to its reddish-brown and pale-white coloring.

Birch wood is a dense and robust material that possesses excellent durability. It is stronger in compression and bending compared to many other types of wood.

Thus, birch wood’s impressive strength makes it a popular choice for producing plywood, flooring, furniture, and cabinets. Based on the study of our wood specialist, the strength of birchwood depends on different factors, such as the values listed below.

strength of birch wood

Is Birch Wood Ideal for Making Furniture With its Strength?

Birchwood furniture has an innate ability to withstand scratches and dents, ensuring that it remains in excellent condition for over a decade.

However, our research team suggests ensuring that your essential woodworking tools are adequately sharpened before working with birchwood to avoid the risk of splitting the wood during the crafting process.

Moreover, despite its durability for furniture-making, we do not advise using birchwood for outdoor purposes.

Here is an elaborate overview of the advantages and disadvantages of birch wood for furniture-making:

birch wood cabinets



Is Birch Lumber Good for Cabinets?

Birchwood is durable, which makes it ideal for furniture or cabinets because it’s hard to scratch or damage. Also, it can handle any weight that can benefit you in achieving sturdy and long-lasting cabinets.

Birch wood is highly workable, allowing you to create cabinets to your exact specifications with ease. Moreover, sanding and polishing this material is an easy task, and its exceptional ability to absorb stains makes it noteworthy.

Thus, cabinets made of birch wood are highly durable and resistant to environmental damage, ensuring they last for a long time.

Is Birch Lumber Strong Enough for Making Cutting Boards?

Our research team recommends birch as an ideal wood for cutting boards. Birchwood has a compact grain that makes it very hygienic. They can also withstand the impact of chopping without harming kitchen knives.

Furthermore, these cutting boards are extremely tough and resist scratches and marks, making them highly durable. Thus, we strongly suggest utilizing birch wood as a sturdy and safe wood for cutting boards.

birch cutting boards

The Hardness of Birch Wood

Birch is a highly favored variety of wood due to its sturdiness, durability, and cost-effectiveness, making it a top choice among woodworkers.

Here are other features of birchwood to ensure that you have a comprehensive understanding of this wood type before commencing your next project.

Birch Wood vs Oak

Birch and oak are among the top wood materials in terms of robustness and resilience. The tensile strength of birch and oak enables them to easily support all the necessary screws and nails for functional purposes.

Oak is renowned for its durability and density, making it a desirable option for producing sturdy and heavy furniture. Moreover, due to its resistance to rot and fungi, oak wood perfectly fits as outdoor furniture.

White Birch

In contrast, birch wood, known to be harder than oak wood, is an excellent choice for flooring and veneer because of its shock resistance. However, birch wood furniture can wear out faster if bugs or insects infest it.

Furniture crafted using both oak and birch lumber are aesthetically pleasing and long-lasting. Nevertheless, the following are specific distinctions between the two kinds of wood:

Type Of Wood

Janka Hardness Rate

Compressive Strength

Bending Strength


1290 pounds of force (lbf)

6760 pounds per square inch (psi)

14300 pounds per square inch (psi)


1260 pounds of force (lbf)

8170 pounds per square inch (psi)

16600 pounds per square inch (psi)

Birch vs Pine Wood

Pine and birch woods are easily accessible and budget-friendly options. However, the primary contrasts between these two types of wood are their level of endurance and hardness.

Pine wood is stable dimensionally, meaning it has a lower likelihood of shrinking or warping. Also, it is resistant to cracking in extreme weather conditions, making it suitable for indoor and outdoor use.

Yellow Pine

On the other hand, birch is a perishable type of wood that can quickly decay and rot if left unprotected from the elements and is highly susceptible to insect attacks. Therefore, we primarily recommend birch for indoor use.

The following are specific distinctions between birch and pine woods for you to consider what type of wood you should use for your desired project based on the study of our wood specialist.

Type Of Wood

Janka Hardness Rate

Compressive Strength

Bending Strength


380 pounds of force (lbf)

4800 pounds per square inch (psi)

8600 pounds per square inch (psi)


1260 pounds of force (lbf)

8170 pounds per square inch (psi)

16600 pounds per square inch (psi)

Birch vs Maple Lumber

Birch and maple, both belonging to the hardwood category, share the common characteristic of requiring minimal maintenance to preserve their quality and prevent wood damage.

Maple is known to be more favored due to its sturdiness and extended lifespan, primarily when utilized as flooring or furniture material.

Maple wood burl

On the other hand, birch is often the preferred choice because it is less expensive and easier to work with, particularly for woodworkers who aim to carve intricate details on the wood.

Here, we elaborated specific distinctions between birch and maple woods for you to further understand the difference between the two kinds of wood:

Type Of Wood

Janka Hardness Rate

Compressive Strength

Bending Strength


1450 pounds of force (lbf)

7830 pounds per square inch (psi)

15800 pounds per square inch (psi)


1260 pounds of force (lbf)

8170 pounds per square inch (psi) [1]

16600 pounds per square inch (psi)

Birch Solid Wood or Engineered Wood: Which Should You Choose?

Engineered wood consists of multiple layers of material, including a top layer of natural wood veneer and a lower layer of high-density fiberwood.

hardwood and engineered wood

Thus, our wood specialist recommends engineered wood as it is more moisture-resistant. Also, it can tolerate a wider range of humidity changes before experiencing issues and is compatible with radiant heating systems.


To conclude, birch wood is considered a relatively strong and durable wood species with a medium to hard density. It is classified as a hardwood, despite having a relatively light color and texture.

Furthermore, birch wood is strong and is commonly used in furniture, flooring, and construction due to its strength and versatility, making it a popular choice among woodworkers and builders. 

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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