Q:

What is larch wood used for?

A:

The Wood Database reports that larch is an important timber source and its wood is primarily used for construction lumber, plywood and particle board, paper, flooring and glue-laminate beams. In the United States, Western larch is the most commercially important member of the Larix genus.

The Idaho Forest Products Commission states that larch wood is particularly useful in environments where rot and stress occur. This makes it a good choice for telephone poles, railroad beams and mine framing. According to the Kinnikinnick Native Plant Society, larch is an excellent firewood, particularly in woodstoves, where it provides quick and clean burning. A water-soluable gum known as arabinogalactan is derived from larch wood. This compound is utilized in the production of inks, paint and pharmaceuticals.

According to Oregon State University, there are 10 Larix species worldwide. These trees are restricted to the cold forests of the northern hemisphere. The Wood Database lists superior hardness and good rot resistance as the characteristics that make larch a valuable wood. Larch wood is one of the hardest types of softwoods and is harder than several species of hardwoods. Larch wood has tones of yellow, reddish-brown and white and has a straight grain, although flat-sawn wood can have an interesting and aesthetically pleasing character.


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