“Due to the hardness of Birch, it is better to shape it with power tools, as it is quite difficult to work it with hand tools.
Birch wood is fine-grained and pale in colour, often with an attractive satin-like sheen. Ripple figuring may occur, increasing the value of the timber for veneer and furniture-making. The highly decorative Masur (or Karelian) birch, from Betula verrucosa var. carelica, has ripple textures combined with attractive dark streaks and lines. Birch wood is suitable for veneer, and birch plywood is among the strongest and most dimensionally stable plywoods, although it is unsuitable for exterior use.
Birch plywood is made from laminations of birch veneer. It is light but strong, and has many other good properties. Birch plywood is used to make longboards (skateboard), giving it a strong yet flexible ride. It is also used (often in very thin grades with many laminations) for making model aircraft.
Extracts of birch are used for flavoring or leather oil, and in cosmetics such as soap or shampoo. In the past, commercial oil of wintergreen (methyl salicylate) was made from the sweet birch (Betula lenta).
Birch-tar or Russian oil extracted from birch bark is thermoplastic and waterproof; it was used as a glue on, for example, arrows, and also for medicinal purposes.
Fragrant twigs of silver birch are used in saunas to relax the muscles.
Birch is also associated with the feast of Pentecost in Germany, Central and Eastern Europe, and Russia, where its branches are used as decoration for churches and homes on this day.
Birch leaves are used to make a diuretic tea and extracts for dyes and cosmetics.
Ground birch bark, fermented in sea water, is used for seasoning the woolen, hemp or linen sails and hemp rope of traditional Norwegian boats.
Birch twigs bound in a bundle, also called birch, were used for birching, a form of corporal punishment.
Many Native Americans in the United States prized the birch for its bark, which due to its light weight, flexibility, and the ease with which it could be stripped from fallen trees, was often used for the construction of strong, waterproof but lightweight canoes, bowls, and wigwams.
The Hughes H-4 Hercules was made mostly of birch wood, despite its better-known moniker, "The Spruce Goose".
Birch plywood was specified by the BBC as the only wood that can be used in making the cabinets of the long-lived LS3/5A loudspeaker.
Birch is used as firewood due to its high calorific value per unit weight and unit volume. It burns well, without popping, even when frozen and freshly hewn. The bark will burn very well even when wet because of the oils it contains. With care, it can be split into very thin sheets that will ignite from even the smallest of sparks.
Birch sap is a traditional drink in Northern Europe, Russia, and Northern China. The sap is also bottled and sold commercially. Birch sap can be used to make birch syrup, which is used like maple syrup for pancakes and waffles. Birch wood can be used to smoke foods.
Birch seeds are used as leaf litter in miniature terrain models.
"Birch flowers" is the English marketing name for the catkins of the Broussonetia luzonica tree. Known in the Philippines as himbabao or alukon, these flowers are commonly used in the cuisine of northeastern Luzon. However, despite their English name and the similar appearance of their flowers, B. luzonica is not in any way related to the birch tree.
Birch oil is used in the manufacture of Russia leather, a water-resistant leather.”
Baltic birch is among the most sought-after wood in the manufacture of speaker cabinets. Birch has a natural resonance that peaks in the high and low frequencies, which are also the hardest for speakers to reproduce. This resonance compensates for the roll-off of low and high frequencies in the speakers, and evens the tone. Birch is known for having "natural EQ".
Drums are often made from birch. Prior to the 1970s, it was one of the most popular drum woods. Because of the need for greater volume and midrange clarity, drums were made almost entirely from maple until recently, when advances in live sound reinforcement and drum microphones have allowed the use of birch in high-volume situations. Birch drums have a natural boost in the high and low frequencies, which allows the drums to sound fuller.
Birch wood is sometimes used as a tonewood for semiacoustic and acoustic guitar bodies, and occasionally for solid-body guitar bodies. It is also a common material used in mallets for keyboard percussion."