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Sassafras

Generally straight grained with a coarse, uneven texture, medium luster and an oily feel. Yellow brown to dark golden brown heartwood and grayish or white sapwood.

Thicknesses

Subject to availability

4/4
5/4
6/4
7/4
8/4
9/4
10/4
12/4
16/4
20/4
1/2"
3/4"
1"

Distribution

Eastern United States

Scientific Name

Sassafras albidum

Specific Gravity: Basic

0.42

Specific Gravity: 12% MC

0.5

Janka Hardness

630

Colour/Appearance

Heartwood is a medium to light brown, sometimes with an orange or olive hue. Colour tends to darken with age. Sapwood is a paler yellowish brown, though it isnt always clearly demarcated from the heartwood. Overall, Sassafras bears a strong resemblance to ash (Fraxinus spp.) and chestnut (Castanea spp.).

Grain/Texture

Grain is straight, with a coarse uneven texture.

Endgrain

Ring-porous; large earlywood pores 3-6 rows wide, small latewood pores solitary and radial multiples of 2-4; tyloses common; growth rings distinct; rays visible without lens; parenchyma around latewood pores vasicentric, aliform (winged) and confluent.

Rot Resistance

Rated as durable to very durable.

Workability

Easy to work with both hand and machine tools. Sassafras also has good dimensional stability once dry. Glues, stains, and finishes well.

Odor

Sassafras has a distinct, spicy scent while being worked.

Allergies/Toxicity

Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Sassafras has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually most common reactions include nausea and respiratory effects. Oil extracted from the roots and wood of Sassafras has been shown to be toxic and weakly carcinogenic if ingested.

Pricing/Availability

Sassafras trees are generally too small to be commercially viable on a large scale, but limited quantities of lumber and turning blanks are available for a modest price.

Sustainability

This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
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