Larch wood

The larch (lat. Larix decidua), like the pine and Douglas fir, is one of the heartwood trees that show a pronounced difference in colour between the outer sapwood and the inner heartwood. The sapwood of the larch is light yellowish to reddish-yellow in colour, while the heartwood has a bright red to reddish-brown colour when fresh and darkens to an intense reddish-brown to dark reddish-brown in the light.

Characteristics of larch wood

The larch kernels very early, which is why it has a decidedly narrow sapwood compared to the pine, which is often less than 1 cm wide. This means that a much larger area of the trunk cross-section is pitted. Another special feature of larch wood are the numerous black knots, which can be as thick as a pencil. They originate from intermediate whorls of the trunk that dry out early and then grow into the wood as long so-called “nail branches”.

The structure of the annual rings

The late wood, which is considerably darker to deep brown than the light-coloured early wood, is sharply set off from the early wood both at the annual ring boundaries and within the annual rings and thus on both sides. The abrupt change from earlywood to latewood within the annual rings is also one of the characteristic features of larch wood. The width of the latewood, which is about two to almost three times as heavy as the earlywood, depends on the width of the annual rings. In 1 to 2 mm wide annual rings, the proportion of late wood is highest and amounts to about 1/4 to 1/3 of the annual ring width.

Corresponding to the pronounced differences between earlywood and latewood, the annual rings are clearly separated from each other on the cross-section, and the longitudinal surfaces are distinctively veined (tangential section) or striped (radial section).

Other properties of larch wood

Larch, like spruce, pine and Douglas fir, has resin channels that are visible on cleanly stripped end grain surfaces in the late wood as small light dots and, if necessary, on the longitudinal surfaces by emerging resin. The wood rays are very fine in larch wood, as in all softwoods, and are only visible as low mirrors on longitudinal sections, but without influencing the wood appearance in any way. Larch wood has a strong aromatic resinous smell, which is inherent even in wood that has been dried for a long time.

Overall character:
Very narrow-split coniferous wood with reddish brown to dark reddish brown heartwood colouring as well as pronounced earlywood-latewood contrast and thus clear annual ring structure. Decorative.

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