To learn more, please visit the responsible forest management section for this region.

Contents:

  1. History of Cultivation
  2. Physico-Mechanical Properties
  3. Key Qualities
  4. Physical Properties
  5. Siberian Larch Products
  6. Effects of Climate
  7. Larches: compared

History of Cultivation

Siberian larch is one of nature’s best examples of tough and beautiful species. Siberian larch grows side by side with the Siberian cedar, the Siberian abies and the Angara common pine, together making up vast and majestic forests of Central and Eastern Siberia.

Siberian Larch 1

The harsh unforgiving climate of this gigantic region ensures that only the strongest survive. How exactly the climate affects the quality of timber is covered in Effects of Climate section. But it is worth mentioning some encouraging evidence to the quality of Siberian larch from history.

During the period V-XI centuries, the time of Venice’s Golden Age, and hence its rapid rise and growth in Construction required robust and long-lasting materials. The city opted for Siberian larch, Siberian larch traded by Scythians, ended up making the most of cores of the piles that the famous city on the water was built upon.

In 1827, examinations of the piles were carried out. The timber of the piles was hardened to the quality of rocks and could not be easily machined, neither with axes, nor with the best available at the time sawing machinery.

The reason for such phenomenal qualities and strength are found in the natural qualities of Siberian larch timber, that are, without exaggeration, outstanding.  

Physico-Mechanical Properties

Siberian Larch 3

Average Dried Weight:  660 kg/m3
Specific Gravity (12% MC):  0.50, 0.63
Janka Hardness*:  1100 bf (3,290 N)
Modulus of Rupture:  108 Mpa
Elastic Modulus:  14.3 Gpa
Crushing Strength:  61.5 Mpa

 * = the Janka test is used to measure hardness.

Siberian Larch - shrinkage variations:

Siberian Larch has a very hard wood, it is almost equal to the hardness of oak wood and its strength in bending, stretching and compressing is bigger than in oak.

Siberian Larch 2

Key Qualities

  • Resistance to Decay:Siberian larch has biological resistance twice that of pine. According to the European standard EN 350-2; 1994, Siberian larch wood is classified as very resistant.
  • Longetivity: Anything made out of Siberian Larch has a extreme longevity of service.
  • High Strength & Density: a high very density and strength, thanks to the special composition of resins.

Physical Properties

The transition between sapwood and heartwood of larch is clear-marked, pale sapwood is clearly demarcated from golden brown heartwood.

The texture of Siberian larch wood is complete and beautiful, with pronounced structure and special silky shine. The colouring of Siberian Larch has a wide range of colours, twelve (12) to be exact, formed by light yellow, red and golden brown colours and their shades.

Uses: the physical and physico-mechanical properties of Siberian larch permit production of almost any product: construction timber, house-building, indoor and outdoor cladding, outdoor furniture and much more.

The gas and water permeability qualities of the larch allow for excellent carbon neutrality when building houses from Siberian larch, while the beautiful texture of larch adds to the quality feel of the products made from it.

If to be more precise, the products that Siberian larch is the best suited for are in places where the wooden structure is forced to come into contact with water or earth: floors, ladders, finishing of the rooms, bathrooms, patios, terraces, garden houses, saunas, benches and any other outdoor products that require sturdiness and longevity of service.

Albeit we do not expect most of our clients to possess a velodrome, Siberian larch is perfectly suitable for the purposes of laying the velotrack, as two velodromes on in Manchester (England) and one in Krylatskoe (Russia) currently use Siberian larch for this purpose.

Sapwood colour: Pale to medium yellow
Heartwood colour:     
Golden-brown, red-brown
Grain: Straight
Texture: Medium-fine, oily feel
Knottiness Few and small
Odour: Distinctive resinous

 

Siberian Larch 5Siberian Larch 4

 

Siberian Larch Products

There are three main types of products made from larch we supply:

Siberian larch beams and planks (fresh cut) - Siberian larch decks and cladding - Siberian larch hand made houses and saunas

 siberian larch beams and plankssiberian larch decks and claddingsiberian larch houses and saunas

 

Siberian Larch 6

 

Effects of Climate

Climate has a direct and significant effect on the quality of timber. There are many factors that impact the resulting quality of timber, these include: geography – flatlands versus mountainous regions, temperature, height above the sea level, the amount of precipitation, the type of soil, the amount of sunlight and whether the forest is mixed or uniform to one species.

South versus North (Eurasia): it is commonly acknowledged that the same species growing in the South will have worse physico-mechanical properties than the same species from Northern regions. This occurs due to the fact that harsher climates have lower temperatures that stun growth, however these demanding conditions demand the species growing/surviving in the Northern hemisphere to adapt in the way that dictates their cell-structure to be more robust and better joined together. As a result these tend to have better physico-mechanical properties.

West versus East (Eurasia): studies have shown that in the Eurasian continent, some species’ physico-mechanical properties tend to worsen the further East they grow, such as spruce and fir. However the opposite is true for other species, across the Siberia that is the case for both the Siberian Larch (Larix Sibirica) and the Siberian Cedar (Pinus Sibirica). More studies have been performed by researches from Sweden:

Scientific Evidence: The work by Michael Pockrandt from HNE Eberswalde has some conclusive and highly descriptive statistics with regard to the statement above. Apart from comparing the Siberian Larch from Siberia to the one grown in Sweden, the analysis also includes information about the Scots Pine (Pine Sylvestris) and European Larch (Larix Decidua). Except from the Siberian Larch grown in Siberia, the test was performed on the Siberian Larch Trees planted in Sweden in two different locations: Ultuna and Simlângdalen. The test has been performed over the course of twelve years, with the purpose of configuring the following parameters: whether moisture absorption, level of decay and whether density and year ring characteristics have any correlation with the level of decay.

Siberian Larch 7

The locations for plantation were chosen specifically to have different soil type: clay and sandy soil, different amount of precipitation: 530 versus 1050 mm, with different acidity levels: pH 7-8 for Ultuna and pH <5 for Simlângdalen.

Siberian Larch 8

From the table above it is clear, that the Siberian Larch from Siberia time wise is 33% more decay-resistant than the same Siberian Larch planted in Sweden. In addition, it is 66.6% more decay-resistant than its European brother – Larix Decidua.

This is indeed conclusive and scientifically based evidence that harsher climates imply better physico-mechanical properties of trees native to those locales. One way of thinking about this is that in more demanding conditions, only the fittest survive, and the weakest do not, the so-called natural selection process.

Larches: compared

Currently there are three types of larches commercially available in the Netherlands. We are confident our Larch is the best in its category, and we would like to share this confidence with you.

Below you may find the information about the European and Japanese Larches.

  Japanese Larch
European Larch
Sapwood colour: White, pale yellow
White, pale yellow
Heartwood colour:     
Yellow to medium red-brown
Reddish-brown
Grain: Generally straigth, but spirals exist
Straight
Texture: Medium-fine, oily feel and many resins    
Medium-fine, oily feel
Knottiness Many and small
A lot but very small
Odour: Distinctive resinous
Distinctive resinous

 

Japanese Larch Japanese Larch

European Larch
European Larch

 Physico-Mechanical Properties Compared:

Siberian Larch 9