Basswood, or lime as it is known in Europe, is widely distributed in the northern temperate regions and is of commercial interest in the United States, Canada, Europe and eastern Asia.
It comes from a medium to large-sized tree, usually about 20m in height, which is often grown for it's decorative effect in avenues and park settings.
Basswood is a pale, almost white wood which darkens to pale brown on exposure.
It has a straight grain and a fine and very uniform texture so that it is generally a featureless wood.
It is of variable weight a mahogany, but American and Japanese timber is appreciably lighter, comparable to poplar.
Basswood dries rapidly and well, apart from some tendency to distort, and once dry is moderately stable in use. It is not a strong wood; European lime has strength properties similar
to those of sycamore, but the American and Japanese timbers are appreciably weaker. Basswood is noted for its excellent working properties,
but it is redily attacked in conditions favoring decay.
Basswood is one of the best woods for carving; it has long been used for this purpose and the remarkable detail that can be obtained is to be seen in the
flower and fruit carvings of Grinling Gibbins, made in the late 17th century. Other traditional uses are for hat blocks and piano parts.
It is also used for dairy and domestic utensils as it is free from taint and basswood is the preferred wood for beehive frames.
Other uses are for small turned items, toys, bobbins and for scale lumber in the hobby industry.