Yew: Taxus baccata

We supply European Yew, English Yew, Welsh Yew, Irish Yew and Scottish Yew.


Yew has a wide native distribution covering the British Isles, Europe, Scandinavia, Western Russia, Asia Minor, North Africa, Burma and the Himalayas.


Yew heartwood is golden-brown with dark purple and brown patches, lines, small knots and in grown bark. The grain is straight with some waving and curling. The timber has a medium texture, neither particularly smooth nor coarse. Average weight 670 kg/m3; specific gravity .67.


Yew has medium crushing and bending strengths, with low stiffness and resistance to shock loads. Yew is suitable for steam bending, straight grained material that has been air dried is best for this purpose.


Yew dries quickly with little degrade, however care should be taken to avoid shakes developing and existing shakes extending. There is small movement in service.


Yew is moderately difficult to work, straight grained material is more easily worked and is produces a better finish, the more irregular or wavy grained material is prone to tearing. Pre-boring is necessary when nailing and the oily nature of the wood means care is required when gluing. Polish will bring out a beautiful finish in the wood. The wood has a very high proportion of in growing bark, shake, splits and live and dead knots.


Yew is very durable although may be subject to attack from the common furniture beetle. It is resistant to preservative treatment and biodegradation.


Yew is most famously used as bowstaves in the British Isles. It is excellent for turnery and carving and works well in interior and exterior joinery. With Yew it is very much a case of buyers view on quality.