Due to limited growth, sassafras generally is not used in large volumes, especially by the furniture or cabinet industries. The largest stands today are in the southern states of Missouri and Arkansas. The wood is very similar to ash in grain appearance. It works more easily than ash but is not as strong.
Sassafras is usually light yellow, tending toward reddish brown, but some trees yield a greenish- yellow color. It bears an aromatic herblike odor, which is substantially reduced in kiln drying. Some questions as to carcinogenic properties have been raised in recent years but not proven. As with all wood dust, protection is a good idea.
Sassafras is priced in the same range as ash but more limited in availability. Traditionally, the wood was used in the manufacture of juvenile furniture, especially from 1880 through the 1920s. This was perhaps motivated by folklore that claimed the scent was a deterrent to childish nightmares. Since then the wood has been chiefly used as drawer siding in dressers. Sassafras is a great wood for chip carving and turning.
The roots and underlying bark of sassafras are used to distill oil that is used in flavoring candy, as a scent in soap, and for folk medicines. In some parts of the United States, tea made from sassafras bark and roots has been used as a substitute for imported tea for years.
Wood grain images provided by HobbitHouseInc.com