Deformations of timber, caused mainly by anisotropic shrinkage, can be partially directed by controlling annual ring orientation through different sawing patterns. Ring orientation also affects the movement of water from within the board to its surface, with rapidity of drying having implications for the wood colour. Here sawn silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) timber was classed into two groups according to ring orientation. Two drying methods were used. The final moisture content was lower and the colour lighter in dried boards with radial than with tangential flats, but deformations were larger in radial than in tangential boards. Both drying and ring orientation affected the final moisture content and moisture gradient of the boards. Very small differences in board sizes or shape had an effect on both colour and deformations. The results support the need for accurate sawing and for classing silver birch timber sawn into parquet billets according to ring orientation in order to optimise the drying quality.