This paper presents results of the dynamic mechanical response of for two structural woods, i.e. birch and sequoia. Monotonic and cyclic compression testing at room temperature of these materials was performed using a modified Kolsky method; a 20-mm diameter split-Hopkinson pressure bar (SHPB). The birch and sequoia specimens were loaded parallel and orthogonal to the grain of the wood, as well as, at other angles relative to the wood grain. The dynamic mechanical behavior of the two woods was measured as a function of loading orientation under a uniaxial stress state as well as under circumferential confinement using a collar surrounding the sample to quantify the effect of lateral confinement on mechanical behavior. The loading and unloading responses of both woods were found to exhibit nonlinear behavior and a strong dependency on the strain rate of loading. The dynamic stress-strain responses of the birch and sequoia showed a strong influence of grain orientation of the flow stress and fracture behavior. Examination of the damage evolution and fracture responses of the birch and sequoia displayed a strong dependence on grain orientation. Cyclic dynamic loading data, obtained using a modification of the original SHPB testing method, is also presented for the two structural woods studied. In addition to the SHPB tests, plane-wave Shockwave loading experiments were conducted and the shock adiabates for birch was obtained.