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Beech, American

The sapwood is white with a red tinge, while the heartwood is light to dark reddish brown. The wood is generally straight grained with a close uniform texture.

Thicknesses

Subject to availability

4/4
5/4
6/4
7/4
8/4
9/4
10/4
12/4
16/4
20/4
1/2"
3/4"
1"

Distribution

Eastern United States

Scientific Name

Fagus grandifolia

Specific Gravity: Basic

0.54

Specific Gravity: 12% MC

0.72

Janka Hardness

1300

Colour/Appearance

Beech is typically a pale cream colour, sometimes with a pink or brown hue. Veneer tends to be slightly darker coloured, as slicing the veneer usually requires the wood to be prepared with steam, which gives the wood a more golden tone. (See scan below.) Flatsawn surfaces tend to be very plain, while quartersawn surfaces exhibit a silvery fleck pattern.

Grain/Texture

Grain is straight, with a fine to medium uniform texture. Moderate natural luster.

Endgrain

Diffuse-porous; small pores gradually becoming less frequent from earlywood to latewood; solitary and in multiples and clusters; tyloses occasionally present; growth rings distinct due decreased latewood pore frequency; rays easily visible without lens, though size is inconsistent, noded; parenchyma usually not visible with lens.

Rot Resistance

Beech is considered non-durable or perishable; it is also susceptible to insect attack.

Workability

Overall good workability; it machines well, and glues, finishes, and turns well. Beech also responds superbly to steam-bending. It does, however, have a large amount of movement in service, so movement and wood stability must be taken into account.

Odor

No characteristic odor.

Allergies/Toxicity

Although there is no confirmed safety data on American Beech, the closely related European Beech (Fagus sylvatica) has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually most common reactions from this related species include eye, skin, and respiratory irritation.

Pricing/Availability

Within its domestic range, Beech is readily available and affordable. With its high density and hardness, it may be a cheaper alternative to Hard Maple in some applications.

Sustainability

This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
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