Beech tree appearance wood uses and lumber
Beech trees are very common throughout the temperate zones of the Europe, North America and Asia. The scientific name of beech is fagus sylvatica and is part of the fagaceae family. Beech is a slow growing tree with majestic spreading braches and beautiful seasonal changing colors. Beech wood is excellent quality hardwood and used in many products.
Beech tree, leaf and fruit description
The beech tree can grow to heights up to 130 feet or 40 meters. The tree is classed deciduous but holds its dead leaves much longer that other tree species.
Beech leaves are arranged alternate and are ovate to elliptic shaped. The leaves have silky hairs on one side and can reach lengths up to 4 inches or 10 cm. Beech leaves are very colorful ranging from light green to dark brown and everything in between.
The tree has woody husk fruits. Inside are up to three eatable nuts. Beech nuts are high in vitamins and the basis in many nice refreshments like beech cookies.
Beech tree bark and trunk
Young beech trees have smooth blue grey bark. When the tree gets older the bark gets greener due to moss or other organisms that grow on the beech bark. The trunk of the beech tree has many branches. The diameter of the trunk depends on the age of the tree. Old trees can have trunks with a diameter up to 6 feet or 1.8 meters.
Beech wood properties and durability
Fresh beech heartwood has a pale cream to pinkish brown color that darkens to a pale reddish brown in time. There isn't much color difference between the heartwood and the sapwood on the tree.
Beech wood is known for its fine even texture and high bending and crushing strength. The average dried weight of the wood at a moisture content of 12% is 720 kg per cubic meter. The durability of beech wood is classed as V low durability. Steaming the lumber can improve the durability of the wood.
Beech wood working tips and uses
Beech wood is very popular among carpenters and the wood work industry. Beech lumber is excellent for furniture and also ideal for food containers and baskets because it does not impart taste or odor to food.
When working with beech wood it is recommended to let it acclimatize to the environment. Pre drilling is advised when screws or nails are used. Watch out when pre drilling because beech wood can burn quickly.
Beech wood is used in a very wide range of products like:
- turned articles,
- musical instruments
- tool handles
- and much more