Beech Wood Properties | Its Advantages and Disadvantages

Introduction

Beech(Fagus) is native to Europe, Asia, and North America. Beech is a common name of a certain tree species. Such as European Beech, American Beech, Japanese Beech, and many more. These are almost identical to each other. 

The height of their trees is about 100–130 ft (30–40 m). The sapwood is light yellow and the heartwood is red-white in color. Heartwood turns red-brown after steam treatment. 

They are generally used for making Plywood, Furniture, Model buildings. Beech is medium hard and straight-grained wood. Therefore this is also the best option for musical instruments and sports equipment. 

Table

#Beech
Scientific Name:Fagus
Tree Size:100–130 ft (30–40 m) tall.
Wood Color:Pale cream to brown hue color.
Grain:Straight with uniform texture
Rot Resistance:Not rot resistance
Workability:Overall good workability
Odor:There is no odor.
Common Uses:Veneer, flooring, boatbuilding, railroad ties, musical instruments.
Availability:Easily Available and affordable. 
Beech Wood Properties

Beech Wood Uses

  1. The Beech Wood is excellent for firewood. Because it can be easily split and burns easily.
  2. It is also used for smoke meat, fish, vegetables, nuts, and cheese. It is famous to smoke Westphalian ham.
  3. Being a hardwood, beech is also used for manufacturing musical instruments. Such as Drums and Guitar bodies. Beech has a tone between those of Maple and Birch, both are the most popular drum woods.
  4. European beech has (1,450 lbf (6,460 N)) Janka and its weight is about 720 kg per cubic meter, higher than the American beech. Therefore it is suitable for furniture framing and door construction, flooring, and engineering purposes.
  5. The timber of beech is the best option for making chalets, houses, and log cabins.
  6. The European beech (Fagus sylvatica), most commonly grown as an ornamental tree.

Beech Wood Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages 

  1. Good Appearance: Due to its fine and straight grain, it gives a uniform texture. 
  2. Workability: Due to its medium density and hardness, it holds the nail and screw very well. Its grain holds the polish and paint well and gives a finishing look. It can be easily banded into many shapes with the steam-bending method.
  3. Hard and Tough: This is a hard and tough wood material, which is better for furniture and floor. It can withstand heavy loads. Due to its good hardness, it does not easily scratch and scars. Which is better for a floor owner.
  4. Stable Hardwood: It is a stable wood. But it should be completely dry. Beech can cause problems when exposed to moisture.
  5. Sustainable: European and American Beech is sustainable and it is not listed in the CITES Appendices. 

Disadvantages

  1. Not for Exterior: It cannot withstand the changing weather and dust. It starts to rot only a few years after contact with the soil and moisture. Experts say the use of beech is not suitable for exterior applications.
  2. Crack & Warps: If we use beech wood without paint and polish, then it starts to crack in a few years. Moisture can be the main reason for Crack & Warps. When it starts to dry again after the moisture, then it starts to bend, which causes a lot of cracks and gaps in the wood joints.
  3. Absorbs water: It absorbs moisture very fast. To prevent this, it is better to use treated beech but its price is high. You can also use pants and polish to prevent moisture, but this is extra expensive.
  4. Expensive: With these properties, it is more expensive than other wood. It needs regular maintenance and care.

Beech Wood Properties 

European Beech and American Beech are from the Beech family. The properties of these two kinds of wood are very close to each other. There are slight differences in their appearance and color. If we talk about Grain / Texture and Workability then there is no difference between them. 

Color / Appearance: The color of its sapwood is pale cream and heartwood is pink or brown or reddish-white. It changes its color over time and it becomes slightly dark-colored. After steam treatment, its color becomes golden tone.

Janka Hardness: Beech Wood has sufficient hardness. If we talk European Beech’s hardness is 1,450 lbf (6,460 N) and American Beech’s hardness is 1,300 lbf (5,780 N). So that is ideal for home furniture and exterior applications.

Workability: It can be glue, finishes, and trim very well. Beech is known for steam-bending. They can be easily worked with tools and machines even after having medium hardness.

Rot Resistance: It is better to have a rot resistance of any wood, But, beech does not have the properties of natural rot resistance. It can easily cause decay.

Availability: European Beech is widely available across Europe in bulk. American Beech also becomes available in the market at an affordable price in the domestic range.

Durability: The beech has sufficient hardness and good vorticity but that does not mean that it is good durable. Its wood can easily get insects and rot.

Steam Beech Wood properties

After the process of steam, beech changes its properties. As such, it can be made rot-resistance after chemical steam. It can turn to a deeper reddish-brown with a steaming process.

It has a straight grain with fine, Therefore is also an improvement in its workability. We can say that after the steaming process beech wood can be used for flooring and plywood.

Types of Beech Trees

There are many true and false species in the family of beech, but here are the names of the top 5 species as follows.

  1. American Beech (Fagus grandifolia) 
  2. European Beech (Fagus sylvatica)
  3. Copper Beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Purpurea’)
  4. Japanese Beech (Fagus Crenata)
  5. Tri-Color Beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Purpurea Tricolor’)

How to identify Beech Wood?

Beech can be identified by its leaves, bark, and grain. There are many trees in the beech family. Each species has its own properties and habits. So that they can be identified.

Beech leaf | Image by analogicus from Pixabay
  1. Bark: When the beech tree is growing, Its bark color is gray and smooth. But as the tree grows older bark becomes rougher with snaking vertical plates. cracked horizontally can be easily seen in the bark of a young beech tree.
  2. Leaf: The color of the Beech leaf is medium to dark, shiny green. They turn dark green in summer. Their length of the leaf is 3 to 6 inches long.
  3. Height: The length of beech trees depends on their species. For example Chinese beech (F. Engleriana), about 20 meters, Japanese blue beech (F. japonica), up to 24 meters, Mexican beech, or haya (F. Mexicana), the tree often 40 meters (130 feet) tall. 

In conclusion

Beech is good for interior application. It is used to build many applications. Each wood species has its merits and demerits. It depends on which wood we use for which applications. So it is always better to know about wood before choosing wood.

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