European Beech: Fagus sylvatica

We supply English Beech, Welsh Beech, Scottish Beech, Irish Beech and European Beech.

Distribution

European Beech is found throughout central Europe and the British Isles. The European variant is also present in West Asia.

Description

Beech heartwood is pale, with pink/brown tones. On the continent the timber is steamed giving it a reddish tone.  Some timber will be a darker red or will display darker veining. The wood has an even texture derived from the straight grain. Average weight is 720 kg/m3; specific gravity .72.

Properties

Beech’s steam bending properties are very good, even with knots and irregular grain. The timber has medium resistance to shock loads and medium stiffness, it has a high crushing strength.

Seasoning

Beech is prone to warping, checking, splintering and splitting whilst drying. Care must be taken during the drying process, whether air or kilning, to avoid shrinkage. Once the wood is dry there is large movement in service.

Working

The ease of working with Beech depends on the growth conditions and the seasoning. Tough or badly dried timber will burn during crosscutting, bind to saws and is difficult to plane. The wood offers medium resistance to and machine tools. While pre-boring is necessary for use with nails the timber glues and stains well and offers a beautiful finish.

Durability

Beech is permeable to preservation treatments, however the wood is perishable and liable to infestation by the common furniture beetle and the death watch beetle.

Uses

Beech is used for a variety of purposes from shoe heels to cabinet making and high end joinery. More European Beech is consumed in the UK than any other hardwood.