Beech wood is a hardwood, hard and heavy, especially known for its light tones it’s yours excellent performance against all types of finishes. It is a very competitive option due to its abundance, thanks mainly to sustainable forestry.
For centuries it was a neglected wood, due to bad behavior in the face of humidity, and the “oak superiority”, A species with which it has important similarities. Only after discovering that, with the application of tar, it could be used without problems as railway sleepers, starting to be used almost exclusively as firewood.
It is a large tree that can reach 40 meters and live for 300 years. They don’t like too hot or too cold climates.
Beech is also a very valuable species for forestry, as it can grow in the most diverse environments. For approximately 50 years, it has been one of the most used species for reforestation in northern Europe.
Types of beech
Two types of beech are mainly marketed: European (Fagus sylvatica) and the American (Fagus grandifolia) In this article, we’ll focus on the first.
In general terms, European beech has better properties: it is a little less dense, but more resistant and with better elastic and mechanical properties. It is also slightly darker.
Characteristics of Beech Wood
Color: It is a light wood, even whitish, and very homogeneous. Natural beech wood acquires a certain reddish-yellow hue over time, but it is still quite clear. It is very common to subject it to a vaporization process that darkens it to orange-red tones. It is what is known as vaporized beech wood, and it is curious that many people think that this is the natural color of beech.
Characteristic defects: Growth tensions. Red fake heart due to chromogenic attack.
Grain: thin and uniform.
Hardness and density: It is a heavy wood, approximately 710-730 kg / m³.
Toughness: It is a semi-hard wood with 4 in the Monnin test
Durability: Rots easily in contact with moisture and is sensitive to attack by insects and fungi. It is essential to apply protective treatments.
- Volumetric contraction coefficient: 0.51%. Medium edgy wood.
- Relationship between contractions: 2.05%. Tendency to attack.
- Flexural strength: 1000 kg / cm²
- Compressive strength: 580 kg / cm²
- Parallel tensile strength: 1200 kg / cm²
- Modulus of elasticity: 150,000 kg / m²
Workability: It is considered an easy to work wood. It is also an excellent option for turning and bending, as it responds very well to bending under the action of steam.
- Sawn. Easy.
- Drying. Difficult and slow. There is a risk of cracking and / or warping. This is one of the reasons why beechwood vaporizes. Before sudden changes in temperature and humidity, it breaks.
- Brushed. Easy.
- Glued. Easy.
- Nailed and screwed. No difficulties.
- Finish. Easy, excellent with paints.
- Excellent impregnation. It is one of the great properties of beech wood. This quality makes the product suitable, once treated or applied, suitable even for uses that would be especially adverse, for example, in humid environments and even in direct contact with water.
Price: It is a very cheap wood, mainly in Europe, where it is very common.
Main uses of beech wood
- All types of sizes, turned and curved.
- Internal furniture.
- Interior carpentry: floors, coverings, doors …
- Veneers and plywood. Excellent performance compared to the unwinding technique.
- Manufacture of all types of tools: handles, trolleys, plows …
Vaporized Beech Wood
As mentioned above, it is very common to subject the beech wood to a steaming process. This, in addition to changing the natural color of the wood, made the reddish tones darker reduces the internal stresses typical of this wood.
With this process of vaporizing the beech, the risks of deformation of the wood, one of its major disadvantages, are reduced.