Wood Library - Beech

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Blog entry by GaryK posted 05-21-2008 04:20 AM 1804 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

American Beech – Fagus grandifolia
European Beech – Fagus sylvatica

This is a great wood that has a lot of nice properties.

It has a fairly straight grain and looks kind of like scaled down oak. The sapwood is a cream white color, the heartwood is a light reddish brown. It is fine and silky with a close and even texture.

It is very hard and it’s surface can be highly polished. It cuts, sands and machines well, as well as a great screw and nail holding capability. Workable with hand tools and cuts clean with a knife blade.

One of my favorite characteristics is it’s bending capability. It takes to steam bending very well and will hold it’s shape.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

6 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35193 posts in 4820 days

#1 posted 05-21-2008 04:29 AM

Gary one of the samples that I sent you was a wood that I called yellow Beech. You had a sample that you called yellow birch.

Can you tell if they are the same or not.?

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 4203 days

#2 posted 05-21-2008 05:55 AM

Thanks for doing all this, Gary!

I was going to suggest that you put these Wood Library posts under a Series, but I guess if you have them all tagged appropriately (which you do), it’s the same difference. But if it’s under a Series it would be easier to go from one Wood Library post to the next one.

-- Eric at

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4408 days

#3 posted 05-21-2008 06:44 AM

Eric – It is in a series kinda. Click on “Stickies” above and select “Lumberjocks Wood Library”.

That will take you to a page describing the series and the links.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 4203 days

#4 posted 05-21-2008 07:20 AM

Oh I see! That helps. Thanks.

-- Eric at

View Tony's profile


993 posts in 4450 days

#5 posted 05-21-2008 11:48 AM

I use beech quite a lot here – I love the wood for its ease of working and appearance, but unfortunately, it is no so much in favoure as a wood for furniture here in Europe.

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View Andy's profile


1710 posts in 4328 days

#6 posted 05-22-2008 07:55 PM

I agree with you Gary,this is a nice wood to work with.It has been used for European work benches and tool handles,toys.etc for years.Its about as hard as Eastern Maple but I find it easier to work with.Less tearout and router burns sand out easier.Our cabinet shop typically uses Euro Steamed Red Beech,and it comes in nice straight,flat boards with very little waste, almost an S4S select grade.The color matches throughout a unit of lumber very consistantly.

We just completed a $60,000.00 cabinet job using this wood and plywood,and it came out beautiful.The finish was clear conversion varnish,so there wasnt any surprises there.(Staining can be an issue….splotches and uneven absorbtion.)

Our shop builds custom cabinets using many species of wood and this E.S.R.Beech just hasnt caught on in our area,mainly due to the fact that it is so even in color and the grain is so subtle.People in our area prefer a wood with more character.Just a personal choice.

Our distributers claim that it is very popular in other regions,partly due to its low cost and high quality.

We order a “Superior” grade,straight lined and planed to 13/16’’ and we pay $2.99bft.Thats the same cost as a “Prime” grade select Eastern Red Oak,milled the same.Prices will vary from region to region and E.S.R.Beech may likely not even be available in many areas.

American Beech is a good hard wood also,but varies in color greatly.You wont mistake these two woods.

-- If I can do it, so can you.

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