Beech Wood: Properties, Characteristics & Uses

beech wood properties and uses

Beech is a hardwood species that comes in multiple varieties, such as European Beech, American Beech, and others. Beech is generally non-durable and not very strong. Common uses of beech wood include flooring, lumber, veneer, furniture, plywood, boatbuilding, musical instruments, and others.

Whether you are looking to buy Beech wood or are just curious about the various properties and uses of this wood, here’s everything you need to know about Beech wood.

About Beech Wood

Beech is a hardwood that is available in different species in different locations. Almost all beech species share similar properties, which include high density, average strength and hardness, a pale cream colour, straight grain, low durability, and easy availability.

Because beech wood is easily available at a low price and has good hardness and density, it is widely used as an alternative to other expensive hardwoods such as hard maple. Common uses include furniture, flooring, plywood, boat buildings, etc.

Beech Wood Properties

Almost all species of Beech share similar properties, like all are non-durable and have a straight grain with a uniform texture.

Here’s a brief overview of the Beech wood properties:

  • Common Name(s): Beech
  • Scientific Name: Fagus sylvatica (European beech), Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
  • Distribution: Europe, Eastern US
  • Tree Size: 100-130 ft (30-40 m) tall, 3-5 ft (1-1.5 m) trunk diameter
  • Janka Hardness: 1,300-1,450 lbf (6,460 N)
  • Colour: pale cream
  • Grain: Straight
  • Texture: Uniform, fine to medium
  • Strength: Average
  • Density: High
  • Durability: Non durable
  • Resistance: Not resistant to rot and insect attacks
  • Workability: Easy to work with; glues, machines, turns and finishes well
  • Price: Low for domestic regions

Beech Timber Characteristics

Beech is a popular hardwood and is used in a large variety of applications. Its characteristics and properties are as follows:

Appearance: Beech is pale cream in colour with an occasional pink or brown hue. When steamed, it turns into a beautiful golden wood. It has a straight and fine grain with a uniform texture.

Strength and durability: Beech is hard, strong and dense, which makes it suitable for a range of applications including furniture making and flooring. However, it is practically non-durable. The wood is susceptible to insect attacks, rot and moisture. It needs to be treated before any commercial use.

European beech has a Janka rating of 1,450 lbf, while American beech has a 1,300 lbf Janka rating. Both species are hard and dense.

Though beech is not naturally durable, it can be made resistant to rot through chemical steaming.

Workability: Beech wood is easy to work with. It cuts, finishes, glues, and turns well. Also, it can be bent easily using steam bending methods and is therefore suitable to make turned objects.

Distribution: European Beech is easily found in all parts of Europe, and American Beech distribution is limited to Eastern U.S.. The wood is sustainably produced.

Beech Wood Types/Species

Beech wood has the following five species:

  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’)

Beech wood availability and price

Both European beech and American beech are easily available in their respective regions and are economically priced.

If you live in any other country and are finding it difficult to get the best quality Beech timber at the right price, contact CameroonTimberExportSarl to import beech wood in bulk at the lowest price in the market. We provide worldwide shipping.

Beech wood uses: What is beech timber good for?

Because beech is hard and strong, it is practically useful for every type of interior application, ranging from furniture to flooring, construction timber, veneering, boatbuilding, cabinetry, turned objects, plywood, and musical instruments.

However, beech is not recommendable for exterior use because the wood is non durable and cannot withstand moisture. Also because beech is non durable, it needs high and constant maintenance, which may increase its cost to own in the long term.

Why Beech is a great but underrated hardwood

Beech wood has outstanding strength properties that make it suitable for a large variety of applications. However, the wood is often underrated, primarily because it is easily and widely available and also because it is not durable. Here are some other interesting qualities of Beech wood that you might not know already.

In Celtic mythology, Beech was considered the queen of British trees and oak the king. The species name Fagus was allegedly based on the Celtic god Fagus. The word book is also said to be derived from Buche, the German word for beech tree.

Beechnut, the fruit of beech trees, is edible. It has a nutty taste that can be bitter. Beech nuts have high fat content and can be used to produce oil.

Beech trees are said to have medicinal and anti-inflammatory properties. In older times, these leaves were used to make medicines for many diseases. Beech flowers have homoeopathic properties.

Beech is probably the only hardwood that has quite hard timber that can be bent and has a very delicate bark that can be carved easily. Because beechwood wears well, it makes an excellent option for structural work. However, it’s not durable at all.

Beechwood chips are used in some methods of beer production.

Almost all over the world, beechwood is used as an outstanding source of fuel. Beech is delicate and burns very well. In some parts of the world, it is even used to cook food.

Beech has so many uses that it can be classified as one of the most used hardwoods on the planet. Yet, we do not very often see beech wood in use. This is because beech wood is generally used in areas not directly visible to the eyes, such as joiners, drawer bottoms, chair legs, back of cabinets, etc. It is often used as a cheaper alternative to hard maple.

One of the biggest benefits of Beech wood is its great value for money. Because the wood is inexpensive and has versatile applications, it is one of the best cheap hardwoods you can buy for your project. Contact us to know more about beechwood or to buy the best quality wood from Cameroon’s top timber supplier.