Beech

Beech one of the most commonly used hardwoods, looks good can be worked into many shapes and is perfect for steam bending.

Strength Durability Hardness Weight
4 Stars (4 / 5) 1 Stars (1 / 5) 4 Stars (4 / 5) 4 Stars (4 / 5)
Elasticity Flexibility Fabrication Availability
3 Stars (3 / 5) 3 Stars (3 / 5) 5 Stars (5 / 5) 5 Stars (5 / 5)

Hardwood: Hard, strong, rots unless treated, fabricated in many ways, can be steam bent and has close knit uniform grain.

Beech is one of the most common types of wood in the UK that comes from it’s ability to be shaped into almost any purpose.

Why are you likely to pick beech over other woods

Steam Bending

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Andy Martin’s Thonet Bike

  • Steam bending is an old process and well supported.
  • Not all woods are suitable, green wood (not aged) is better for bending.
  • Has a tendency to change shape (after steaming) in small amounts during it’s lifetime which can result in the wood warping so not suitable for fine unsupported shapes.

Working

  • Beech is very easy to work.
  • Is good for splitting which provides a much stronger wood over sawing.
  • Can be turned on a lathe with out loss of detail.

What Beech doesn’t do

Last Long

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Photo used under Creative Commons licence courtesy of Flickr user Shandchem. http://www.flickr.com/photos/14508691@N08/3959188456/sizes/o/in/photostream
  • Classed  as perishable.
  • Is susceptible to insects breaking the wood down.
  • Requires treatment with treatment a much longer life can be achieved however this may impact how the wood is used.

Other Factors

  • Beech is available in planks and as a veneer
  • Is economically priced and not an endangered species.
  • Very small grain appearance gives a uniform look.

Existing uses

  • furniture
  • flooring
  • engineering purposes
  • plywood
  • household items
  • handles of low impact tools
Written By

James Burchill

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