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The beech is most widespread in Central and Western Europe, although it can be found as shrub or tree between the 40th and 60th degrees of latitude. Of all deciduous trees in Germany, the beech is most widespread and its timber most useful. Beech can found in mixed woodlands as well as in beech woods particularly in lowlands but also in low mountainous regions.
The European beech (Fagus sylvatica) is the most useful of beech timbers and is therefore known simply as beech. The prefix “red” is sometimes used to describe the light red colouring of the wood. The copper beech with brown or red leaves is a special breed and has no commercial relevance. The white beech or hornbeam (Carpinus betulus L.) belongs to another botanical family and has quite different properties.
Beech trees can grow to 300 years or more, although trees of between 100 and 140 years old are typically felled. They can reach a height of 30 to 35 metres.
Beech belong to the family of heartwood trees. Sap and heartwood have an even pale yellow to reddish-white colouring, red-brown when steam-treated. The wood has an even fine-pored structure without noticeable markings. Older trees (over 80 years old) can develop a reddish core of irregular colour intensity and shape.
Beech wood is medium to heavyweight. It is very hard and tough. It has good strength properties and high abrasion resistance.
Beech can shrink considerably and is subject to movement more than other woods. It should not be subject to moisture fluctuations before or during working.
Despite its hardness, beech wood can be worked easily. It can be cut, planed, drilled and milled. When steam-treated it is well-suited, like the ash, to bending into form.
Surface finishing is straightforward. It can be stained, painted and polished. As compensation for its low durability it is well suited for impregnation.
Beech is available as round or sawn timber as well as veneer.
- Plywood, Bent-ply, formed multiplex
- Furniture, chairs and tables
- Interior furnishing, stairs, parquet flooring
- Tools, household equipment
- Model building