Species of Wood: Beech, American
Only one species of beech, American beech (Fagus grandifolia), is native to the United States. It grows in the eastern one-third of the United States and adjacent Canadian provinces. The greatest production of beech lumber is in the Central and Middle Atlantic States. In some beech trees, color varies from nearly white sapwood to reddish-brown heartwood. Sometimes there is no clear line of demarcation between heartwood and sapwood. Sapwood may be roughly 7 to 13 cm (3 to 5 in.) wide. The wood has little figure and is of close, uniform texture. It has no characteristic taste or odor. The wood of beech is classed as heavy, hard, strong, high in resistance to shock, and highly suitable for steam bending. Beech shrinks substantially and therefore requires careful drying. It machines smoothly, is an excellent wood for turning, wears well, and is rather easily treated with preservatives. Most beech is used for flooring, furniture, brush blocks, handles, veneer, woodenware, containers, and cooperage. When treated with preservative, beech is suitable for railway ties.