Messages Archive

Subject:
point of data - difference
Response To:
steamed beech ()

David Weaver
I've made a fair number of planes. Maybe 75? Mostly beech.

I have made a few things of euro beech, and have a bunch of plane billets of euro beech that I'll used. Not sure if the latter is steamed, but some 8/4 that I received to make saw handles years ago was definitely steamed (the others is kiln dried).

Once beech is steamed, aside from having more uniform color, the texture of the wood to a hand woodworker (where you really feel it, handsawing, mortising, rasping, etc) is much more dry feeling. Fruitwoods have a certain lubricated feeling in the cut when they're air dried or kiln dried without steaming (apple, beech, etc) that wasn't present in the steamed euro beech that I used.

I'd imagine it's not just steamed or not steamed, either - but exactly what the process is - much like thermal modification of wood. Thermally modified maple is popular for guitars these days but wood baked at 400 degrees is far different (more musical, brittle, etc) than wood baked at 325 or so (which doesn't seem to do that much other than maybe change color a little).

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