Re: Question on Beech lumber

Frank House
Like John I am told various tales about why beech is or isn't steamed in Europe.

I can say that beech is widely used for some working parts in harpsichords which with good design can accommodate linear dimensional changes, but for which warping would be intolerable. Just needs careful choice of grain direction.

It is also regarded as resistant to splitting, which is relevant for some of these components.

Such components are available from several sources worldwide, sadly makers tend to just say "beech" or allow one to rely on appearance (as we know, it is very characteristic), there may be important differences between European and other sources.

According to Wikipedia - Europen beech is likely to be Fagus sylvatica, North American Fagus grandifolia. I have no idea what the difference in properties might be, and the situation re species seems more complicated than I have implied. We need an expert here. (Or (Retired scientist speaking) a well funded research project).

Beech is also widely used in medium-grade furniture in Europe, often with little attention paid in factory production to how the grain runs, and usually without dire consequences.

The key to whether the logs will be useful may be in their history and current condition. If they have been well looked after, they may be worth planking, followed by further seasoning, at which time it will be clearer whether they are fit for the intended purpose.

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