Response To:
American Beech market ()

David Weaver
...In southern ohio where there are a lot of large trees (those being the ones that have ended up at horizon for 16/4 plane billets), much of it goes for firewood.

I would have to assume that at its density (good medium hardwood density), it makes pretty good firewood.

When it's perfectly sawn, it makes a wonderful plane. I could see it being a good utility wood because it's not very musical and doesn't transmit shock too badly and wears well, but for any use where someone is thinking about making furniture, etc, I wouldn't trust it too easily.

I've mentioned before that there are some stands here (I didn't think it grew out here) on township hillsides. Not huge trees as far as beech goes, but probably in the range of 30 inches in diameter at chest height. From what I can see, they don't get too much larger before something kills them or blows them over, and many of the large ones were laying rotting - which leads to another reason they may not be popular with yards. They discolor and spalt almost immediately if they're allowed to lay or sit outside in a wet area. Without a quartersawn or rift orientation, they don't look like anything.

For that matter, I find plain sawn hard maple pretty gross, too, but it looks nice if you can find it dead quartered and clear - something I don't see often. I'm pondering what to use for a few guitar tops, and flatsawn plain or figured is common, but a near perfect plain quartered top is something I've never seen, and it would take no more than an 8" wide 8/4 board about two feet long. I had some at one point years ago from west penn lumber - why they were selling it, I don't know, but at the time, I nobody had good quartered beech that I could find and i was able to get quartered cherry and maple - neither makes a suitable plane wood.

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