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Subject:
Re: American Beech market
Response To:
American Beech market ()

Sgian Dubh
Thanks to you both, Bill and David, and Barry for responding. You've rather confirmed what I knew about American beech, i.e., essentially not an especially popular material, with a generally small demand. Yet, interestingly Bill, you mention railroad ties as an occasional use for American beech, which initially seems out of kilter, the wood being pretty much non-durable. It does however, in common with European beech, respond well to preservation treatment, so perhaps the answer for its employment as railroad ties (UK sleepers) and other heavy duty uses in external locations lies with that. Here in the UK, we generally shun European beech for external uses because of its lack of durability. Both species are favourite foods for bugs, such as the common furniture beetle, death watch beetle, and longhorn beetle.

In the days when I used to do a lot of furniture repair and restoration I came across a lot of European beech used in antiques in limited quantities to, for instance, provide a ground for posher mahogany veneer, or newer furniture of all beech impersonating genuine antiques that showed much evidence of historical common furniture beetle attack. Many a beech chair rail fronted and topped with mahogany veneer, and beech chair corner blocks I found were/are riddled with bug tunnels and exit holes, which seldom barely touched or affected the mahogany parts.

I also note that my sources indicate that American beech is good for many furniture projects, bearing in mind it's relative instability and some difficulties with drying faults and subsequent working of it in the workshop and, like European beech, it's also good for steam bending.

Overall, I find it interesting that whilst European beech is a relatively popular material for furniture over here as well as for workbenches, chopping boards, and tools such as planes, etc. Furniture uses in Europe include both solid construction and in the form of veneers. On the other hand American beech with its similar (but somewhat different characteristics) just doesn't seem to be very popular in North America. Slainte.

PS. I wonder where Johanna disappeared to regarding here query about oak? As I recall, a couple of us suggested some photos of the problem boards might help identify the particular fault being experienced, but nothing has emerged on that front.

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