Hand Tools Archive

Re: Beech trees are dying, and nobody’s sure why

Actually, as far as Canadian beech is concerned, it dries faster than any wood I have ever seen. Along with my plane blanks, I cut a 7 foot bench blank 5 inches thick. It seemed dry within the year. That is ridiculous. On the old CW site they made the claim that beech was particularly good for planes because it dried in two or three axes. The ends and the rays, and maybe a third kind of escape route, don't remember. Whatever the case, it dries lightning fast.

I have an outside shed, and before putting stuff in there, I put some of the larger pieces in my shop, which is cool all year round. Occasionally I would move a piece to get at something, and almost immediately, if exposed to rays of sun (we are talking Canada here), it would crack. So I don't know why that happens if it has so many exits for moisture, possibly just happens so much faster since there are surface exits according to CW. A regular piece of wood looses a lot fast through the ends only, so a mild heating of the sides doesn't precipitate anything, maybe. Unusual stuff though.

(Sun on beech was the problem that most plagued me with beech, and once identified was easily rectified. otherwise I didn't loose any. I put pieces in my hot shed, no problem. I put pieces in my cold shop, no problems when out of the sun, and it still dried fast enough.)

It has been drying for 7 years now, so it should be nice to use at this point.

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