One of the less requested North American hardwood lumber species is American beech. This species, (fagus grandifolia), which is sometimes alrso referred to as red beech, white beech and gray beech, grows throughout the hardwood forests in the eastern United States. It is found mostly in the States of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Kentucky and grows side by side with more popular species such as soft maple, hard maple and cherry in most instances.
We have found that American beech has a reputation of working well when used for chair legs and backs. It is also used regularly for cabinets, flooring, and even mouldings & trim.
In general beech trees are big. They typically grow to 100-130 feet tall with diameters of 3-5 feet meaning thick lumber can be created with excellent average widths.
There is a low contrast between the sapwood and heartwood which allows beech to take stain and paints well enabling it to resemble other hardwood species when finished, particularly cherry.
The grain patterns in beech are tight and uniformed, it machines well, has strong holding properties and is relatively dense which is why it is commonly used for tool handles or butcher blocks.
In our opinion, one of the best characteristics of beech is its price stability. Over the years, the price for beech has been known to avoid huge, quick swings. In general, beech is a species that retains a relatively stable price point for long periods of time making it very attractive for a manufacturer that is looking for more of a fixed lumber cost over a period of several months. We wonder that as the availability of white ash dwindles could American beech become a suitable replacement?
Have you considered beech lately? Could it be something that works in your manufacturing process? Take a closer look, you might be surprised. Let us know if we can help you!
American Lumber Company