Properties of Timber: Beech

The beech (Fagus sylvatica) is more generally diffused and more abundant in Britain than the chesnut. Like the chesnut, it thrives best in rich soils and sheltered situations, and when planted in the right place, is a beautiful as well as a valuable tree.

The close texture of the beech makes it a very fit timber for machinery, for the stocks and the handles of tools, and for many other purposes. It is not proof against the worm, and when exposed to alternate drought and moisture it soon decays.

Against a cross starin it is not as strong as the grained timbers, and this means it is little used in building. Although easily turned, it is not very good for bowls and hollow veesels because it is apt to split when suddenly dried after being wet.

It is doubtful whether beech is a native of Britain. Caesar, who was an acute observer, says that he did not find it in the country, and as he was in the richest and warmest parts of it, he was in exactly the right place to expect beech trees.

When sheltered, beech grows to a great height.

summarised from "The Library of Entertaining Knowledge - Timber trees" (1829), pub. Charles Knight, Pall Mall.

ND, habitat21

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