Castanea dentata

 

this page uses English units of measure

click here to view the file in metric units

 

Family: Fagaceae

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

click to print or download the file in .pdf format

 

American Chestnut

 

 

 

Chestnut (Castanea sp.) contains about 7 to 12 species distributed in: North America [4] and Europe [1] and Asia [7]. European Chestnut (Castanea sativa)was introduced into England by the Romans probably as food for domestic animals. North American Chestnut trees were virtually wiped out by the fungus Endothia parasitica. The different species of Chestnut hybridize with each other. All species look alike microscopically.

Other Common Names: Chestnut, Prickly O-heh-yah-bur, Sweet Chestnut, White Chestnut, Wormy Chestnut

Distribution

American Chestnut's pre-blight range extended from Maine west to Michigan and south to Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. The major stands were in southern New England and the Appalachian Mountains. The finest timber came out of the Appalachians.

The Tree

American Chestnut grew to heights of 120 feet, with a diameter of 7 feet. Its ability to sprout from the cut or dead stump has kept this species in existence, temporarily, although the blight eventually kills the sprouts.

The Wood

General

The narrow sapwood of Chestnut is near white, while the heartwood is grayish brown to brown and darkens with age. The wood is coarse, intermediate in strength, light in weight, low in shock resistance, of average hardness and moderate shrinkage. It can be kiln dried or air seasoned with minimal problems.

Mechanical Properties (2-inch standard)

 

 

 

 

Compression

 

 

 

 

Specific

gravity

MOE

106 lbf/in2

MOR

103 lbf/in2

Parallel

103 lbf/in2

Perpendicular

103 lbf/in2

WML*

in-lbf/in3

Hardness

lbf

Shear

103 lbf/in2

Green

0.40

0.93

5.60

2.47

0.31

7.0

420

0.80

Dry

0.43

1.23

8.60

5.32

0.62

6.5

540

1.08

Reference (12).

*WML = Work to maximum load.

 

Drying and Shrinkage

Hornbeam checks and warps badly in seasoning

Shrinkage (% of green)

Green, 0% MC

Green, 6% MC

Green, 20% MC

Tangential

6.7(12)

5.4(11)

2.2(11)

Radial

3.4(12)

2.7(11)

1.1(11)

Volumetric

11.6(12)

9.3(11)

3.9(11)

Kiln Drying Schedule: (1 & 10)

Working Properties

Chestnut is easy to work with tools and is easily glued. Because it split readily, care is required in nailing.

Durability

It is as resistant to decay as the cedars, cypress and redwood.

Preservation

No information available at this time.

Uses

Lumber, tannin extract, furniture, caskets, boxes, crates, core stock for plywood, poles, railroad ties, pulpwood, shingles, barrel staves, mine timbers, fuelwood.

Toxicity

No information available at this time.

Additional Reading and References Cited (in parentheses)

1. Boone, R.S., C.J. Kozlik, P.J. Bois & E.M. Wengert. 1988. Dry kiln schedules for commercial woods - temperate and tropical. USDA Forest Service, FPL General Technical Report FPL-GTR-57.
2. Elias, T.S. 1980. The complete trees of North America, field guide and natural history. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, 948 pp.
3. Hausen, B. M. 1981. Wood Injurious to Human Health: A Manual. Walter deGruyter & Co., Berlin, Germany; New York, NY.
4. Little, Jr., E.L. 1979. Checklist of United States trees (native and naturalized). USDA Forest Service, Ag. Handbook No. 541, USGPO, Washington, DC.
5. Markwardt, L.J. and T.R.C. Wilson. 1935. Strength and related properties of woods grown in the United States. USDA Forest Service, Tech. Bull. No. 479. USGPO, Washington, DC.
6. Mitchell, J.; Rook, A. 1979. Botanical Dermatology: Plants and Plant Products Injurious to the Skin. Greenglass Ltd., 691 W. 28th Ave., Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V5H 2H4.
7. Panshin, A.J. and C. de Zeeuw. 1980. Textbook of Wood Technology, 4th Ed., McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 722 pp.
8. Record, S.J. and R.W. Hess. 1943. Timbers of the new world. Yale University Press, New Haven, 640 pp.
9. Saucier, J.R. 1973. American chestnut, and American wood. USDA Forest Service, FS- 230.
10. Simpson, W.T. 1991. Dry kiln operator's manual. USDA Forest Service, FPL Ag. Handbook 188.
11. Summitt, R. and A. Sliker. 1980. CRC handbook of materials science. Volume 4, wood. CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, FL. 459 pp.
12. USDA Forest Service, FPL. 1974. Wood handbook: wood as an engineering material. Ag. Handbook 72.
13. Woods, B.; Calnan, C. D. 1976. Toxic Woods. British Journal of Dermatology; 95(13):1-97 Published by Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, England OX2 OEL.
Harry A. Alden, 1994