Fagus grandifolia

 

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Family: Fagaceae

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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American Beech

 

 

 

Beech (Fagus spp.) contains eight species which grow in Asia [4], Europe (F. sylvatica), and North America (F. grandifolia). The word fagus is the classical Latin name, from the Greek word meaning to eat, in reference to the edible beechnuts. All species look alike microscopically.

Fagus grandifolia- beech, Carolina beech, gray beech, red beech, ridge beech, stone beech, white beech, winter beech.

 

Distribution

American beech grows in southeast Canada and in the eastern half of the United States, from Maine to northern Florida, and west from the Atlantic Coast to Wisconsin, Missouri and Texas.

The Tree

The American beech tree grows in large pure stands and intermixed with sugar maple, yellow birch, American basswood, black cherry, eastern hemlock, eastern white pine, red spruce, sweetgum, Southern magnolia, ashes, hickories and oaks. It grows best in deep, rich, moist, well-drained soils. American beech trees reach heights of 120 ft (37 m), with a diameter of almost 4 ft (1.2 m). The bark is thin, smooth, and gray to blue gray.

 

The Wood

General

The sapwood of American beech is white with a red tinge, while the heartwood is light to dark reddish brown.

Mechanical Properties (2-inch standard)

 

 

 

 

Compression

 

 

 

 

Specific

gravity

MOE

x106 lbf/in2

MOR

lbf/in2

Parallel

lbf/in2

Perpendicular

lbf/in2

WMLa

in-lbf/in3

Hardness

lbf

Shear

lbf/in2

Green

0.56

1.38

8,600

3,550

540

11.9

850

1,290

Dry

0.64

1.72

14,900

7,300

1,010

15.1

1,300

2,010

aWML = Work to maximum load.

bReference (98).

cReference (59).

 

Drying and Shrinkage

Type of shrinkage

Percentage of shrinkage
(green to final moisture content)

0% MC

6% MC

20% MC

Tangential

11.9

8.8

3.7

Radial

5.5

4.1

1.7

Volumetric

17.2

13.0

5.4

References: 0% MC (98),
6% and 20% MC (90).

Kiln Drying Schedulesa

 

Stock

Condition

4/4, 5/4, 6/4

8/4

10/4

12/4

16/4

Standard

T8-C2

T5-C1

1-in. squares

T8-C3

2-in. squares

T5-C2

aReferences (6, 86).

Working Properties: American beech ranks high in holding nails, but it should be pre-bored. The wood wears well and holds a polish, and it bends readily when steamed. Care is needed in gluing, but the wood finishes well with paint or transparent finishes.

Durability: Rated as slightly or nonresistant to heartwood decay.

Preservation: Sapwood and heartwood are permeable when pressure-treated with a compound like creosote. The red heartwood is extremely resistant to penetration.

Uses: Lumber, veneer, charcoal, railroad ties, pulpwood, cooperage, boxes, crates, baskets, pallets, furniture, flooring, sash, doors, trim, paneling, general millwork, woodenware, novelties, handles, brooms and brushes, food containers, turnery, and chemical extracts such as methanol, acetate and wood tar (creosote).

Toxicity: No information available at this time.

 

Additional Reading and References Cited (in parentheses)

6.?Boone, R.S.; Kozlik, C.J.; Bois, P.J.; Wengert, E.M. 1988. Dry kiln schedules for commercial woodstemperate and tropical. Gen. Tech. Rep. FPLGTR57. Madison, WI: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory.

12.?Carpenter, R.D. 1974. American beech. FS220. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service.

29.?Elias, T.S. 1980. The complete trees of North America, field guide and natural history. New York: van Nostrand Reinhold Company.

55. ?Little, Jr., E.L. 1979. Checklist of United States trees (native and naturalized). Agric. Handb. 541. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. U.S. Government Printing Office.

59. Markwardt, L.J.; Wilson, T.R.C. 1935. Strength and related properties of woods grown in the United States. Tech. Bull. 479. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. U.S. Government Printing Office.

68. Panshin, A.J.; de Zeeuw, C. 1980. Textbook of wood technology, 4th ed. New York: McGraw—Hill Book Co..

74. Record, S.J.; Hess R.W. 1943. Timbers of the new world. New Haven, CT: Yale
University Press.

86. Simpson, W.T. 1991. Dry kiln operator's manual. Ag. Handb. 188. Madison, WI: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory.

90. Summitt, R.; Sliker, A. 1980. CRC handbook of materials science. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, Inc. Vol. 4.

98. U.S. Department of Agriculture. 1987. Wood handbook: wood as an engineering material. Agric. Handb. 72. (Rev.) Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture.
466 p.