Beech. (Fagus sylvatica) is known as black, brown, or white beech, all procured from the same species of tree, the difference in the wood being caused by variety in soil and situation.

This tree is found throughout England and Scotland, in the temperate parts of Europe, in America, and Australia.

Appearance

Has remarkably distinct medullary rays; the annual rings are visible; each is a little darker on one side than the other, and is full of very minute pores. The colour is a whitish brown, darker or lighter according to the variety; the wood has considerable beauty, especially when the silver grain is exposed.

Characteristics

The wood is of quick growth, light specific gravity, close texture; hard, compact, and smooth surface; is of fine grain, may be cut into thin plates, cleaves easily, is not difficult to work.

It is durable if quite dry or wholly submerged in water, but if subjected to alternate wet and dry becomes overspread with yellowish spots and soon decays. It rots quickly in damp places. It is very subject to the attacks of worms, and contains juices which corrode metal fastenings.

1 Laslett.

The white variety is the hardest, but the black is tougher and more durable.

Uses

This timber is not much used by the engineer except for piles under water, and wedges; also for mallets, carpenters' planes, and other tools, for cogs of machinery, cabinet work, and chairs.