BEECH. Only one species, (Fagus sylvatica,) is common to Europe; in England the Buckinghsmshire and Sussex beech are esteemed the best Mesa dimensions of the tree, 44 ft. long and 27 in. diam. The colour, (whitish-brown,) is influenced by the soil, and is described as white, brown, and black. (Tredgold)
Beech is used for piles in wet foundations, but not for building; it is excellent from its uniform texture and closeness for in-door works, as the frames of machines, common bedsteads and furniture; it is very much used for planes, tools, lathe-chucks, the keys and cogs of machinery, shoe-lasts, pattens, toys, brushes, handles, Ac. Carved moulds for the composition ornaments of picture-frames, and for pastry, and large wooden types for printing, are commonly made of beech: the wood is often attacked by worms, when stationary as in framings, but tools kept in use are not thus injured.
Beech is stained to imitate rose-wood and ebony, and it is considered to be almost chemically free from foreign matters; for example, the glass-blowers use the wood almost exclusively in welding, or fusing on, the handles of glass jugs, which process fails when the smallest portion of sulphur, etc, is present: oak is next in estimation for the purpose.
The white beech of North America, Fagus sylvestris, is by some thought to be identical with the common beech, but the wood is little valued in America; the bark however is employed in tanning.