"Fagus sylvatica" is a true all-rounder.
Beech lumber, commonly also known under its Latin name „Fagus sylvatica″, is a true all-rounder.
The wood is light-colored, with a closed cell structure, very hard and abrasion-proof and takes staining very well. Beech is an excellent choice for all interior applications. Furniture, interior fitting, flooring, toys and pencils are but a few examples of the many possibilities of use. As far as optics are concerned, beech lumber allows for numerous design alternatives: from „select / knots-free“ to redheart and „colored“ by stain, laquer or oils, everything is possible. For exterior use, however, beech lumber is not suited due to its expansion and shrinking reactions according to moisture content.
Traditionally, beech lumber was offered as waney edged boards. These suffered more often than not from non-uniform drying which resulted in internal tension of the boards and problems in processing them further.
In modern sawmills, beech lumber is nowadays produced as square edged material. A production stage of technical drying and conditioning provides for a homogeneous moisture content of 7-9% across the whole cross section of the boards. Thus, the tension level of this lumber is especially low and, in turn, it provides a high degree of stability during processing. After the drying stage, the lumber is carefully sorted into application-oriented grades adapting the strict grading standards of the Northamerican Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA). Thus, any wood processor is able to use exactly that lumber grade with the best price performance ratio for his product.
To improve its properties, a large part of todays sawn beech lumber comes steamed. The object of steaming is killing possible pests and equalling the moisture content of the boards before the technical drying process sets in, very important for achieving a homogeneous moisture content in the boards.
A common phenomenon of steaming is the change of color. Depending on the duration of the steaming process, the reddish-white color of the wood changes into a stronger red. This coloration is the result of an oxydation of the tanning agents (chemical reaction with the oxygen in the air). Another advantage of steaming is, that this color tone remains uniform. Discoloration, known as greying of the core, which may often occur in unsteamed beechwood, is eliminated by the steaming process.
Today's trend in beech lumber is „lightly steamed“ boards. This combines the advantages of steaming mentioned above with keeping a light color tone.