Whilst most Beech is sold steamed to even up the often inconsistent colour, this mars the subtle natural tone of the timber, darkening it considerably. Thorogood’s carefully selected unsteamed Beech maintains the natural colouration of the timber, but due to higher overall quality is colour constituent enough to be used decoratively. As a higher premium product, unsteamed Beech is better kilned and cut than standard stock, which is produced in far greater volume.
One of the most popular and widely-used hardwoods in Europe, Beech is known for its workability - particularly with bending, steaming, and turning. A favourite of upholsterers because it doesn’t split easily when pinned, its strength and durability also make it a solid choice for a number of other furniture applications. Its perishable nature means it is not as suitable for outdoor use as other more resistant hardwoods. Featuring a variety of pale tones ranging from red to pink that are intensified with time, this wood demonstrates a fine, even texture with a straight grain that finishes beautifully.
On the whole Beech machines fairly well, gluing and nailing easily. The wood stains and polishes well, and can be brought to a smooth, attractive surface without too much trouble. Beech turns particularly well and is an excellent choice for steam bending.
Hard, wear-resistant and strong Beech dries well but can warp and split in humid conditions, so allowances must be made when joining. Beech veneer is usually darker than the heartwood and sapwood, while quarter-sawing the heartwood can reveal an attractive silver fleck. The trees tend to grow extremely tall which means lengthy and wide pieces of lumber are often available that are perfect for flooring or joinery.
Beech is considered non-durable or perishable and can be susceptible to insect attack so is not recommended for exterior applications. However, Beech is strong and hard-wearing, working work well for high impact furniture, or other indoor items.