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The common beech & beech wood

The "mother of the forest" - the European beech

The common beech (Fagus sylvatica) (colloquially simply called "beech") is one of the best-known and most important representatives in Europe's forests.

Due to its impressive size and the many important tasks that the beech tree fulfills in the forest, it is also affectionately called "Mother of the Forest". Among other things, it ensures the valuable formation of humus and penetrates the forest floor with its powerful heart roots and gives it stability.

The dense foliage and the distinctive, smooth bark are also further characteristics of this mighty European deciduous tree.

approx. 200 old copper beech trees

Old copper beech

Bark of a common beech tree

Bark of a common beech tree

Habitus & distribution of the European beech

The European beech is native to almost all of Europe and is widespread in many forests. It prefers deep, nutrient-rich soils and is often found in mixed forests. However, waterlogging or excessively moist soils are not a suitable location.

With its typical, round crown and a height of up to 40 meters, it can often not be overlooked and its impressive appearance characterizes the local forests. The thick main trunk often divides into 2 branches, which unfortunately poses the risk of beech trees becoming victims of serious storm damage.

Approximately 200 old copper beech trees with storm damage 200 year old beech tree with storm damage

View of an autumnal beech forest View of an autumnal beech forest

Beeches or special beech species are also becoming increasingly popular in larger gardens or parks. Red or copper beeches are also transplanted as hedges.

The copper beech in particular is a visual highlight due to its dark red leaf color.

Well-known beech species are:

  • European beech
  • copper beech
  • Chinese beech
  • American beech
  • Fern-leaved beech
  • copper beech
  • columnar beech
  • various “hanging growth forms”

Note: The hornbeam is not related to the common beech and belongs to the birch family.

Beeches can live up to 300 years.

Green leaves of common beech

Green beech leaves

Autumn color beech leaves

Autumn colors of the European beech

Properties & Uses of Beech Wood

Beech wood is known for its hardness, elasticity and even structure. It is a heavy wood, but easy to work with.

The color varies from a pale pink to a warm, reddish brown. This is where the name “Common Beech” comes from.

Beech wood is ideal for furniture, parquet and other carpentry work, but is also very valued as firewood and is also used for smoking.

The typical, speckled wood is often familiar from various kitchen utensils , cutting boards or children's toys.

However, beech wood is not suitable for outdoor use.

Use of beech wood

  • Furniture construction, floor coverings: Due to its hardness and resistance at a comparably low price thanks to its high availability, beech is probably the most frequently used valuable wood
  • Kitchen utensils: Since the wood is hard and resistant and does not splinter, it is often used for all kinds of kitchen utensils, cutting boards, children's toys, etc.
  • Firewood: Beech is a popular firewood due to its high availability, easy splitting and excellent calorific value
  • Packaging industry: Beech wood is also becoming increasingly important in the packaging industry, plywood, laminated panels, etc...

Beech fruits - beechnuts Fruits of the common beech - beechnut

Beech firewood Beech firewood

My conclusion about the common beech and its wood

The European beech is not only an impressive and important part of our forests, but also a versatile wood.

Unfortunately, beech wood is often despised these days - in my opinion this is often due to the rather calm, almost "boring" grain pattern, but also to the fact that we come into contact with beech wood every day.

However, beech wood also offers particularly “wild” play of colors and grains, which is then referred to as “heart beech”. Heart beech or wild beech is therefore not a separate "beech species", but simply the name for the wood of the beech, which is formed individually and depending on the specimen in the wood and around the core (not in the core!) during the life of the tree or not .

Beech wood tends to "set" quickly when exposed to the weather outdoors. This means that the wood is in the process of decomposing and is being broken down by fungi and is discolored in a particularly decorative way. Through this process, the wood also loses its resistance and hardness and therefore becomes worthless for further processing and as firewood - except for wood turners or other wood artists who stabilize and strengthen bush-hammered beech wood using their own process and, among other things, use it for high-quality writing instruments .

Otherwise the wood can be turned excellently. Wooden products such as wooden bowls , wooden vases , spice mills and the like often work without any problems

. However, due to the hardness, sanding can sometimes be quite time-consuming.

Have I awakened your desire for beech wood? Then take a look at them all in my online shop Products made from red beech wood at.

Beech wood products Wooden products made from beech wood

Wooden wine stopper made of beech Wooden wine stopper made of beech

Wooden bowl made of beech

Wooden bowl made of beech

Wooden vase made of red beech

Wooden vase made of beech

Wooden writing instruments made of beech wood

Wooden writing instruments made of beech wood

Wooden bottle opener made of red beech

Wooden bottle opener made of beech wood

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