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BEECH

Fagus spp. and Nothofagus spp.

Fagus spp. of the family Fagaceae and Nothofagus spp. of the family Nothofagaceae including at least the following, with some of the associated common names. The Nothofagus species used to included in the Fagus species but they have been broken out (due to genetic differences) into not only their own genera (Nothofagus) but have also been give their own family name (Nothofagaceae). This set of species has many "beech" common names because of the former association. I am not familiar enough with the two genera to say whether or not there is any easy way for the casual observer to distinguish between them but in any event, they are included on this page.

Fagus crenata (syn Fagus sieboldii) --- Japanese, siebold's)
Fagus engleriana --- Chinese
Fagus grandifolia (synonyms include Fagus purpurea, Fagus alba, Fagus americana, Fagus atropunicea, Fagus ferruginea, Fagus heterophylla, Fagus nigra, Fagus purpurea, Fagus rotundifolia, and Fagus virginiana) --- American, Carolina, purple, red, stone, white, winter
Fagus hayatae --- Twaiwan
Fagus japonica (syn Fagus multinervis) --- Japanese blue
Fagus longipetiolata --- Chinese
(Yugoslavian)
Fagus orientalis --- Eastern, oriental
Fagus sylvatica --- aisatic, carpathian, copper, English, European, Japanese, Turkish, and MANY other country names
Fagus taurica --- Crimean

NOTE: those Nothofagus species that are sold as "Chilean beech" have been broken out to their own page on this site

Nothofagus alpina (chilean)
Nothofagus antarctica (antarctic, southern)
Nothofagus betuloides (chilean, guindo)
Nothofagus carrii (new guinea)
Nothofagus cliffortioides (new zealand mountain)
Nothofagus cunninghamii (antarctic, mountain, silver)
Nothofagus dombeyi (south american, chilean)
Nothofagus fusca (new zealand)
Nothofagus grandis (new guinea)
Nothofagus gunnii (deciduous)
Nothofagus menziesii (new zealand, silver)
Nothofagus moorei (antarctic, australian black, southern)
Nothofagus obliqua (antarctic)
Nothofagus papuanum (new guinea)
Nothofagus perryi (new guinea)
Nothofagus procera (antarctic, chilean)
Nothofagus pumilio (south american)
Nothofagus solandri (australian black, mountain)
Nothofagus truncata (grey)

According to wikipedia, there are only 10 Fagus species of beech, so I may have them all but there are very many more species in the genus Nothofagus than what I have listed

NOTE: In addition to the species of the genera Fagus and Nothofagus, there are ANOTHER 80 or so species of a large number of other genera that have the word beech as all or part of one or more of their common names, SO ... "beech" is not always a very helpful designation, but I do believe that most of the pics on this page are from the genus Fagus just because that's what North American vendors have.

With beech, the wide light-colored sapwood is more used than the darker heartwood. The primary way to ID beech is that it pretty much always has lots of fairly evenly spaced small, short, elongated "dots" shown on flat cut or rift cut (not quartersawn) surfaces, like this:

these are the narrow rays typical of beech and of course on quartersawn surfaces, they show up a ray flakes --- often moderately long, but always very narrow.

Quartersawn surfaces often show nice ray flakes that sometimes seem surprisingly large, given the small size of what shows on the flat cut surfaces.



my samples: --- many of my veneer pics have too much red & need to be fixed. The planks have accurate color except as noted


both sides of a rift cut sample plank of American beech / Fagus grandifolia


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of American beech / Fagus grandifolia --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


sample plank and end grain of a piece sold to me as American beech / Fagus grandifolia


end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of American beech / Fagus grandifolia --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a quartersawn sample plank of European purple leaved beech / Fagus sylvatica, subspecies purpurea


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above --- the closeup is too red


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of European purple leaved beech / Fagus sylvatica, subspecies purpurea --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of European purple leaved beech / Fagus sylvatica --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of steamed European beech / Fagus sylvatica --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


as you can see from the end grain pic of the piece directly above, one edge is perfectly quartersawn. This is a closeup of that surface.


both sides of a flat cut sample plank of steamed European beech / Fagus sylvatica. It is interesting to note the pink color of this steamed European beech vs the tan color in the UNsteamed sample directly below this one.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above --- the closeup is too red


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of European beech / Fagus sylvatica --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. The vendor has this listed as "curly" but it is not. This kind of dishonesty happens a lot with this particular sample vendor. It is interesting to note the tan color of this UNsteamed European beech vs the pink color in the steamed sample two samples up above this one.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of quartersawn Japanese beech / Fagus crenata --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. Note that this piece is perfectly quartersawn which means that the ray flakes on the face are quite large (for beech)


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above --- it's interesting to note the occasional very strong, and fairly long, rays mixed in with the more plentiful thinner and shorter ones. It is these rays that are causing the flakes that are very visible in the enlargements of the face pics


both sides of a sample plank of Japanese beech / Fagus crenata --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above



both sides and both ends of a sample piece of beech (no species specified)


end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a small piece --- HUGE enlargements are present


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATEfrom directly above


some small pieces of beech (no species specified) from different trees (as you can see by the differences in ring counts in the end grain pics --- big enlargements are present for this pic and the ones below


face grain closeups of some of the pieces directly above


end grain closeups of some of the pieces directly above


European beech plank and end grain


end grain closeup and END GRAIN UPDATE of the piece directly above


European beech plank and end grain


both sides of a small plank of European beech. Huge enlargements are present for both this and all of the pics below of this piece.


end grain of the piece directly above and an END GRAIN UPDATE of the OTHER end of the piece


end grain closeups of the piece directly above


face grain closeups of the piece directly above


flat cut side grain closeup and rift cut side grain closeup of the piece directly above


this is a quartersawn edge surface at a natual split line before I cleaned up the piece directly above and it nicely shows the way quartersawn pieces will split on the rays.


both sides of a piece of European beech with white rot. Huge enlargements are present for both this and all of the pics below of these pieces.


both end grains of the piece directly above


end grain closeups of the piece directly above


flat cut surface closeups of the piece directly above


quartersawn edge closeup of the piece directly above


two quartersawn edge surfaces at a natual split line before I cleaned up the piece directly above and they nicely show the way quartersawn pieces will split on the rays.


a couple of small pieces from the white rot section as the larger piece directly above. The visible surfaces are quartersawn for the upper piece and rift cut for the lower piece Huge enlargements are present for both this and all of the pics below of these pieces.


quartersawn surface closeups from the upper piece directly above


rift cut surface closeups of the lower piece directly above



several views of some beech that Gerry Fey salvaged from an old building. He worked the wood and sent me these excellent pics of the results. I have confidence that the colors are quite accurate, as they are identical to some of the beech veneer that I have.



both sides and both ends of a sample piece of very lightly spalted beech


end grain closeup of the piece directly above --- this pic is too gray, should be more yellow/tan


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above



The next several spalted beech planks were donated to the site by Rich Kopitsch whom I thank for this and other contributions. This is very pure black-line spalting with no hint of white rot. For white rot spalting in beech, go down the page a bit.


spalted beech plank


spalted beech plank


spalted beech planks


spalted beech plank


both sides of a pair of spalted beech planks cut from the larger ones above and sanded down for the pics.


end grain of the two planks directly above


end grain closeups of the two planks directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


spalted plank --- extreme enlargments are present. This pic, and the enlargments below, were provided by John Fuher, whom I thank for this and many other contributions to the site. These pics were taken in direct sunlight. The spalting on this piece is black-line spalting; for example of white rot spalting in beech, see the samples directly below this one.


face grain closeups of the plank directly above --- extreme enlargments are present


end grain closeups of the plank directly above --- extreme enlargments are present


two contiguous surfaces of a piece of spalted beech --- the spalting is white rot spalting with only a tiny bit of black-line spalting. This piece was contributed to the site by Charles Hurley, whom I thank.


end grain, end grain closeup, and END GRAIN UPDATE of the piece directly above


two contiguous surfaces of a piece of spalted beech --- the spalting is mostly white rot but there is some black-line spalting defining the edges of some of the white rot areas. This piece was contributed to the site by Charles Hurley, whom I thank.


end grain, end grain closeup, and a href="_endgrainUPDATE/index.htm">END GRAIN UPDATE of the piece directly above


flat cut veneer


flat cut veneer and closeup


veneer, rift cut


quartersawn flaky veneer, with too much red tint in the pics


quartersawn flaky veneer --- this one goes all the way up to a second enlargement so you can really see these heavy flakes up close


quartersawn flaky veneer with a knothole, showing some interesting curly figure


steamed european veneer


steamed european flakey beech veneer --- the wood isn't quite as shiny as this picture makes it look


European veneer with brown streaks


European beech cluster burl veneer



The Wood Book pics


flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
beech (Fagus ferruginea) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for each of the 3 views



web pics: --- it seems unlikely that all of the colors are accurate


planks with wet and dry sections; the first one is rift cut and was listed as Fagus sylvatica and the other two are flat cut


planks


plank showing some rot in the pith area


plank listed as haya / Fagus sylvatica


quartersawn planks with ray flakes


European "lace" planks. "Lace" appears to be a designation meaning quartersawn flaky with stong ray flakes

AH ... WELL ... no, actually what it means is that I'm careless --- this is not beech at all. As correspondent Jean Turner pointed out, it is actually sycamore.

I've left it here as a reminder to myself be more careful.


flaky veneer --- the color on these is way off --- the wood is tan, not green. See my own sample of flaky veneer for a better representation of the color.


turning blocks


bowl turning blank


bowl blank listed as American beech


veneer


quartersawn veneer


steamed veneer


rotary cut veneer --- grain shows up better on enlargement


white beech


American beech --- color seems totally unlikely


"unsteamed" veneer


curly veneer


veneer pictures with hilarious color !!! Every now and then I just HAVE to include one of these silly shots to show what you sometimes find on the Internet.


steamed European planks


end grain listed as European beech / Fagus sylvatica


European beech planks


European beech planks, flat cut and quartersawn


two views of a plank listed as European beech. I don't know what the white spots are but assume they are either spalting or white rot. I have some very similar pieces up the in own samples (in fact I think they came from the owner of this plank) and they show great detail. LATER NOTE: they are white rot.


closeups of the European beech plank directly above


planks listed as European beech / Fagus sylvatica


European rift cut veneer


curly European beech


European beech veneer


European flat cut curly veneer


European flat cut veneer


European curly beech veneer


European figured veneer


European quartersawn figured veneer


European quartersawn veneer


European quartersawn mottled veneer


European quartersawn veneer, not listed as mottled but clearly is


"European steamed quartersawn" beech


european steamed veneer and a closeup of the same sheet --- clearly one of the colors is wrong, possibly both.


steamed European beech veneer --- both levels of enlargement are available; I doubt the pinkish color --- the actual wood is probably more tan


European steamed veneer, all from the same vendor


European steamed veneer sheet closeups with both levels of enlargement. These are from the same vendor as the set directly above.


steamed European veneer


unsteamed european veneer, all from the same vendor


unsteamed European veneer sheet closeups with both levels of enlargement. These are from the same vendor as the set directly above.


"European white" beech


wormy beech veneer





bowl


8" diameter bowl by Steve Earis


spalted beech & products



spalted beech


spalted English beech


bowl made from spalted English beech


spalted beech bowls with light finish


spalted beech bowls (raw)


spalted beech bowls ... not sure if it's raw and polished or has a finish


spalted beech bowl ... not sure if it's raw or finished


spalted beech bowl by Steve Earis, whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


spalted beech bowl with finish


spalted beech bowl by John Fuher, whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. John tells me the spalting process (which IS a form of rot after all) noticibly reduced the density of the wood compared to non-spalted planks, and since he did not use a stabilizer on the wood before turning, he had some trouble with the black-line spores discoloring the surrounding wood on his first attempt at turning this wood. Thanks to John's excellent photography, HUGE enlargements are present for all 3 pics and it is particularly instructive to look at the largest enlargment on these pics because this wood is an outstanding example of double black-line spalting.


spalted urn

end spalted section




pen made from European beech with white rot by Harry Mathew, whom I thank for the pic. This wood is from the same plank as the pieces up in my own samples towards the top of the page. Huge enlargements are present, thanks to Harry's excellent photography.


bowl


beech bowl with both spalt (the dark areas) and white rot (the white and missing areas)






3 sets of pics, each of a bowl and a closeup. I shot these indoors at a craft store and the color came out too orange. I've corrected it as much as I could but it is still a little too orange in each of them (the closeups are somewhat better). Another one that I shot with the flash on came out much better for true color, and it's directly below


bowl and closeup, with correct color (unlike the ones directly above, which are too orange)


another bowl, also shot with the flash and with correct color


oval-shaped spalted beech bowl created and photograhed by John Fuher. John hollowed out the inside with Forstner bits, cut the outside on a bandsaw with the table at an angle, and then spent LOTS of time sanding it to the final shape. Nicely done, John, and thanks for the pics.


fern-leaf beech bowls turned and photographed by Tom Pleatman, whom I thank for these pics and other contributions to the site. Big enlargements are present.


purple European beech bowls turned and photographed by Tom Pleatman, whom I thank for these pics and other contributions to the site. Big enlargements are present.