Both American Beech and its European counterpart are known for their pale cream coloration, which is often augmented by a pink or light- to medium-colored muted reddish-brown hue. Its medium texture and typically straight grains (which can be wavy, also) give it excellent working properties; its cuts, turns, glues and finishes very well and has a moderate natural luster.
Flatsawn pieces usually have very plain-looking aesthetics; the bulk of which is used for utility purposes. Conversely, quartersawn pieces typically exhibit a silvery fleck pattern — which lends the wood well to furniture and musical instrument applications, with more exquisite examples often finding their way to veneer mills.
Sustainability: Not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Common uses: Lumber, veneer, flooring, barrels, crates/pallets, railroad ties, musical instruments, furniture, turned objects, and other small wooden objects.
Comments: Its similar hardness and density has seen it used as an alternative to maple in some applications. The wood is decidedly non-durable and susceptible to insect attack. It responds well to steam-bending, but its stability can be suspect.
Beech veneer has a different appearance than lumber. Veneer sheets (cut at only 1/42″ thickness) require the wood to first be steamed. This darkens the wood, producing a pleasant golden brown color.
American Beech is a common, plentiful wood and, thus, priced rather modestly.