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wood identification - is this beech

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Forum topic by jdh122 posted 11-29-2015 06:34 PM 648 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jdh122

879 posts in 2283 days


11-29-2015 06:34 PM

I’m always on the lookout for trees I can use for green chairmaking, and while out running in the forest I found what seems to me to be a stand of young beech trees. They’re growing almost as if they had been coppiced, with several branches growing together. I’ve read that beech will tend to grow this way, since the bark disease kills the trunk but not the stump and so other trees grow back.
The bark looks like beech, but I’ve always thought that beech trees tend to keep at least some leaves over the winter (there are no leaves left on these trees). I had no camera with me when running and so I found a piece of a branch that was on the ground, brought it home, split it and scrub planed it.
It split beautifully, at least as easily and straight as oak.
There are, as you can see, bugs in it, although they don’t seem to look like the scale insects that drill holes in beech that allow beech bark disease to get in. On the other hand, the wood was on the ground in a very damp spot, which is why there’s so much spalting.
So here are pictures of the planed wood, branch with bark and planed endgrain.
Next time I go running there (has to be on the weekend, as I can only run after work in the week and it’s too dark) I can take a camera and get some pictures of the trees.
Beech used to be one of the cornerstone species in the forests around here, but between the bark disease and clear-cutting followed by herbicide and softwood replanting, it’s pretty rare to find it. I could make a nice post-and-rung chair out of only one of the coppiced pieces, but am worried that I’m mistaken on my identification and that it might be some kind of poplar instead.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests


8 replies so far

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conifur

955 posts in 617 days


#1 posted 11-29-2015 06:54 PM

A beech tree has an oblong leaf with saw tooth edges like a birch, poplar has a leaf more like a maple.
https://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=mcafee&type=C111US885D20150831&p=identifying+wi+trees
click on the upper third pick from the left and you can see the difference

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

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Dave G

303 posts in 1514 days


#2 posted 11-30-2015 12:55 AM

Sure looks like it. The wood looks almost like cherry when I use it, but lighter and a little on the orange side. I did some reading and see that coppicing of beech is very common in the UK. I haven’t noticed it around New England though I haven’t been looking for it.

-- Dave, New England - “We are made to persist. that's how we find out who we are.” ― Tobias Wolff

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conifur

955 posts in 617 days


#3 posted 11-30-2015 02:22 AM

First off he lives in New Brunswick Canada, dont you know about Wikipedia?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beech

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

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summerfi

3316 posts in 1153 days


#4 posted 11-30-2015 02:58 AM

Looks like Populus spp. (true poplar) to me. Beech would have thin medullary rays.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works http://www.rmsaws.com/p/about-us.html

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conifur

955 posts in 617 days


#5 posted 11-30-2015 04:04 AM

Just go for your run and look at the leaves around there, tell you all you need to know, go to my first post.

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

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conifur

955 posts in 617 days


#6 posted 11-30-2015 04:09 AM

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jdh122

879 posts in 2283 days


#7 posted 11-30-2015 10:54 AM

Thanks for the advice. I guess I’ll try to check out the leaves again. With everything on the ground and quite a variety of trees around it’ll be a bit tricky, though I guess if I find some beech leaves that’ll be a good sign. I’m worried that Bob’s right, though. I tried splitting the wood in different planes to look for the thin rays, with little luck. Still, the bark’s smoother than I’d expect for that. In any case I’ll get back after rechecking the leaves, assuming the snow holds off.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

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lndfilwiz

90 posts in 1066 days


#8 posted 11-30-2015 02:11 PM

I’m from WNY and the beech growing our area is called American Beech. This time of year the beech trees are the last one to lose their leaves, a;long with the oak. Their leaves are a yelloish-orange and are shaped like spear points.

-- Smile, it makes people wander what you are up to.

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