#42: Beech

Bird number: 65
Date: May 30, 2012
Wood: Beech (Fagus grandifolia)
Source: Indiana

This is the last of the woods that a friend sent me earlier this year. He also sent some butternut and some redbud, but those cracked so badly that I couldn’t get a bird out of them. Even this bird had a couple of cracks that I had to fill with epoxy.

I don’t have a lot to say about the beech. There was nothing distinctive about working with the wood. It carves like many others that I’ve worked. Sanding was no problem, and it finishes quite well. What surprised me was the varied coloring and figuring in this piece. I had no idea, when I first looked at the log that Dan had sent me, that it would look this beautiful on the inside.

Commercially, beech is used for flooring, containers, handles, furniture, and wooden ware (utensils, cutting boards, etc.). Due to its hardness, it was not widely harvested before the advent of the chainsaw. As a result, there are large stands of old growth beech still in existence.

People do carve beech, although it’s not as commonly used as maple, walnut, and the fruit woods. The wood is a little on the hard side, which would explain why few carvers work with it. I could carve it with a knife, and might do so on a smaller piece that I have left over. I carved this bird with the Foredom.