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Northrop, E. B.; Chittenden, H. A., Jr. (ed.) / The Wisconsin lumberman, devoted to the lumbering interests of the northwest
(August, 1874)

Beech,   p. 503 PDF (379.6 KB)

Page 503

The Wisconsin LumberMan.
This is a tree of a very large size,
frequently being as large as the oak,
ash and chestnut. When growing
close together it runs up to a great
height, with a clean, straight stem,
the lower branches either dying
gradually off, or so much checked in
their growth as not to interfere with
the cleanness of the timber.  The
bark, even upon the oldest trees is
thin and smooth, and, when fully
exposed to the light, of a pearl or
silvery grey color.
It grows but slowly after the first
few years of plantingbut once rooted
it makes rapid progress, and in about
eighty years has attained maturity,
and is found from 70 ft. to even 100
feet in height, and from 12 ft. to 16
ft. in circumference, but the highest
figures used must be taken as
representiog extreme  cases.  The
beech is one of the four aboriginal
trees of this country, if our oldest
writers on aboriculture are to be
depended upon. It flourishes best
in the central districts of England,
favoring a chalky soil. It - is not in-
digenous to Scotland and Ireland. In
Scotland it is supposed to have been
first planted about A. D. 1540 or 1560
and in Ireland its introduction is
supposed to have taken place about
the same time. In both these coun-
tries, where the soil is congenial, it
arrives at as great perfection, and
attains as great a size as it does in
England.   See  "Statistics of the
Beech" in the "Arboretum Britan-
nicum," from which much valuabl e
information may be extracted.
Its distribution throughout the
temperate parts of Europe is ex-
tensive, and it reaches as far north
in Norway as 59 degrees, and in
Sweden to 58 degrees. It is found
as well in Asia Minor, Palestine, and
-other Asiatic districts. In consulting
various authorities respecting not
-only beech, but almost every other
wood, it cannot but be observed that
almost too much prominence is given
to the beauty of the tree, and too
little to its utility. It certainly seems
to be a most ungracious act to look
at a majestic tree, merely with a view
to felling it and handing it over to
the sawyers, but as this journal only
deals with wood so far as it minis-
ters to the wants of trade, there is
no space to spare to dwell on beau-
ties of foliage and shape, however
striking these may be.
The wood of the beech (according
to an authority, which experience
shows to be a correct one) in a green
state is hard and brittle, neither its
lateral nor its longitudinal adheson
being equal to that of oak, ash or
elm. When dry, ii weighs about
fifty pounds to the cubic foot. It
possesses a heart, as well as a sap-
wood, but ihe line of separation is
not so visible as it is in the oak and
many other trees, where the heart-
wood is always of a deeper color than
the exterior or sapwood.  In color
it varies from a pale brown to white,
the darkest color being considered
superior in quality, and the produce
of the finest trees and best soil.
Submerged or kept constantly wet, it
is very durable for waterworks, as
well as for the keels and plankings
of vessels, for which the straight
clean boles of trees that have been
drawn up in company are well
adapted. If exposed alternately to
a wet and dry atmosphere it soou
rots, and the sam may be said of
many other descriptions of wood,
and when kept dry it is very likely
to be worm-eaten. If made into
furniture, however, varnish or some
similar treatment protects it. Much
of the cheap English furniture,which
is stained to resemble more costly
woods, is made of beech, and is - also
used for panels for carriages, and
for many purposes in joinery and
turnery, such as planes, screws, and
wooden shovels. Common fowling-
pieces and muskets are also stocked
with it.-London Furniture Gazefte.
50 3

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