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 Red Beech Nothofagus fusca



Product qualities, uses and applications

Red beech heartwood is light to medium red-brown in colour. The sapwood is light brown, sometimes with grey tones. Tonal variations tend to even out as the timber darkens with age. With a straight grain, a natural sheen and lustre which improves with age and a fine and even texture, red beech is suitable for a range of uses and products such as joinery and flooring. Red beech is also suitable for veneer and decorative plywood manufacture.

Physical and mechanical properties

Denser than silver beech, much of the red beech hardwood supply comes from the West coast of New Zealand’s South Island.

Red beech has good strength properties and hardness with exceptional dimensional stability.

The fine and even texture allows for uniform wearing.

Properties Red beech
Density (12% mc) 560-740 kg/m3
Tangential shrinkage (green to 12% moisture content) 7.6%
Radial shrinkage (green to 12% moisture content) 2.4%
Hardness*The hardness rating of a timber species is measured by the Janka Test. This is a standard test which measures the penetration into the timber of a common load and projectile. The results relate to a hardness capacity of the material and are expressed in kN. Typical 35 year old radiata has hardness of 4.2kN (dry) 5.4 kN
Modulus of elasticity*These average strength properties are based on testing short clear lengths of timber and are not used for structural design under the building code. Characteristic stresses used for structural design are determined from structural grades. Click here for more... 11.6 GPa
Modulus of rupture*These average strength properties are based on testing short clear lengths of timber and are not used for structural design under the building code. Characteristic stresses used for structural design are determined from structural grades. Click here for more... 116 MPa
Shear strength parallel to grain*These average strength properties are based on testing short clear lengths of timber and are not used for structural design under the building code. Characteristic stresses used for structural design are determined from structural grades. Click here for more... 13.6 MPa
Compression strength parallel to grain*These average strength properties are based on testing short clear lengths of timber and are not used for structural design under the building code. Characteristic stresses used for structural design are determined from structural grades. Click here for more... 54 MPa

Moderately easy to split. Nailing is satisfactory but requires care.

Sawing, machining, finishing, turning and steam bending properties are all excellent.

Minimal sanding is required after machining to achieve a smooth high quality finish.

Red beech glues, stains and paints well.

The wood does not contain a high silica content so is less likely to blunt cutting knives than other beech species.

Red beech exhibits exceptional dimensional stability once dry (12% m.c.). Slow drying. It seasons evenly without excessive degrade if air dried slowly.

Galvanised fixings are recommended for exterior uses because unprotected iron nails stain the timber. Alternatives include stainless steel, silicon bronze or copper.

No odour.

Availability

Normally available in the marketplace

Natural Durability

Red beech heartwood is durable and can be used in exterior exposed situations. It is suitable for outdoor decking and achieves Hazard Class H3.2 durability. Pathological heartwood is non-durable. Red beech sapwood is suitable for internal end-uses and is resistant to anobium and lyctus borers.

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