The sapwood is hard to differentiate from the heartwood. The colour can vary from whitish to very pale brown, and may darken to a pale pinkish brown. It can turn to a deeper reddish brown with steaming. Sometimes the has a dark red heart or darker veining. It has a straight grain with fine, even texture and a characteristic fleck, and quartersawn may display an attractive broad ray figure on radial surfaces.
Steam beech is very suitable for steam-bending. It has medium stiffness and high crushing strength. When poorly seasoned, is liable to bind on saws, burn on crosscutting, and cause planing problems. Otherwise, it has medium resistance to hand tools, with moderate blunting of cutters. For nailing, pre-boring is necessary. Beech glues easily, stains and dyes well and takes an excellent finish. It is a very good turnery wood.
Typical Uses :
Solid and laminated furniture such as desks, benches and chairs (including bentwood furniture), quality joinery, kitchenware, tools, tool handles and workbenches, turnery, musical instruments, toys, bobbins, domestic flooring, decorative veneers and plywood.