Whitebeam

APPEARANCE:

White sapwood and brown-reddish to chocolate-brown heartwood with fine, smooth grain. Occasionally, curly or wavy grain also occurs. Due to the severe contrast between heartwood and sapwood, it makes a perfect substitute for hickory. It can grant much character to an average interior or make the piece-de-résistance of already daring kitchen design. Generally, however, it blends naturally within any rustic home décor where light and dark alternate. Like hickory, it is often used to create a rustic effect.

PHYSICAL PROPERTIES:

A very hard (1820 on the Janka scale) and resistant wood (despite not being a heavy one), the whitebeam is famous for being used for making clogged wheels before the advent of the industrial revolution. Considerably stable, it exhibits a meager shrinkage rate, and it can take a great deal of friction while staying smooth. Add high resilience, shock resistance, and durability, and you’ll have the complete portrait.

WORKING PROPERTIES:

Somewhat hard to see, it will dull the tools quite fast, but what else would you expect from one of the hardest woods of the Northern hemisphere? It generates a very smooth cut, but the white sapwood is prone to predispose to burn marks. Whitebeam sands very well and polishes almost glass-like smooth. It tends to splint, so pre-drilling screws and nails holes is a big must.

TRIVIA:

Due to its high mineral content, whitebeam is such terrible firewood it gained the reputation of “the wood that doesn’t burn”. However, this flaw turned out to be a sought-after quality owing to which, whitebeam came to be extensively used in the past to mark boundaries throughout Europe’s countryside. Its bright-red berries hanging on branches all winter long would make it visible from a distance and, at the same time, no drifters in their right mind would ever attempt to cut it down to light their campfire.

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