Is Beech A Hardwood? (According To Experts!)

is beech a hardwood

Beech wood is a popular wood that use for furniture, flooring, and plywood. When it comes to woodworking, I was surprised because of its excellent working qualities. When I was working with Beech I always wondered, Is Beech a hardwood?

Yes, Beech is a hardwood. Beech wood has a hardness rating of 1,300 lbf (5,782 N) which is relatively higher than most woods. Because of having decent strength and hardness for a low price, Beech is considered a versatile hardwood for woodworkers. It comes from a deciduous tree with unique hardwood qualities.

But there’s a lot more to know about the hardness of Beech with its qualities.

So, in this article, we’ll explore is Beech a hardwood, how hard Beech wood is with its characteristic features, the pros, and cons of Beech wood, and its uses as well.

Furthermore, I’ll answer some frequently asked questions about the hardness of Beech compared to other wood types.

So, let’s jump in!

How Hard Is Beech?

Beech is harder than most hardwoods. According to the Janka hardness ratings, Beech wood has a hardness rating of 1,300 lbf (5,782 N) which is a relatively higher value.

Woods that comes from deciduous plants are considered hardwoods. Beech wood also comes from a deciduous plant from the Fagaceae family. But Beech trees have some unique features to other deciduous trees which make them special.

Beech has a more complex wood fiber structure than softwoods. As a result of being a hardwood, Beech grows slowly. The hardwood volume of Beech wood is composed of fiber cells that provide structural support to the stem.

Beech wood is equipped with vessels, elements, and pores that exist in hardwoods only. It has diffused pores structure and growth rings are distinct. Pores are small, solitary, and placed in an irregular manner as multiple clusters.

Because having a high hardness value, the density of Beech is also quite high. because the density of hardwood is related to its hardness, weight, and strength. Beech is heavier, harder, and stronger than other woods with less density.

So, let’s have a look at the hardness of Beech according to the Janka hardness scale.

Janka hardness test is a standard method of measuring the hardness of woods based on their resistance to wear and dent. Woods with high resistance to wear and dent have a high value in the Janka hardness rating.

According to the Janka hardness ratings, Beech has a hardness rating of around 1,300 lbf (5,782 N). So, let’s have a look at Janka hardness ratings of other popular wood types compared to Beech to get an idea about how hard Beech wood is.

Wood speciesHardness value
Brazilian Walnut3,684 lbf (16,390 N)
Red Mahogany, Turpentine2,697 lbf (12,000 N)
Brazilian Cherry, Jatoba2,350 lbf (10,500 N)
Golden Teak2,330 lbf (10,400 N)
Hickory, Pecan, Satinwood1,820 lbf (8,100 N)
Hard Maple, Sugar Maple1,450 lbf (6,400 N)
White Oak1,360 lbf (6,000 N)
Ash (White)1,320 lbf (5,900 N)
Beech1,300 lbf (5,782 N)
Red Oak (Northern)1,290 lbf (5,700 N)
Yellow Birch / Baltic Birch1,260 lbf (5,600 N)
Teak1,155 lbf (5,140 N)
Black Walnut, North American Walnut1,010 lbf (4,500 N)
Cherry995 lbf (4,430 N)
Black Cherry, Imbuia950 lbf (4,200 N)
Red Maple950 lbf (4,200 N)
Douglas Fir710 lbf (3,158 N)
Silver Maple700 lbf (3,100 N)
Hemlock540 lbf (2,402 N)
Black Spruce520 lbf (2,313 N)
Redwood420 lbf (1,868 N)
Engelmann Spruce390 lbf (1,735 N)
Sugar Pine380 lbf (1,690 N)

As you can see Beech wood is quite hard than most other wood types. But when it comes to the hardwood category, Beech is light hardwood.

So, let’s find out what are the characteristic qualities of Beech to become one of the most superior hardwood species on the planet.

Beech Wood Characteristics

Beech wood is a pale cream color wood with a brown or pink hue. It is straight-grained with a fine to medium uniform texture.

Because of being a hardwood with good resistance against wear and dent, Beech wood has great strength. But when it comes to its durability, Beech is non-durable because it is susceptible to insect attacks.

When it comes to woodworking, Beech wood is having good workability. Even a beginner in woodworking can work with Beech wood because it machines well. It holds paints and stains so well. Guling and finishing are also easier than most other hardwoods.

There’re no harmful chemicals in Beech wood and no characteristic odor. Therefore, it can use for many woodworking projects including making cutting boards and children’s toys.

Here’re the top characteristic qualities of Beech wood.

  • Hardwood
  • High strength
  • Poor durability against insect attacks
  • High workability
  • Easy to finish

Here’re the main characteristic features of Beech wood.

ColorPale cream color
Density0.64 kg/m3
Hardness1,300 lbf (5,782 N)
Stiffness1.72 Mpsi
Wood TypeNorth American Hardwood
ApplicationsFurniture, Flooring, Plywood, Railroad ties

So, let’s find out what are the advantages and disadvantages of Beech hardwood.

Pros and Cons of Beech Wood

ProsCons
HardwoodProne to insect attacks
High workabilityAbsorb water
Easy to glue, paint, and sealExpensive
User friendlyCrack and warp easily
Nontoxic 
High strength 
Shock resistant 
High density 

As you can see Beech wood is a versatile hardwood with lots of advantages. Most of the disadvantages of Beech can be skipped with regular maintenance and proper sealing.

What Is Beech Used For?

Because of having high hardness value than most other woods, Beech wood can be used for,

  • Lumber
  • Veneer
  • Railroad ties
  • Musical instruments
  • Crates
  • Boxes
  • Small wooden projects

As you can see Beech wood can be used for pretty much any woodworking project.

How Strong Is Beech?

Beech wood is a hardwood with great strength than most hardwoods and softwoods.

It has moderate compressive strength and high bending strength which is so useful in woodworking. It is hard, dense, and strong.

The compressive strength and bending strength of Beech wood are as follows,

  • The compressive strength of Beech wood is 7,300 psi
  • The bending strength of Beech wood is 14,900 psi

Great compressive strength and excellent flexural strength are the key factors of Beech, that make it popular in the woodworking world.

So, let’s answer some frequently asked questions about Beech hardwood compared to other popular wood types.

Is Beech Harder Than Oak?

White Oak is harder than Beech, but Beech is harder than Red Oak. Comparatively both Beech and oak have similar hardness. Therefore, Beech can be easily replaced with oak wood in terms of hardness.

According to the Janka hardness ratings, the hardness of Beech and oak are as follows,

Wood TypeHardness
Beech1,300 lbf
Red Oak1,290 lbf
White Oak1,360 lbf

As you can see only a slight difference in hardness between Beech and oak. Both kinds of wood are hard, strong, and dense and can use for any woodworking project with proper care.

Is Beech Harder Than Maple?

Hard Maple is harder than Beech, but Beech is harder than Soft Maple. Even though the hardness between hard Maple and soft Maple is significantly high, both have almost the same qualities except the hardness and density.

 According to the Janka hardness ratings, the hardness of Beech and Maple are as follows,

Wood TypeHardness
Beech1,300 lbf
Hard Maple1,450 lbf
Soft Maple950 lbf

Is Beech Harder Than Walnut?

Beech is harder than Walnut. Walnut is considered a light hardwood because it holds the position of one of the least hardwood types on the planet while Beech wood has superior hardness with great strength than Walnut.

According to the Janka hardness ratings, the hardness of Beech and Walnut are as follows,

Wood TypeHardness
Beech1,300 lbf
Walnut1,010 lbf

As you can see Beech wood is significantly harder than Walnut and if you’re willing to replace Walnut with any other wood with great strength and hardness, Beech is a good option to work with.

Is Beech Harder Than Birch?

Beech is harder than Birch. Yellow Birch is slightly softer and less dense than Beech wood.

As per Janka hardness ratings, the hardness of Beech and Birch are as follows,

Wood TypeHardness
Beech1,300 lbf
Birch1,260 lbf

Did I cover all you wanted to know about: Is Beech A Hardwood?

In this article, we’ve deeply discussed is Beech a hardwood and how hard it is by taking characteristic qualities, pros, and cons of Beech wood as factors.

Beech is a hardwood with lots of exceptional qualities. Most importantly it is relatively cheaper than other hardwoods that provide the same amount of strength and density for woodworking applications.

Furthermore, we’ve discussed what makes Beech wood so special and is Beech a hardwood compared to other popular wood types like Maple, Walnut, Birch, and oak.

Hope you have gained good knowledge about the hardness of Beech and how we can use its superior qualities for woodworking projects. So, let’s begin to start your next woodworking project with Beech wood. Have fun in woodworking!

Walter Parker is a woodworking enthusiast. He is passionate about woodworking projects & plays with woodworking tools having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Woodworking Planet. He wants to make people love woodworking! Read More About Him!

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