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 New Zealand Beech


Red beech
Black beech
Silver beech

Southern beech is a highly decorative hardwood with a natural sheen and lustre. It is straight grained with a fine and even texture. Southern beech performs extremely well in roles where strength, appearance and stability are required.

The native beeches (silverSilver Beech (Tawhai, Nothofagus menziesii) The colour of New Zealand silver beech has been compared to hard maple (Acer saccarhum) and Cherry (Prunus serotina)with colour varying from yellowish to pinkish white, to brownish-red, to light brownish-pink. Click here for more..., red Red Beech (Tawhairaunui, Nothofagus fusca) 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.

Denser than silver beech, red beech has good strength properties and hardness with exceptional dimensional stability. Click here for more...
, hard Hard Beech (Tawhai, Nothofagus truncata) Hard beech is the densest of the New Zealand beech species, similar to North American hard maple and with much the same properties.
Hard beech heartwood is honey to brown in colour, sometimes varying from light to medium brown in one piece adding interest to the timber. Sapwood is a slightly lighter tone. The grain is straight with a fine and even texture. Lustre is slightly less apparent than other Southern beech species.Click here for more...
, black Black Beech (Tawhairauriki, Nothofagus solandri) The colour of New Zealand black beech ranges from honey coloured to light brown, sometimes with darker blackish streaks adding interest to the grain. The sapwood is light brown. The grain is straight, with a fine and even texture and a rich lustre.Click here for more... and mountainMountain Beech (Tawhairauriki, Nothofagus solandri v. cliffortioides) The colour of New Zealand mountain beech heartwood ranges from honey coloured to light brown, sometimes with darker blackish streaks. The sapwood is light brown and there is not a strong differentiation between sap and heartwood. The grain is straight, with a fine and even texture and a rich lustre.

Mountain Beech generally shares the same wood and working properties as Black Beech. Click here for more...
) are all hardwoods with good machining, gluing, finishing, bending and strength properties. These timbers are very workable, making them ideal for furniture, turnery, brushware, dowelling, rods, and other engineered products.

The wood properties of the principal species, N. menziesii (silver beech) and N. fusca (red beech) are well suited to fine furniture, quality joinery and millwork applications.

Native hardwood forest products come under strict forest managementNew Zealand’s indigenous timber resources are among the best managed in the world. Sustainable management maintains the essential functioning of the delicate forest ecosystems, while enabling logs to be harvested for timber production.
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and harvesting programs to ensure the protection of the highly valued forests for future generations.

Product Qualities

  • The wood colour features varying shades of pink, with lighter shades simulating Maple in colour while darker shades are closer in appearance to Cherry.
  • Exceptional dimensional stability.
  • Strong and tough hardwoods with a fine even texture and a warm consistent grain.
  • Steam bending properties are excellent.
  • Uniform wearing, excellent sawing, sanding, machining, finishing and turning properties
  • Stains and glues well with no need for filling.
  • Durable in outdoor applications (Red, Black & Hard beech heart).
  • Naturally resistant to borer;
  • Timber is non staining and weathers well in outdoor applications(Red, Black & Hard beech heart).
  • no odour.

Physical and Mechanical Properties

The physical and mechanical properties of New Zealand Southern beech timber vary with species, latitude and elevation. South Island timber has lower density with highly favourable wood working properties, while North Island timber is stronger because of its greater density. Timber lots should be supplied by source for consistency.


Grades are available for hardwood strip flooring, decking, paneling and joinery. Lower knottier grades are used where a
rusticated appearance is desired (such as furniture). Pieces containing pin-hole are well suited for furniture carcass, but also sought after for producing beautiful rustic panels and flooring. A high grade log, peeled or sliced, can be used for specialty items such as woodenware and decorative veneers. Older out of date grades for beech are available here.
Some products available include:

  • Sawn Timber
  • Hardwood Flooring
  • Veneer
  • Mouldings and Profiles.

Usually available in the marketplace.

Natural Durability

Heartwood of Red Beech, Hard Beech, Mountain Beech and Black Beech is durable. Only Red and Hard Beech are considered suitable for outdoor use. Silver Beech is moderately durable. Sapwood is non-durable but suitable for indoor applications. Treatment of the wood is not considered necessary for indoor use since it is resistant to attack by the powder post borer Lyctus brunneus


Disclaimer: While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided on this site, Farm Forestry Timbers Society do not accept liability for any consequences arising from reliance on the information published. If readers have any doubts about acting on any articles they should seek confirming, professional advice.

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