White sapwood and brown-reddish to chocolate-brown heartwood with narrow, smooth grain. Occasionally, curly or wavy grain also occurs. Due to the severe contrast between heartwood and sapwood, it makes a very good substitute for hickory. It can grant a lot of character to an average interior, or it can make the piece-de-résistance of an 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.
A very hard (1820 on the Janka scale) and resistant wood (despite of not being a heavy one), the whitebeam is famous for being used for making clogged wheels before the advent of the industrial revolution. Greatly stable, it exhibits a very low shrinkage rate and it can take a great deal of friction while staying smooth. Add great resilience, shock resistance, and durability and you’ll have the complete portrait.
Rather hard to saw, it will dull the tools quite fast, but then 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 predisposed to burn marks. Whitebeam sands very well and polishes almost glass-like smooth. It tends to splint, so pre-drilling screw and nail holes is a big must.
Due to its high mineral content, whitebeam is such terrible firewood it gained the reputation of “the wood that doesn’t burn”. This flaw, however, turned out to be a sought-after quality owing to which, whitebeam came to be extensively used in the past to mark boundaries throughout the Europe’s countryside. Its bright-red berries hanging on branches all winter long would make it visible from the distance and, at the same time, no drifters in their right mind would ever attempt to cut it down to light their campfire.