Uses: Trim, Exterior joinery, Interior joinery, Structural
General Description: Sweet Chestnut's sapwood is narrow, and distinct from the heartwood which is yellowish-brown in colour, closely resembling oak in appearance but lacking the silver-grain figure characteristic of that timber, resulting from the finer rays. The grain may be straight, but is more commonly spiral, particularly in timber from old trees, while logs are liable to cup and ring-shake. It weighs about 560 kg/m³ when dried. On account of its somewhat acidic character chestnut tends to accelerate the corrosion of metals, particularly when moist. It also contains tannin, as a result of which blue-black discolourations are prone to appear on the wood when it comes into contact with iron or iron compounds.
This timber of medium density has low bending strength, medium crushing strength, and very low stiffness and resistance to shock loads. If bent in the green state is liable to rupture on the inner face. Air dried timber has a good steam bending classification, although intolerant of pin knots.
The timber is rather difficult to dry, retaining its moisture in patches, and tending to collapse and honeycomb; this form of defect does not respond well to reconditioning treatments.
Although resembling oak in appearance, chestnut is less hard and tough, and some 20 per cent inferior in all its strength properties to that timber.
Family Name: Fagaceae
Latin Name: Castanea sativa
Distribution: The tree occurs from south-west europe, including Britian, northwards to France, south-west Germany and Australia, North Africa and Asia Minor.
Also known as: Sweet chestnut, European chesnut (Europe), Spanish chesnut (Spain)