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Bear claw Beech


Jim Kelso

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This is something you don't see that much, mostly because there is some disease attacking the Beeches which leaves their bark rough and ragged. The black bears around here climb the Beeches for nuts and leave scars which are magnified as the tree grows. This tree is about 18" diameter.

Google "bear claw beech".

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That is interesting! We have scrawny little trees called "blue beech" I think. They look muscular, with smooth grey bark. I've not seen one more than 4 or 5 inches in diameter. Is this the same sort of tree?

 

Hah! check out: http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/forestry/Educat...s/beechblue.htm

 

There is my answer! I still have not seen an 18 incher though.

 

Have you carved any of this wood? I seem to recall that I might have some drying at the studio, but if not, I'll see if I can find and prepare some for future years. The search for indeginous hardwoods is a slow one, but I would like to see what is possible with what is around here, for carving purposes.

 

Thanks Jim!

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Yeah, we have the Blue Beech too which is a different animal, I think in the Birch family, sometimes called Hornbeam. It's a very hard and heavy wood. Never tried working it, but I suspect it is too coarse for our carving purposes. Would like to know.

 

The bear climbing Beech is American Beech(Fagus grandifolia) and has the characteristic smooth bark that looks like elephant skin. It doesn't really heal marks in it which, as well as showing the bear clawings, leaves it prone to vandalism. Sadly, many fine specimens in parks and cities are defaced by carved initials, etc.

 

It's related to the European Beech which is used for making woodworking planes and benches.

Probably fine for larger carving.

 

American Beech webpage

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