Saturday, 9 April 2011

Hornbeam

The Hornbeam seedlings are sprouting like mustard and cress on the Forest floor at the moment...
Richard Law commented in his blog recently that he'd visited Epping Forest and that Hornbeam was an uncommon tree in Yorkshire.  Well not round here it ain't.  In fact there are remnants of Hornbeam coppice all through Essex and Hertfordshire and possibly in a ring round London.  Being a very good firewood (burns long, hot and bright if well seasoned) it was used to fuel London's bread ovens.
I do use it occasionally but it must be worked green or you discover why it's called Hornbeam.
In America apparently it's called musclewood which is a very apt name as the trunk and branches often look as though there are muscles rippling beneath the bark.
Most people confuse it with Beech but it has serrated leaves and never grows as tall.

4 comments:

Gorges Smythe said...

You're right about it being called "muscle-wood" by some over here. I've also heard it called "Ironwood" and "Blue Beech." Because of its toughness, it was once used for making "gluts", or wooden wedges, for splitting rails after the initial split was made with an iron or steel wdge or for falling trees. We also have another species that I think is called "American Hop Hornbeam."

Robin Wood said...

It does spalt nicely first bowl I ever sold (to Nick Abbott) was spalted hornbeam.

TREEWRIGHT said...

Yes and it spalts very quickly - an early bowl I made was spalted with a natural edge. The lady who bought it said it was "Tree Sex"!

Anonymous said...

I made an eating spoon from Hornbeam while it was very very green, it is now like iron but it is my favourite spoon