Chestnut - Castanea

Chestnut belongs to the fagaceae family along with beech and oak. It is a tree native to the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere: they grow in China, Japan, America and Europe.

Perhaps chestnuts are most famous for the fruit they produce, but they also have very strong and durable timber. Like oak, chestnut contains a high concentration of tannins.

Chestnut timber is light brown in colour and is sometimes confused with oak. Sadly, chestnuts used to dominate the eastern forests of the USA in the 1900s before disease nearly wiped them out. Because of this, most chestnut flooring available in the States is reclaimed. It has a rich patina ranging from light brown to a darker cocoa colour. Reclaimed chestnut flooring often has worm holes, evidence of the bugs that ate the dying trees.

Chestnut trees in the States have tremendous girths and were as a consequence popular sources of lumber for building barns (the tannin in chestnut protects it from outside weather). Much of the reclaimed chestnut on the market is from dismantled barns and other out houses.

photo taken by
oldwoodworkshop.com

Rustic chestnut

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