Related to the oak and chestnut, beech is most common in the higher altitudes of the Appalachian Mountain chain. Elegant and attractive, the American beech is a medium tall tree with the smoothest of all bark. It grows, naturally, along mountain slopes and rich uplands in nearly pure stands. It tolerates shade well making it one of the forest trees that can thrive beneath the canopy of taller species. American beech is an important timber species. It is highly adaptable to steam bending while retaining its strength. It is excellent for woodturning, wears well and takes preservatives well. Because beechwood becomes slick with wear, it is perfect for drawer sides and runners. Because it bends well, it is used in bent wood chairs and other bent wood furniture. It does not impart flavor, odor or color to food so it is good for food utensils and containers. Wood ranges from nearly white to deep red brown. Close and straight grained, with little figure and a uniform texture, identified by its dark pores in conspicuous rays. Hard and strong. Good resistance to abrasive wear. Easy to paint, stain or bleach.