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Exotic Hardwood: Chestnut

Posted: Monday, August 29, 2011

ChestnuChestnut, also known as American chestnut, bears the nut so fondly sang about in "The Christmas Song." You know, "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…" This North American wood species also brings warmth to any home with its lighter brown color that fits with most décor styles.

Chestnut is a rapidly growing hardwood tree that can reach 150 feet tall. In the early 1900’s the species was devastated by a fungal disease and therefore very few old growth trees exist in this species. Several younger spawns kept Chestnut growing. It is a valuable wood, commercially, because it grows at such a rapid rate. Chestnut is also highly resistant to decay and because of that is often used in home construction, as plywood, and of course as flooring.

It is one of the softest species available for wood flooring with a Janka hardness of 540 making it sixty percent as hard as cedars and forty-four percent as teak, and twenty five percent as hard santos mahogany.

Chestnut must be dried properly which can be challenging and time consuming and can be difficult to saw. The wood mostly has a straight grain but can have a spiraled grain from time to time. It takes glue well as a flooring product and sands with out much difficulty. Chestnut’s heartwood tends to be gray to brown while its sapwood is often white to a light brown.

The nuts that a Chestnut tree bears can be a deterrent for use as a shade tree near a home. This wood is better suited for inside the home as wood flooring, furniture, and interior trim. Because of its resistance to decay, neutral color, lack of odor, and easy installation, Chestnut is a great option for any home seeking reliable flooring.