In a little over a decade, Germany’s Pollmeier says it has become the world’s leading supplier of European beech. In scale, Pollmeier says it can cut over 280 million board feet of beech logs annually — five times the capacity of its biggest competitor.
“European beech is 99+ percent of what we make and sell,” says Doug Martin, North American sales and marketing manager for Pollmeier Inc. Superior grade beech is its most plentiful variety, used by woodworkers in architectural millwork, cabinets, furniture, as well as wide plank solid and engineered flooring.

Beech wood in general features a tight, fine grain and uniform color that sands to a high polish. It can take many stains, and is often used to mimic more expensive woods like walnut, cherry and mahogany. The wood is light-colored, with a closed cell structure, very hard and abrasion-proof and takes staining very well.

But European beech has gotten a bad rap, for a natural tendency to maintain a strong tension within boards, which may cause twisting, problems in processing or in performance of final products. Pollmeier traced this “lack of stability” to uneven moisture content, which it says often occurs with conventionally dried timber.

To produce stable, non-warping European beech, Pollmeier uses a controlled kiln-drying technology. Its more than 100 kilns are filled with squared-edged boards of the same thickness stacked automatically in very uniform bundles so hot air can flow evenly through the individual layers of the wood stacks, says Pollmeier.

Drying is adjusted precisely in the individual wood stacks, which are actually over-dried to 5 to 6 percent residual moisture, then conditioned with steam so all the boards eventually reach a homogeneous moisture content of 6 to 8 percent.

The wood goes in more uniform, and comes out flatter, straighter, more stable, and with a uniform color. Pollmeier says it pre-sands the boards, which improves processing and, the company adds, gives buyers a “deep look” into its lumber — literally.

Boards are sorted by possible applications (learn more at pollmeier.com/us/home/) in eight different quality grades by specially trained graders using American NHLA standards. Pre-sorted or fixed widths sortation is offered on request.

Scientific Kiln Drying Meets Art of Sortation
Based on grading rules of the American NHLA, the European beech boards are sorted by
possible applications into eight different quality grades by specially trained graders.

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