The European chestnut, also known as sweet chestnut or common chestnut, is a tree belonging to temperate or warm environments, which normally grows in areas of south-western Europe, North Africa and Western Asia.
The chestnut wood has a yellowish brown shade, this is why this colour receives the same name as the tree. In addition, this wood presents no bright lines, but it is dull and it has dark tones that characterize other similar species like the oak.
The pores of the chestnut wood form rings with streaks on the surface that give the material a decorative value. It has few nerves, so it is one of the more stable materials that the timber market currently supplies. This feature is particularly advantageous in applications where the wood will be subjected to contact with the outside and to large variations of humidity and temperature, such the case of windows, doors and pallets.
The chestnut wood has low permeability and a chemical composition rich in tannins. These provide it a great natural resistance to the outside in temperate climates, and the wood eating indoor. However, it is a wood with very limited flexibility and strength, it does not support properly the blows and it is inelastic.
The chestnut wood is one of the firewood with fewer nerves, which is a very advantageous feature for working it under humid temperatures, such as windows, doors or wooden pallets. This timber can be worked easily thanks to its nice machining, nailed, screwed and polished, besides having optimum qualities for varnishing and dyeing. This is a very attractive wood for rustic and modern environments.
Traditionally, this rough material has been used for construction, carpentry and furniture making, for barrels, coffins, poles, crutches, sticks, umbrella handles or kitchen utensils and plates.