Chestnut wood is valuable, flexible and strong. Typical of the Mediterranean scrub, it has a coarse texture with dense and thin veins and a colour that varies from yellowish to red-brown. It is a tree that is extremely long-lasting, easily reaching one thousand years old. Used for the production of aristocrat and commonly used artefacts, it is one of the plants with the highest yield: waste wood, in fact, can be used as fuel for closed boilers, or, alternatively, for the extraction of tannin.
Thanks to its versatility, chestnut wood is used in many processes. Widely used in the production of fixtures, in numerous furnishing elements and in various outdoor carpentry works.
Characteristics and properties of chestnut wood
Appreciated for its low shrinkage and expansion coefficient, chestnut wood is not affected by variations in temperature and humidity. This characteristic, combined with the high concentration of tannic acid present in its fibres, makes chestnut particularly resistant to atmospheric agents, and is therefore perfect for outdoor exposure.
Equally remarkable is its durability and excellent resistance to impact: chestnut can sustain the main mechanical stresses such as compression, twisting, and bending. Although it can be classified as medium compact, chestnut wood has a low specific weight (the specific weight of chestnut is about 550kg/m). The advantage is having a light wood, while not compromising on the solidity.
Also worth mentioning are its aesthetic qualities: chestnut wood has a warm colour with golden-brown tones and, thanks to the richness of tones and shades, it is equally at home in both traditional and modern furnishings, giving a familiar and welcoming touch.
The applications of chestnut wood
Thanks to its physical characteristics, first and foremost durability and resistance to humidity, chestnut wood lends itself to numerous fields of application. Used as a building material for interiors and exteriors, it represents a valid solution for fixtures, canopies, pergolas, fences and enclosures, but can also be used in the construction of floors and furnishing elements.
Chestnut wood rooves
The construction of rooves requires wood which is hard and, at the same time, sufficiently resistant to bending. Chestnut fulfils these requirements perfectly: it should therefore come as no surprise that it is among the materials of choice in the production of rooves and canopies. Another factor not to be underestimated is this timber’s resistance to wear and to atmospheric agents, meaning it is possible to use it outside. As a result, chestnut wood rooves offer the home long-lasting protection.
Chestnut stakes and enclosures
Fences and enclosures must meet high quality and safety standards. When it comes to constructing them, chestnut wood deserves a place of honour, especially thanks to its longevity, even in adverse weather conditions. This material has no problems with the possible negative effects of humidity: even in bad weather, it is not subject to swelling or other changes in shape and volume. Chestnut wood enclosures are therefore appreciated for their solidity, with the advantage of little to no maintenance required.
Porticos and canopies in chestnut wood
As already mentioned, this material is well known for its strength: it is no coincidence that, among the first porticos and cloisters in history, powerful columns in chestnut wood can be seen. The preference for this timber, widely used in the construction of loggias and porticos, is not limited, however, to its structural qualities. It is in fact equally appreciated for its priceless aesthetic rendering, enhanced by multiform and irregular veins. Platform rooves, garages and ancillary constructions benefit particularly from the use of chestnut wood. Compared to competing materials, it ensures optimal ventilation, drastically reducing the inconveniences associated with the accumulation of moisture. It is also a particularly flexible wood, therefore easy to work with: the infinite transformation techniques are therefore entrusted to the designer’s inspiration. When it comes to constructing platform rooves, chestnut shingles — wooden tiles of ancient origin that were widely used in medieval times — are used more than anything else.
Chestnut wood floors for your dream home
Chestnut wood is also widely used in the production of parquet and flooring. From parquet with rustic and antique finish to a classic, brushed or polished finish; from multilayer solutions to those in solid wood, there are countless chestnut floors and they respond to every stylistic need. A chestnut parquet floor has the advantage of giving any living space a warm and welcoming touch, giving life to an intimate atmosphere with a natural flavour.
Chestnut wood for the outside of the house
Gazebos are practical and functional elements but, at the same time, they fulfil an important ornamental function, enhancing the garden or the rural context in which they are immersed. Those made from chestnut wood boast an excellent longevity, both in terms of wear resistance and in terms of the colour lasting over time, infinitely greater than other wood extracts. Chestnut wood is extremely easy to work with, which allows gazebos to be produced with varying heights, diameters and decorations, to fulfil whatever preferences may arise during construction.
Chestnut wood slabs and beams
If designed with due care and properly preserved, chestnut wood slabs can perform their static function for hundreds of years. It is not surprising that chestnut beams are the primary roof frame for attics. Available in different types of processing, such as River Use and Sharp Edge, they have different shapes and cuts to adapt to any type of work, including restoration.
Chestnut beams constitute the supports for the joists that make up the rigid structure of the slabs, resting on the load-bearing walls (or on beams). Beams and joists constitute the supporting structure of the roofing elements.
It is important to choose the wood types for the beams and joists wisely. The strength and durability of this structure affects the overall strength of the house.
For the beams as for the joists, we will choose resistant, rigid and durable wood. The wooden beams of deciduous trees have long been considered the first choice, precisely because of their durability.
Chestnut is the building material that best suits the needs of load, formal stability and aesthetics.
A chestnut beam combines resistance with superior performance, all enriched by the unique aesthetic typical of noble essences.
Cleaning and maintenance for chestnut furniture and artefacts
The high amount of tannic acid contained in chestnut wood makes this essence naturally resistant to moisture and temperature changes, minimising the need for maintenance. To keep chestnut artefacts intact over time, whether they are natural or finished, it is sufficient to dust their surface daily with a soft cloth. If you wish, you can also use a detergent, as long as it is specially formulated for the treatment of wood.
Deep cleaning of wood
For an occasional deep clean, suitable for removing fingerprints and ring stains, it is advisable to use a leather cloth, dampened in a solution of warm water and a few drops of ammonia. Alternatively, you can use Marseille soap: it must also be dissolved in warm water but, unlike ammonia, it requires final rinsing and drying. It is also worth mentioning wax finishes, as they don’t like water and must therefore be cleaned with a soft, dry cloth.
Reviving chestnut wood
Obviously, over time, it may be necessary to re-wax the wood to renew and revive the colour. There are specific products available in paste or liquids, both synthetic and natural. In general, it is better to opt for beeswax or those based on vegetable resins, to be spread, preferably, with a linen cloth. With regard to extra maintenance of chestnut wood, there are several activities that can be safely carried out on an occasional basis. For example, to protect and give new shine to wood, there are specific products such as shellac or straw oil.
Dyes and mordants, on the other hand, are designed to revive the tone of aged wood, enhancing the natural veins. To remove old layers of wax and varnish, there are special solvents, available in liquid or spray form. If the chestnut wood products have small cracks, it is possible to level the affected area with a special wax stick and a spatula, then wait for it to dry completely before polishing the area. Last but not least, remember that among the most bitter enemies of chestnut wood are woodworms: to combat them it is always better to act preventively by using a specific anti-wormwood product that can provide in-depth protection.
Types of chestnut wood
There are difference species of chestnut trees, which depends on their origin. In Italy, of course, it is the European chestnut that dominates. With an area of about 15,000 hectares, chestnut trees represent almost 15% of the national forest area. In the province of Viterbo, in particular, the oldest companies dedicated to the processing of this wood are concentrated. An example is Chinucci Legnami s.r.l., a company characterised by a strong tradition, where the art of cutting chestnut trees has been handed down for several generations. The company’s priority is to comply with high quality standards, both in the selection of raw materials and in the processing techniques. The result is a wide range of products, ranging from beams to tableware, from trusses to attics.
The best known is the European chestnut, belonging to the Fagaceae family. Characteristic of southern Europe, it has lanceolate leaves, a smooth bark and a brownish heartwood. The wood is precious, appreciated for its extreme resistance to atmospheric agents and mechanical stresses. Thanks to its structural qualities, it is used both indoors and in outdoor carpentry works. The wild variant gives rise to a particularly resistant and compact wood, especially suitable for barrels and vineyard fences.
Japanese chestnut has roughly the same characteristics as European chestnut. Compared to the latter, it has an earlier production, but is also smaller, reaching an average height of 12 metres. Originally from Korea and Japan, this type of chestnut has been imported into Europe for several decades, giving rise to a significant series of hybrids.
Native to North America, American chestnut is characterised by its broad, shiny and markedly jagged leaves. In the past, it has been an important part of the US economy. However, its wood is currently no longer usable due to the fungus Cryphonectria parasitica, responsible for a necrotic disease that, since 1904, has decimated this type of chestnut, bringing it to the brink of extinction.
For more information, or to request a no-obligation quote, you can contact Chinucci Legnami through the form designed for this purpose.