Lenga Wood

Lenga wood, or fireland cherry as it is more commercially known, is so easy to work and finish that it is quickly ranking among the preferred woods for fine mouldings and millwork. Lenga wood lumber has a warm reddish brown color which darkens upon exposure to light. Less hard and dense than most hardwoods used for flooring, its color and luster more than make up. Lenga wood species closely resembles American cherry, European beech and birch in appearance.

Stock Information

Species Information

  • 4/4″, 5/4″, 6/4″, 8/4″ thickness
  • 4″ and wider
  • 6′ and longer, up to 14′
  • FAMILY: Nothofagaceae.
  • OTHER COMMON NAMES: Fireland Cherry, South American Beech, Anis, Lengue, Nire.
  • ORIGIN: Chile, Argentina, Patagonia and Fireland territory; found in temperate climates, not a rainforest species.
  • APPEARANCE: The heartwood varies from light tan to pale pink in color. The sapwood is described as light brown to yellowish in color. Lower grades have cream-colored to grayish streaks. Lenga exhibits a medium degree of color change, first darkening to a medium pinkish-red color and then ambering slightly. The grain is usually straight and the texture varies from fine to medium. Luster is typically low to medium with no distinctive odor.
  • DENSITY AND BUOYANCY: Lenga is a relatively dense wood, with a Janka hardness of 990, (Red Oak is 30% harder than Lenga) and average weight of 38 lbs./cu. ft. Specific gravity is .49, making this wood very buoyant.
  • DRYING AND SHRINKAGE: Lenga is very difficult to dry, usually requiring two years to air dry to 25 percent to 30 percent. Care must also be taken when kiln drying to avoid collapse. The timbers are reported to have very good dimensional stability after seasoning, and show negligible movement after manufacture.
  • WORKABILITY:Reported to be generally easy to work with both hand and machine tools. They plane, turn, bore, mould, and mortise well to yield clean surfaces. The wood glues well and can be sanded easily. Steam bending properties are rated from fair to good. Strength in compression parallel to grain is in the high range. Other species in this range include teak, white oak, and hard maple. It is fairly hard, resisting wear and denting fairly well.
  • DURABILITY: Medium – natural resistance to decay is reported to vary with species.
  • PRESERVATION: Heartwood resistance to preservative treatment is rated as moderate, but the sapwood is permeable.
  • USES: Paneling, mouldings, cabinets and casework for the home and office, drawers, containers, and interior furniture.
  • GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Fireland cherry is a close grain wood that stains well to resemble American cherry, and is grown in a temperate forest in Chile.
  • Its other qualities include:
    • warm, reddish-brown tones that darken when exposed to light
    • strong, rich luster
    • very workable wood

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