Pear (Pyrus communis)

Pear (Pyrus communis)

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Common Name(s): Pear, Swiss Pear

Scientific Name: Pyrus communis

Distribution: Native to central and eastern Europe;
also widely planted throughout temperate regions worldwide

Tree Size: 20-30 ft (6-9 m) tall, .5-1 ft (15-30 cm) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 43 lbs/ft3 (690 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .52, .69

Janka Hardness: 1,660 lbf (7,380 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 12,080 lbf/in2 (83.3 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 1,131,000 lbf/in2 (7.80 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 6,400 lbf/in2 (44.1 MPa)

Shrinkage: Radial: 3.9%, Tangential: 11.3%, Volumetric: 13.8%, T/R Ratio: 2.9

Color/Appearance: Heartwood is a pale pink or light reddish brown. Sapwood is slightly paler but is not usually distinct from heartwood. Pear is sometimes steamed to deepen the pink coloration. Pear is also occasionally dyed black and used as a substitute for ebony.

Grain/Texture: Grain is usually straight, with a very fine uniform texture.

Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; very small pores in no specific arrangement (very numerous); exclusively solitary; heartwood mineral/gum deposits (reddish brown) occasionally present; growth rings distinct; rays not visible without lens; parenchyma not clearly observable with hand lens.

Rot Resistance: Rated as non-durable regarding decay resistance.

Workability: Overall easy to work with both hand and machine tools. Turns, glues, and finishes well.

Odor: No characteristic odor.

Allergies/Toxicity: Besides the standard health risks associated with any type of wood dust, no further health reactions have been associated with Pear. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: A popular and premium hardwood in Europe, Pear is only availability in limited quantities in the United States. Larger logs are usually turned into veneer for architectural purposes. Expect lumber and veneer prices to be high for an imported European hardwood.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Common Uses: Veneer, architectural millwork, marquetry, inlay, carving, musical instruments, furniture, cabinetry, and turned objects.

Comments: It’s been said that Pear is used in Europe much in the same way that Black Cherry is used in the United States: as a popular and high-quality domestic hardwood.

Related Species:

None available.

Related Articles:

None available.

Scans/Pictures: A special thanks to Steve Earis for providing the turned photo of this wood species.

Pear (Pyrus communis)

Pear (sanded)

Pear (sealed)

Pear (sealed)

Pear (endgrain)

Pear (endgrain)

Pear (endgrain 10x)

Pear (endgrain 10x)

Pear (turned)

Pear (turned)

Pear (36" x 4.1")

Pear (36″ x 4.1″)

  • David Whitfield

    Due to my experience with grafting I can attest that the related Pear species Pyrus calleryana (Flowering Pear/Callery Pear), or at least the uncultivated thorn-bearing wild growing ones I’ve found have harder wood than the common pear, without any way to test it exactly I can at least say it’s probably closer to Eastern Hornbeam or Hophornbeam in hardness.

  • arth1

    Pear has traditionally been used for applications where wood slides against wood, like drawer slides. It is relatively strong, has low friction, doesn’t splinter as easily when rubbed against the grain, and the sliding action improves with time as the wood “self-seals”.
    Historical uses has also included slide rules and knife sheath inserts.

  • Matthew Staley

    Yesterday I finish turned a Bradford Pear bowl blank that I green turned Jan 2016, sealed with Anchor Seal, and allowed it to slowly lose water weight before finishing it. On one edge are multiple pale inclusions that look very much like wood filler, but I didn’t use any filler on this piece, they were present from the time I first green turned the wood. I have never turned pear wood before and was wondering if anyone had seen this before and might know what it was. The piece also has some light blue fungal staining and some chatoyant curl figure. I don’t know that I can post a photo here but still curious if anyone might have any ideas