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Author Topic: Chunk of wood ID  (Read 9066 times)

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Offline Dave Shepard

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Chunk of wood ID
« on: March 16, 2010, 11:27:29 PM »
I've been chiselling away at a timber off and on for the last week. Section is about 6"x7" Trying to figure out what it is. It's dense, hard, mean, probably slow growing, has a really severe case of interlocking grain, it's DanG hard, laughs at edge tools, looks a lot like black locust, although without the yellow tint, and in general completely lacks any outwards signs of cooperation. Here are a couple of bad photos. Good luck. :D



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Offline pigman

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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2010, 11:32:22 PM »
 I am not good at IDing wood, but I happened to be on at the right time so I get to have the first guess. I guess notsweetgum. ;D
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2010, 11:48:04 PM »
This chunk of wood most likely started growing in Fulton County, New York, probably in the late 1600's. It's present excellent condition leads me to believe that this species of wood must possess a resistance, if not total immunity, to any saprophyte living then or now in it's original habitat. Whatever it's green working properties are, they are a mystery long hidden by nearly a quarter of a millennium of brooding meanness and obstinacy.
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2010, 11:52:02 PM »
my vote is for Red elm,   just because it fits the above description 8)
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Offline Dana

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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2010, 07:51:46 AM »
American Chestnut? Looks like it's a reclaimed beam or railroad tie with creosote treatment.
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2010, 05:47:10 PM »
Elm is not a bad guess, we are leaning in that direction as well. Definitely not a railroad tie, this timber is from a barn built in 1801, and it is recycled from a hay barrack that could be much earlier. To heavy and mean natured for chestnut.
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2010, 07:35:09 PM »
My guess is ship mast quality black locust, which is darker heart. Also has some banding of late wood pores similar to pattern in elms, but not as densely spaced. Baring that, Osage if you can get the extractives to leach out of shavings in hot water.  ;D
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2010, 11:18:02 PM »
I have not a clue. But I think it is cool that we are so awe struck by that piece. thanks for sharing.

Offline WDH

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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2010, 11:21:00 PM »
I am with Dana on the chestnut.
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2010, 03:12:12 AM »
Chestnut would be my second guess, but doesn't sound like it so much with all the grief tooling it. Chestnut is not very hard and heavy either, but rot resistance is pretty good. The wood does look oak-like on that side shot. I'm still leaning hard on locust though. ;D
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2010, 09:16:04 AM »
Dave if it came out of a barn, it's possible manure stained the wood a deep walnut color. I would be surprised if it would go that deep into a timber. But, you never know. This is a photo of what I was told is old growth chestnut. My Uncle made a bench out of it the black staining from nails in the wood. The lumber was reclaimed from a barn. No manure though. :)

NOTE:  This is not Chestnut. It has been identified as an oak (for those of you who don't read all of the thread)
 



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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2010, 10:21:11 AM »
Looks like red oak Dana, because those wood rays on the end would be almost impossible to see with a hand lens if it were American chestnut.
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2010, 10:58:56 AM »
Looks like old osage to me.

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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2010, 12:36:27 PM »
Dana,

What you have is definitely positively not chestnut because of the wide rays like SD points out.  It is an oak.
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2010, 06:32:54 PM »
We darn it, you guys have sure spoiled my heirloom and the story that went with it. :-\ On the plus side, at least now I know for sure what it is.
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2010, 07:37:24 PM »
Dave Shepard's first post.

When I opened this thread a little while ago, and saw that picture in post #1, I said to myself,  "Dang!, that's pine!".   It sure looks like a piece of resin impregnated SYP (fat lighter) to me.   That stuff is harder'n Chinese arithmetic.
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2010, 03:25:02 AM »
The grain isn't pine though Tom, if you look at the second picture. It's ring porous.
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Offline LeeB

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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #17 on: March 19, 2010, 07:32:19 AM »
Ash maybe?
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #18 on: March 19, 2010, 01:35:54 PM »
The grain isn't pine though Tom, if you look at the second picture. It's ring porous.

The end cut doesn't look to be very ring porous.  I'm assuming that the side cut is a very old and not a freshly cut piece.  How much of the old wood would slough off over the years and give the appearance of ring porous?  Just a thought.

My first impression of the side cut is chestnut.  But, the end cut doesn't look quite right.  I like Tom's direction with SYP, but point more to NYP.  Pitch pine could fit that bill, as it would be in the range of NY.  Some of that stuff was pretty heavy, and it didn't rot much.  Add the slow growth factor in there and you get some pretty dense stuff.
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2010, 05:05:28 PM »
The end cut is hard to tell for truths sake because it's too grainy to see detail. But the side shot is very porous in texture. I still don't think it's chestnut either, I will still say mast grade locust just to be different. ;)  :D

I guess as far as knowing how wood would behave after 150 years in a barn you'd have to have some experience dealing with it. Of course this assumes you know what your dealing with in the first place. ;) But, I have my doubts pine would have a porous texture over time without disintegrating. Something would have to break down. ;)

Chestnut I believe has really large early wood pores and invisible rays.
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2010, 07:08:31 PM »
The architect I'm working with is a good wood ID guy. He uses Hoadley's books as well as his own experience. The side shot is from a block that I split some off of. It is very locust like. There is some bark on one piece, and it looks a lot like elm. Wouldn't pitch pine smell like turpentine? This doesn't have any pine smell. It does have a smell, I can't place it. Pitch pine (pinus rigida) was used in New World Dutch Barns, in fact we drove through a stand of it last week on the Thruway on the way out to look at another Dutch barn. This barn was also mostly white pine, but had some oak and the long purlin braces were of the same wood that we are discussing here. I took some shots of the barn when they unloaded it on Wednesday. Here is a shot of one of those long braces. I'll be at work tomorrow, so I'll try to get some better bark shots.

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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #21 on: March 21, 2010, 08:25:36 PM »
I would say that the wood is HEMLOCK.

Especially going by the first photo.
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2010, 04:45:46 PM »
I was able to get a fair close-up of the wood in question. First is the uncropped photo. The piece is 1/2" thick and has 8 rings. That is the largest spacing on rings I could find. There are some bands in the wood that are just the holes, with no apparent individual rings. I'm guessing there was a pattern of suppression and release over the course of the trees life. Second shot is a crop of the first. I hope the image quality holds up. Hopefully this well shed some light on the situation. :)



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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #23 on: March 22, 2010, 05:39:53 PM »
Looks ash-like, fine rays and solitary late wood pores, tyloses in early wood pores. Kind of dark though, should be more grayish brown for white ash. Not very rot resistant. Was thinking sassafras, but the pore pattern is not right in the latewood. Ash is quite tough stuff in my experience.
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #24 on: March 22, 2010, 06:21:07 PM »


Slow growing white ash.
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #25 on: March 22, 2010, 06:36:04 PM »



Closeup view. ;D
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #26 on: March 22, 2010, 09:24:01 PM »
I think you may have it SD. I compared my photo to the Hoadley photos for white and black ash. Looks like white to me. Early on I had compared the tangential section to white ash, but wasn't sure. Now, I am more confident. I tried to look at a piece of white ash here, but couldn't see it as well as the photo. I may try to get another photo of some known white ash at work where I have my "laboratory" equipment, i.e. a sharp chisel and a tripod for my camera. :D
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #27 on: March 23, 2010, 01:03:38 AM »
Ash maybe?

Somebody already mentioned ash.  ::)
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #28 on: March 23, 2010, 04:15:12 AM »
Leeb, I'll give ya credit.  ;D But, the comparison photos help. ;)
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #29 on: March 23, 2010, 04:17:24 AM »
Dave, those rays are hard to see without a little moisture and a hand lens.
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #30 on: March 23, 2010, 10:13:49 AM »
Leeb, I'll give ya credit.  ;D But, the comparison photos help. ;)

That they do, I based my guess on the original photo though. It looks like red oak but it ain't, so to me that leaves poor man's oak, Ash.
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #31 on: March 23, 2010, 10:46:50 AM »
Was that a wild ash guess or a serious one? ;) :D
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #32 on: March 23, 2010, 08:03:07 PM »
I wouldn't call it wild, I did put a little thought into it and put forward what I thought was a good posibilty, but it weren't any where near serious.
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #33 on: March 24, 2010, 05:09:02 AM »
Well you did good, how ever you approached it.  ;)
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #34 on: March 24, 2010, 05:31:32 AM »


I don't know if you can see the luster on the strips in the bed of the sled, but it shines pretty good after planing.
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #35 on: March 24, 2010, 07:14:36 AM »
Those tyloses are curious. Ash? I dunno.

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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #36 on: March 27, 2010, 08:34:00 PM »
I am with Lee on the ash.  The color says chestnut, but the density and pore pattern says ash.  In ash, there are usually parenchyma cells that circle the latewood pores, and I think that I see that in the close up photo.
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #37 on: March 27, 2010, 10:45:09 PM »
that's a cool looking sled.  We don't use them around here, so I'm no judge as to whether it is built well or not, but It sure is pretty.  It looks like it would work too.  Do you wax the runners?  Do you paint the rest?

Is that one like the dogs pull?  What kind of load will it carry?  What would be the dollar value of one, if it were store-bought?
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #38 on: March 28, 2010, 12:30:36 AM »
WDH, is this any better? I should have soaked the sample before I sliced the end, I think it would have cut better.

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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #39 on: March 28, 2010, 12:35:36 AM »
I can't help it, I'm a redneck at heart. I wat to know if you can pull the sled with a four wheeler?  ;D
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #40 on: March 28, 2010, 12:38:00 AM »
I wonder if the beam where soaked with some kind of oil such as coal oil or deisel that turned it so dark? After this many years surely the voc's would be long since evaporated and not leave a scent as a clue.
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #41 on: March 28, 2010, 01:01:55 AM »
I would be surprised if they were Lee. We have two Dutch barns from two different counties in New York state, and they both have this wood in them. The black ash photo in Hoadley's book is darker than the white ash photo. I'm getting another lens for the camera I think this week. It may allow me to get close enough to see those parenchyma.
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #42 on: March 28, 2010, 01:05:57 AM »
I don't really know much about ash as I have never been around any. I'm just throwing out guesses and trying to get answers to better educate myself.
'98 LT40HDD/Lombardini, Case 580L, Cat D4C, JD 3032 tractor, JD 5410 tractor, Husky 346, 372 and 562XP's. Stihl MS180 and MS361, 1998 and 2006 3/4 Ton 5.9 Cummins 4x4's, 1989 Dodge D100 w/ 318, and a 1966 Chevy C60 w/ dump bed.

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #43 on: March 28, 2010, 06:00:55 AM »
It's ash alright, nothing else fits. But, black ash is light like American elm when dry. White ash is heavy and hard and lustrous, black is dull when worked, no luster. There are parenchyma joining some pores in the white ash and they don't usually do that in black. If you look close to my picture, some looked linked in a chain of pores in the late wood by the parenchyma. Dave's are more solitary, so I would say he has black ash there along with the brown heartwood. White ash would have light yellow streaks in the heartwood, not as dark as black ash.
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #44 on: March 28, 2010, 06:21:05 AM »
that's a cool looking sled.  We don't use them around here, so I'm no judge as to whether it is built well or not, but It sure is pretty.  It looks like it would work too.  Do you wax the runners?  Do you paint the rest?

Is that one like the dogs pull?  What kind of load will it carry?  What would be the dollar value of one, if it were store-bought?

Tom your a champion. :D

Building an Arctic Slow Sled for some winter fun.  ;D  It's not a dogsled, but dogs could well haul it as a team. You'll have to submerge yourself in the thread to answer some of your other questions. ;)
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #45 on: March 28, 2010, 09:24:49 PM »
I'm already up to my blub...blub....blub.......           :D
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Offline Dave Shepard

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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #46 on: April 10, 2010, 06:26:55 PM »
It's black ash. Confirmed by R. Bruce Hoadley. :)
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Re: Chunk of wood ID
« Reply #47 on: April 10, 2010, 06:45:24 PM »
Also, note that hardwood rays are made entirely of parenchyma cells except an aggregate ray (combination of closely spaced rays, fibers and vessels).
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