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Author Topic: what do I have here ??? (a lesson in identifying a hardwood.)**Solved-Hickory**  (Read 7398 times)

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Offline seacraft18

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any ideas what this wood is ?






Offline tyb525

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Re: what do I have here ???
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2010, 10:42:04 PM »
I'd call that a hickory. Possibly mockernut.

Can you cut with a sharp knife or use a block plane to get a nice smooth patch of end grain in the heartwood, and take a close up of it?
LT10G10, Stihl 038 Magnum, many woodworking tools. Currently a farm service applicator, trying to find time to saw!

Offline Banjo picker

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Re: what do I have here ???
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2010, 11:12:59 PM »
Welcome to the forum, but could you let us know within a couple hundred miles of where the wood came from.  :-\  Tim
Never explain, your friends don't need it, and your enemies won't believe you any way.

Offline fishpharmer

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Re: what do I have here ???
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2010, 11:21:56 PM »
Welcome to FF! 8)  Not sure about your tree, I don't think its sweetgum.
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: what do I have here ???
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2010, 06:16:53 AM »
Hickory, and could be mockernut like Tyb said.
Move'n on.

Offline WDH

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Re: what do I have here ???
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2010, 07:37:39 AM »
I am with the Hickory Guys.
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Offline seacraft18

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Re: what do I have here ???
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2010, 11:06:53 AM »
I'd call that a hickory. Possibly mockernut.

Can you cut with a sharp knife or use a block plane to get a nice smooth patch of end grain in the heartwood, and take a close up of it?


thanks guys...  I will take a picture of some smooth end grain and post.  I am located in Central Massachusetts.

btw, This is a great site, I have learned alot here.

Offline tyb525

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Re: what do I have here ???
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2010, 06:42:21 PM »
Welcome to the forum, by the way!!
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Offline seacraft18

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Re: what do I have here ???
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2010, 07:29:08 PM »
close up of end grain....









Offline tyb525

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Re: what do I have here ???
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2010, 07:36:21 PM »
Yes that's a hickory, however I'm still not exactly sure which variety, I'd still guess mockernut from the bark I can see.

What are you doing with this wood? Turning?
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Offline WDH

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Re: what do I have here ???
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2010, 09:29:49 PM »
Confirmation.  Most definitely hickory.
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Offline Jeff

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Re: what do I have here ???
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2010, 09:32:39 PM »
Confirmation.  Most definitely hickory.

Danny, can you describe what you see there that makes the hickory determination?  :)
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: what do I have here ???
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2010, 11:14:03 PM »
Sometimes it's a process of elimination, as some traits can cross over between species.

Can't see the rays by eye, can with 10x lens. Large pores in early wood in one row band. Pores gradually get smaller toward the end of the ring in late wood, and solitary. color, some species with dark streaks.

white ash, rays can be seen by eye, but not well. Earlywood pores in bands of 2 or 3, sometimes 4. Latewood pores are grouped in 2-3 and solitary as well. Heart with yellow streaks

Oaks have large visible rays, eliminates them.

Elms have pores in ribbon pattern, eliminates them.

Chestnut have several rows of early wood pores, can't see rays hardly with a lens even. Eliminates that.

And if you have the wood in your hands there are other qualities you can key out. ;D
Move'n on.

Offline WDH

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Re: what do I have here ???
« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2010, 07:32:05 AM »
Jeff,

Hickory is ring porous with the earlywood having large pores and the latewood having small pores.  Other species in the ring porous group are ash, the oaks, the elms, black locust, honeylocust, mulberry, osage orange, and sassafras.  That eliminates a whole bunch of species that are diffuse porous where the pore size is small and all of one size throughout the annual ring like cherry, maple, birch, yellow poplar, beech, sycamore, sweetgum, blackgum, the aspens, etc.

OK, so now we have a ring porous hardwood.  We know that it is not oak because the medullary rays are too small to see with the naked eye, it is not elm because in elm the latewood pores are arranged in wavy bands.  It is not osage or black locust because the pores are not totally occluded with tyloses like in those species and the color is wrong.   Also, black locust only ever has one or two rings of sapwood, not so in this case.  The color is wrong for mulberry and honeylocust and the rays in these species, while small, can be seen.  Color and grain is wrong for sassafras.  That leaves ash and hickory.  In ash, there are parenchyma cells that are visible with a hand lens that surround the latewood pores in chains.  Because these parenchyma cells are associated with the pores, it is called paratracheal.  Hickory also has this parenchyma, but it is not only associated with the pores, but is also present in the latewood as long bands that run parallel to the growth ring in the latewood.  This parenchyma is called apotracheal because it is not exclusively associated with the pores.

Look in the magnified pic.  The ring porous nature is obvious with the very large pores that initiate the annual growth ring followed by much smaller pores.  Although there, the medullary rays are too small to see.  Then, in the latewood, if you look close in the most magnified pic, you can see very small thin lines in the latewood that are parallel to the line of large pores that form the earlywood.  They are easiest to see in the two annual rings that are in the very center of the pic.  These faint lines run through the latewood and are not just associated with the pores.  This is apotracheal parenchyma. 

So,
1). ring porous
2). rays not obvious or visible
3). no distinct color except for brown heartwood with a cinnamon cast (characteristic of  the hickories and pecan)
4). apotracheal parenchyma in the latewood

The apotracheal parenchyma eliminated ash.  That leaves hickory.  The last clue is the overall color with the proper color in the heartwood.  Sometimes there will be darker brown almost black streaks or spots in hickory, but I do not see them here.  Then, finally, the bark has distinct interlocked ridges characteristic of hickory, particularly mockernut.

Also, like SD said, the pores in the latewood are sparse and solitary while they are more grouped in clusters in ash.  Another nod for hickory.  The fine detail in the pics is fabulous.  When most people take a picture and ask for wood ID, you cannot see all the detail like in this case, making it much more difficult to look at the distinguishing characteristics.  Seacraft, you did good!
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Offline metalspinner

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Re: what do I have here ??? (a lesson in identifying a hardwood.)
« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2010, 09:36:27 AM »
Quote
The ring porous nature is obvious with the very large pores that initiate the annual growth ring followed by much smaller pores.


The pores in those pics look effervecent to me.  Like a glass of Sprite.  Is hickory the only wood with this kind of look in the pores?
I do what the little voices in my wife's head tell me to do.

Offline Ron Scott

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Re: what do I have here ??? (a lesson in identifying a hardwood.)
« Reply #15 on: December 24, 2010, 10:21:56 AM »
Yes, to hickory. Good summary of characteristics by WDH and Swamp.
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Offline tyb525

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Re: what do I have here ??? (a lesson in identifying a hardwood.)
« Reply #16 on: December 24, 2010, 10:57:24 AM »
And if it looks like a tool handle...it's probably hickory ;)

A pat on the back to WDH and SD for a great lesson in wood ID 8). I can ID 'em, I just can't explain how near as well :)
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Offline seacraft18

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Re: what do I have here ??? (a lesson in identifying a hardwood.)
« Reply #17 on: December 24, 2010, 01:08:19 PM »
thanks WDH and SD for the lesson, I appreciate it.

TYB -  I have 5 logs - approx 900 bf I will be milling within a few weeks, I hope to use for furniture and flooring

btw... I was going thru my books yesterday, There is a book, Understanding Wood by
R. Bruce Hoadley, it's a great book that covers everything about wood.  There is a chapter on identifiying wood by looking at close ups of end grain.  WDH and SD 's  explanations are spot on.

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: what do I have here ??? (a lesson in identifying a hardwood.)
« Reply #18 on: December 24, 2010, 04:39:57 PM »
I consider this my "Wood Bible"  ;D



This is a section from the hardwood keys, based on gross features (see with the eye or 10 x lens).



Then at the end of each is a reference in the text to more details and pictures. :)
Move'n on.

Offline Dave Shepard

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Re: what do I have here ??? (a lesson in identifying a hardwood.)
« Reply #19 on: December 24, 2010, 07:55:13 PM »
I use Hoadley's books. I was able to ID some black ash in the barn frame I'm restoring, with confirmation from Hoadley himself.
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