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Tips on wood identification #1: need advise on what to do with this lumber

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Blog entry by Cephas posted 12-22-2007 04:04 AM 816 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Tips on wood identification series Part 2: I can't believe this wood! »

First, I would like to thank all members of Lumberjocks for the website, their participation, and the opportunity for a novice like my self to ask dumb questions and hopefully learn. If I may pick your brains…....
1.) Great-grandfather & grandfather owned-operated small lumber milll in Mississippi from appox. 19??-1930’s.
2.)Dont know the whole story but supposedly they cut a huge WALNUT tree they they sent through the mill
...”rough hewn”? And then they put it in their person “stash”. It was divided up between my father and his brothers in 1955 upon death of his father, my grandfather. it wasnt until the 1970s when as a teenager I even knew the wood exsited. my father was partime-amatuer wood worker with very simple shop.
3.) I have appox 4 slabs 8’-10’ long up to 20” wide, several 2×4s, 1×4s, & 4×4s…some with bark still on them.
4. My shop consists of small table saw, circular saw, drill, etc,. no planers, joiner or fine woodworking tools.
5. I am not certain that this wood is Walnut; I need tips on identification.
6. Dont have the money to invest in required planers etc to processs wood.
7. Have found woodworking community amateur & professional here so far LESS than helpful or forthright.
8. I wish I were talented enough to make a some family heirloom; dont want to mess the wood up, but time is running out on this wood. It is elevated/seperated plenty of air. I want to first identify the wood and then approach someone to plane it for me. Any suggestions?

-- "Do what you can, where you're at, with what you've got." Theodore Roosevelt



9 comments so far

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4012 posts in 3529 days


#1 posted 12-22-2007 04:34 AM

Cephas, first, is it possible to see some relatively sharp pictures of the wood? Also if there was a shot of the live edged lumber that shows the bark, that would help nail down the type of wood it is. Depending on where you are located, surely someone here would be of help in pointing you in a right direction.

I depending on how rough the hewn surface is, and the degree to which you envision it’s final surface planed smooth, you might not be far off of where you want to be with this legacy. You might look at some of the work of George Nakashima for some interesting design ideas involving lumber of the sort you describe.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View Cephas's profile

Cephas

9 posts in 3274 days


#2 posted 12-22-2007 04:49 AM

Douglas, Ive been waiting for this cloudy overcast weather here in Memphis to clear up for days just for that purpose, unfortunately the same is forecast for the next few weeks but I know how hard it would be for someone to “imagine” what this lumber classification. Will upload some pics ASAP. Also, I was told once this was black walnut, but I dont know …. have had some experience with antiques and am debating sanding and applying some tung oil/bees wax to a small area.

-- "Do what you can, where you're at, with what you've got." Theodore Roosevelt

View Joey's profile

Joey

276 posts in 3280 days


#3 posted 12-22-2007 08:05 AM

I sent you an email before I noticed you are from Memphis. I used to get up that way with my job, but haven’t in a while. There is a lumber supply place just north of midtown called Colco, 2631 jackson ave. their website is colcofinewoods.com. There used to be a guy in there that was very helpful, not sure if he is still there though. Hope everything works out for you.
I work with walnut alot, if I could see a picture of it, i could probably tell you if that is what it is.

-- Joey, Magee, Ms http://woodnwaresms.com

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4012 posts in 3529 days


#4 posted 12-22-2007 08:43 AM

If it’s truly air dried Black Walnut, you’ve got a fine thing there. That old and that wide a plank should be a real gem, not the nasty gray kiln dried and steamed stuff one encounters at the Big Box stores. The heartwood should be a deep chocolate brown with streaks of reddish, purplish overtones. The sapwood will be much lighter, even whitish. Can’t wait to see it.

If the wood hasn’t gotten punky or infested it should be glorious stuff. Some of the best walnut I ever had was given to me by an old fella whose Dad had felled trees on the farm, planked them out and put them in a hayloft for 50-60 years. When smoothed out and hit with a finish it could vie with any exotic for just plain pretty wood.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View Zuki's profile

Zuki

1404 posts in 3542 days


#5 posted 12-22-2007 05:21 PM

Neat story. Cant help though :-/

-- BLOG - http://www.colorfulcanary.com/search/label/Zuki

View Cephas's profile

Cephas

9 posts in 3274 days


#6 posted 12-23-2007 05:45 AM

Thanks for all the kind “welcomes” and suggestions. Joey, (jcash3) thanks for the offer, I may take you up on it, and I bet the tree you were cut from no longer exsits. Douglas, thanks for reminding me through an accomplished artist, that there is a deeper relationship between man and creation. It may help solve my confusion: maybe its not “me and the wood”, but “me the wood”. Dont get me started….. Thanks again to all. Cephas

-- "Do what you can, where you're at, with what you've got." Theodore Roosevelt

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4445 posts in 3427 days


#7 posted 12-23-2007 03:02 PM

Best tip off on Walnut is the smell. It is very distict.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Cephas's profile

Cephas

9 posts in 3274 days


#8 posted 12-31-2007 02:08 AM

Thanks to All ! A fine gentleman at Colco Fine Woodworks/Lumber with over 40 yrs. experience confirmed my lumber was Walnut.

-- "Do what you can, where you're at, with what you've got." Theodore Roosevelt

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4012 posts in 3529 days


#9 posted 12-31-2007 02:36 AM

We look forward to seeing that big slab take on a new life through the creative process. Have fun, be safe and post it when you get done.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

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