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Can someone help me identify this wood species?

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Forum topic by McLeanVA posted 10-10-2009 08:49 PM 3098 views 0 times favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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McLeanVA

465 posts in 2157 days


10-10-2009 08:49 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question mahogany cherry walnut

Hello fellow LJs. I ran into a question about a wood species I uncovered.

Today I was refinishing what I thought was an antique walnut side table from my living room. The top was falling apart and all of the old joints were loosening. I even purchased some great looking curly walnut from our buddy poroskywood to make a new top. Well, I took the rubber mallet to the old joints and slowly tapped it apart so that I could sand off the years of scratches and dings of the individual parts. This piece had a very dark finish on it (see the first photo on the leg portion), so I assumed it was walnut. Silly me.

Once I started sanding, I was thinking “UH OH… this isn’t walnut.” After it was sanded it had the color of a well-seasoned cherry, but the open pores of walnut.

Is this mahogany?


One of the leg sections before and after sanding.


After sanding with 80 grit.


A close-up to show the pores.


Mystery piece sitting between a piece of cherry and walnut.

Hope these pictures show enough. I’d love to know what species it is so that I can shop around to find material to make a new top.

-- Measure, cut, curse, repeat.


29 replies so far

View Sawdust2's profile

Sawdust2

1467 posts in 2811 days


#1 posted 10-10-2009 09:15 PM

Looks like mahogany to me.

Lee

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View jeffreythree's profile

jeffreythree

38 posts in 1899 days


#2 posted 10-10-2009 09:24 PM

Yep, sure looks like mahogany.

-- My Etsy store: http://jtcwoodcrafts.etsy.com

View miles125's profile

miles125

2179 posts in 2729 days


#3 posted 10-10-2009 09:27 PM

The cathedral looking big grain in the leg of the 2nd pic suggest to me it could be spanish cedar. Mahogany doesn’t generally have that.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View McLeanVA's profile

McLeanVA

465 posts in 2157 days


#4 posted 10-10-2009 09:29 PM

Miles, sorry what is cathedral grain? Those two light colored streaks?

-- Measure, cut, curse, repeat.

View Julian's profile

Julian

880 posts in 2249 days


#5 posted 10-10-2009 09:34 PM

Looks like mahogany to me. Mahogany can have mild cathedral patterns when it’s flatsawn.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View degoose's profile

degoose

7049 posts in 2078 days


#6 posted 10-10-2009 09:36 PM

Cathedral Grain is the high arched grain pattern that looks like the top of a cathedral.,.. what is seen in the 2nd pick is the side of one.. the grain pattern is also know as flame here in OZ
I think if it is light.,.. ie not heavy Miles might have it… spanish cedar.. but it sure looks like mahogany..
Possible Fijian

-- Drink twice... and don't bother to cut... @ lazylarrywoodworks.com.au For lovers of all things timber...

View miles125's profile

miles125

2179 posts in 2729 days


#7 posted 10-10-2009 09:36 PM

mclaean…yea. and if you ever smelled spanish cedar you couldn’t mistake it.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View interpim's profile

interpim

1133 posts in 2182 days


#8 posted 10-10-2009 09:49 PM

That honestly looks similar to rubberwood to me.

-- San Diego, CA

View lew's profile

lew

10129 posts in 2479 days


#9 posted 10-10-2009 09:55 PM

If it is Spanish Cedar, it should have that distinctive smell of a cigar humidor.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View McLeanVA's profile

McLeanVA

465 posts in 2157 days


#10 posted 10-10-2009 10:07 PM

OK, I may have to rule out Spanish Cedar because this stock is fairly odorless. I’ve smelled cigar boxes before and I’ll never forget that smell.

interpim – I never thought of rubberwood. Your photo looks pretty close, however the wood I have is pretty orange in color. Maybe.

Thanks guys. I knew I could get some advice within the first few hours of posting this.

-- Measure, cut, curse, repeat.

View miles125's profile

miles125

2179 posts in 2729 days


#11 posted 10-10-2009 10:10 PM

Heres Spanish Cedar. Note some boards are dead ringer for mahogany. Some not.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View pommy's profile

pommy

1697 posts in 2414 days


#12 posted 10-10-2009 10:12 PM

that looks like utily to me…....

-- cut it saw it scrap it SKPE: ANDREW.CARTER69

View bfd's profile

bfd

502 posts in 2530 days


#13 posted 10-10-2009 10:54 PM

That is definitely mahogany. You have to take into account that you said you are restoring an antique. Mahogany and Walnut are extremely popular wood for antique furniture. Spanish cedar although very similar to mahogany most like wouldn’t be used for an interior piece as it usually is reserved for exterior doors and of course humidors. Utily and rubberwood weren’t commonly used in the time period this piece was built…just taking a guess.

View AaronK's profile

AaronK

1398 posts in 2188 days


#14 posted 10-10-2009 11:36 PM

another vote for mahogany.

“well-seasoned cherry, but the open pores of walnut” is exactly what i think of and clued me in before the first pic.

View knapster's profile

knapster

39 posts in 2198 days


#15 posted 10-10-2009 11:44 PM

i agree for mahogany…. we had some panels (of what use they were i don’t recall) leaning around my parent’s house… they were mahogany and they looked exactly like what you have there…
Rubberwood (i have a rubberwood floor in my room) is much lighter)

-- jk

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