How to ID rough lumber

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Forum topic by Willowlane posted 10-18-2015 12:32 AM 735 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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14 posts in 1238 days

10-18-2015 12:32 AM

Topic tags/keywords: wood rough identify

In the past I just told the lumber mill what I wanted and they sold it to me. Since I mainly make small projects, I found a supply of short boards from a large kiln drying center. I picked up a pallet of the wood this weekend. It is all short (2’ to 6’) 4/4 &6/4 rough boards. The boards are a mixture of all different kinds of wood. Mainly oak. I now have around 800 BF of mixed boards. I know red oak and poplar, but how do I identify the white oak, ash, hard maple, soft maple, and cherry? I don’t want to have to plane them all to see what they are. Are there any websites or books that help identify rough lumber? Thanks for any advice you can provide.

5 replies so far

View Tim's profile


3805 posts in 1958 days

#1 posted 10-18-2015 12:57 AM

First google results for identifying wood gives 2 resources I’ve heard of and one I hadn’t. The last uses pictures from Hoadley’s book and it’s free to download:

View Willowlane's profile


14 posts in 1238 days

#2 posted 10-18-2015 01:10 AM

Thank you. I will check those out.

View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 1227 days

#3 posted 10-18-2015 01:35 AM

A wood sniffing dog.

Honestly, rough cut collects dust so well that it can get hard to id. I would broom it off if it does have dust and skim it. That’s the best you can do in my opinion.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View tomsteve's profile


783 posts in 1216 days

#4 posted 10-18-2015 01:20 PM

hand held belt sander makes quick work on one small spot.

View RogerM's profile


792 posts in 2396 days

#5 posted 10-18-2015 02:19 PM

For oak, slice a piece off of the end. You can blow through the end grain of red oak but not white oak.

For maple, a thumb nail can make an impression in soft maple but not hard maple.

Do the belt sander as noted above for cherry. Cherry is a closed grain wood with a light reddish hue to it and usually has a distinctive odor to it when sanded.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

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