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How Does One Tell If Selected Redwood Is Old Growth Or Not?

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Forum topic by RyanRipCut posted 11-25-2015 05:40 PM 1294 views 1 time favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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RyanRipCut

4 posts in 379 days


11-25-2015 05:40 PM

Topic tags/keywords: redwood red wood lumber wood grade old growth all heart question finishing

I have been working with redwood for a few months now and feel as though I have a decent grasp on it’s qualities and workability, given: grade, condition, moisture content, cosmetic appearance, knot structure, etc. I know the difference, and can visually discern between, construction grade/professional grade and further along the scale so far as to identify level of “clearness” and content of heartwood. So… here’s my question… can you whether a piece of Redwood lumber is old or new growth based on the ring content/spacing? I just found some redwood 4×4 at a national store that shall not be named, and…. each end is showing at least 200-250 rings… extremely tight… and when I sanded and finished it I was FLOORED. It is GORGEOUS…. much better than others I’ve finished.

Can someone advise on the old growth characteristics?

-- Ryan-Paul


10 replies so far

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TheGreatJon

296 posts in 699 days


#1 posted 11-25-2015 05:48 PM

I have no idea, but this is a free bump because I’m also interested in the answer.

Also, is redwood sold only around N California? I don’t remember seeing any around my area.

-- This is not the signature line you are looking for.

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bondogaposis

4035 posts in 1817 days


#2 posted 11-25-2015 06:45 PM

That is old growth, second growth has much wider rings.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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Cindy Braunheim

48 posts in 2081 days


#3 posted 11-25-2015 07:08 PM

Go back and get the rest of that lot!!!

-- Cindy in Seattle, http://visionationwoodworking.com

View jerryminer's profile

jerryminer

528 posts in 907 days


#4 posted 11-25-2015 07:43 PM

I live in CA and have been working with redwood for 40 years or so. Growth ring spacing is the way one judges whether the wood is “old growth” or “new growth.”

The terms are not technical, and while there is often a dramatic difference between the two, there is no distinct dividing line. Some lumber falls into a “grey area” and is not easily identifiable as either “old growth” or “new growth.” Generally, “old growth” refers to wood from trees that grew in ancient forests—forests that existed before people started harvesting the lumber. (“Old” redwood trees can be thousands of years old).

“Second growth” or “new growth” refers to wood from trees that grew in areas that had already been logged previously, or from “managed forests” in which the growth rate of the trees was accelerated as a result of being in a more open area. This wood is much more common today, as the “old growth” forests have been largely decimated and what is left is protected, somewhat.

It’s always nice to run across a piece of old growth redwood: tight grain, darker color, greater decay resistance. I think you found a nice piece there. Hope you enjoy working with it.

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kurtsr

6 posts in 649 days


#5 posted 11-25-2015 07:45 PM

Old growth Got a bunch myself from an old water tower The new growth has rings much farther apart same as construction lumber

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RyanRipCut

4 posts in 379 days


#6 posted 11-25-2015 09:32 PM

Excellent insight! Everyone on this thread has really gotten me MORE excited about this “lot”. I went back to Home Depot last night and sifted through about 200 4×4 and found two more! Each is 8’ long. So pumped to process these and enjoy!


I live in CA and have been working with redwood for 40 years or so. Growth ring spacing is the way one judges whether the wood is “old growth” or “new growth.”

The terms are not technical, and while there is often a dramatic difference between the two, there is no distinct dividing line. Some lumber falls into a “grey area” and is not easily identifiable as either “old growth” or “new growth.” Generally, “old growth” refers to wood from trees that grew in ancient forests—forests that existed before people started harvesting the lumber. (“Old” redwood trees can be thousands of years old).

“Second growth” or “new growth” refers to wood from trees that grew in areas that had already been logged previously, or from “managed forests” in which the growth rate of the trees was accelerated as a result of being in a more open area. This wood is much more common today, as the “old growth” forests have been largely decimated and what is left is protected, somewhat.

It s always nice to run across a piece of old growth redwood: tight grain, darker color, greater decay resistance. I think you found a nice piece there. Hope you enjoy working with it.

- jerryminer


-- Ryan-Paul

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RyanRipCut

4 posts in 379 days


#7 posted 11-25-2015 09:33 PM

Good call, Cindy! I did!!


Go back and get the rest of that lot!!!

- Cindy Braunheim


-- Ryan-Paul

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tomsteve

394 posts in 685 days


#8 posted 11-25-2015 11:44 PM

you found those at home depot???

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RyanRipCut

4 posts in 379 days


#9 posted 11-26-2015 12:23 AM

I did! I used my iPhone flashlight to check all the ends of each 4×4. I had to discern whether or not I was looking at the bands created from the saw blade or the actual rings on the trail… What really proved to be the best method of differentiationbetween the old growth and new bro, was the coloring… The old-growth has sapwood that is golden and it has heart wood that is darker and deeper it is also heavier, in general… Now that I know what to look for I will always be on the lookout because this is the most amazing would I have ever worked with. Literally it feels different… it’s just betterhard to explain, but most of you have probably worked with old-growth and know what I’m talking about. Amazing.


you found those at home depot???

- tomsteve


-- Ryan-Paul

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tomsteve

394 posts in 685 days


#10 posted 11-26-2015 10:58 AM

im glad ya got it, but beings how ya got it at hd, i think this falls into the grey area jerryminer refers to.

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