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How To Identify Wood

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Forum topic by wmgworks posted 01-12-2016 05:54 PM 465 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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wmgworks

193 posts in 445 days


01-12-2016 05:54 PM

As a newbie, I’m a big fan of reusing wood I find. Pallets, old furniture. I’ve even seen some guys get wood from box springs and love seats to make small things or shop jigs. In the videos the guy will say “oh look. I found some poplar” or “oh look, I found some white oak”. But, from what I can see it all looks like the fir dimensional lumber I buy from the big box store to my beginner eyes. Are there any good resources online to help me figure out what wood I am reclaiming? I know I will start to recognize it over time, but for now, it all looks the same :D

-- Butchering wood since 2015


9 replies so far

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Reaperwoodworks

94 posts in 394 days


#1 posted 01-12-2016 05:57 PM

http://www.wood-database.com/

Another great way is to just head down to your local wood supply store. Do a google search in your area for wood suppliers, you’ll likely find a couple different ones. Go down and just look around. If you find something that is really puzzling, take it with you. Let them look at it. Ask to meet the manager, he will likely have the most knowledge (not always) but also be more than willing to spend sometime helping you out. Get hands on! I love how you are diving into this.

-- Website: www.reaperwoodworks.com, Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_ognomZyK6V0VwdokBcixw

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wmgworks

193 posts in 445 days


#2 posted 01-12-2016 06:15 PM

There are some logistical challenges that make it rough for me to hop in the car and go to a wood supply store at the drop of a hat. Or even a big box store. Which is another reason I’m a big fan of reusing wood I find around me. I need to be able to figure it out “from the comfort of my own shop” so to speak :)

Thanks for the resource. I’ll take some of the stuff I’ve acquired and try to match it in the database

-- Butchering wood since 2015

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wmgworks

193 posts in 445 days


#3 posted 01-12-2016 09:41 PM


I love how you are diving into this.

- Reaperwoodworks

Not to throw this thread off on a tangent, but to say I’ve been bitten by the bug is an understatement. I get really excited about stuff pretty easily. I can’t tell you how many web sites, blogs, and development projects I’ve started and let fall by the wayside because something like life happened. I’m usually obsessed with something for about 3-4 weeks. With this… it’s been since AUGUST! Every moment I’m not working or with my family I’m thinking about my shop, or building something or woodworking in general. I’ve turned Youtube into my On demand woodworking addict broadcasting system. Over 20 channels subscribed to. When I can’t be in the shop, and I’m not working or doing the family thing I’m reading or watching YouTube. I’m completely, hopelessly addicted to being in my shop and building things. Watch an instructional video, go to the shop, makes lots of mistakes, discover I need to learn more, go back and watch new videos. Correct the mistakes. Rinse. Repeat.

I think the main reason I’m so into this particular hobby is that all of the other stuff was mostly for my own pleasure, excitement and interests. Not many others would have benefited from my projects. But, not only is working in the shop with my hands good for MY soul, the people around me will have a direct benefit as well because I’m making them stuff. It’s totally different

-- Butchering wood since 2015

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WDHLT15

1571 posts in 1936 days


#4 posted 01-12-2016 09:49 PM

ID’ing wood is all about understanding the pore structure.

“There is no instant pudding”. You will have to invest in some study time.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln. hamsleyhardwood.com

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wmgworks

193 posts in 445 days


#5 posted 01-12-2016 09:54 PM



ID ing wood is all about understanding the pore structure.

“There is no instant pudding”. You will have to invest in some study time.

- WDHLT15

Yeah I’m prepared for that. I know I’m not going to be able to identify stuff just by seeing it once and it will come over time. Knowing someone near me who does woodworking would be the best. But I don’t know anyone who does and so I have to go it on my own for the most part. I was asking the question in hopes people could point me to some good online resources that may help.

-- Butchering wood since 2015

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Rick M

7905 posts in 1840 days


#6 posted 01-12-2016 11:19 PM

You can’t learn in a vacuum. Online resources are well and good but you’ll never be good at recognizing wood until you actually work with it or at least been around it some. Read some of the, “what wood is this?” threads and you’ll be amazed at how many people are waaaay off the mark. I’ve seen people confuse zebrawood and macassar ebony, because in internet pictures there is a vague resemblance but in real life they are obviously different. But I’ve also seen people confuse pine for maple, which is really obvious. Walnut sapwood for poplar. And lots of people fail to recognize mahogany which is one of the most distinctive woods, and I don’t mean they thought it was sapele, but I’ve seen it called ash, sycamore, and other off the wall guesses. So spend as much time around different woods as you can and you’ll recognize them in no time. One other thought, pallet wood can come from all around the world so you can get oddball things that are difficult to ID.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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wmgworks

193 posts in 445 days


#7 posted 01-12-2016 11:26 PM



You can t learn in a vacuum. Online resources are well and good but you ll never be good at recognizing wood until you actually work with it or at least been around it some. Read some of the, “what wood is this?” threads and you ll be amazed at how many people are waaaay off the mark. I ve seen people confuse zebrawood and macassar ebony, because in internet pictures there is a vague resemblance but in real life they are obviously different. But I ve also seen people confuse pine for maple, which is really obvious. Walnut sapwood for poplar. And lots of people fail to recognize mahogany which is one of the most distinctive woods, and I don t mean they thought it was sapele, but I ve seen it called ash, sycamore, and other off the wall guesses. So spend as much time around different woods as you can and you ll recognize them in no time. One other thought, pallet wood can come from all around the world so you can get oddball things that are difficult to ID.

- Rick M.

Thanks for your thoughts, Rick. Learning in a vacuum is tough for sure. It is what it is and I have to work my way around it. Ideally it ould be like Reaperwoodworks said and I could get chummy with a wood store manager and just keep asking him when I find something. Even better would be a neighbor.

At this point, I’m just wanting to learn to identify the common stuff – pine, fir, oak, etc. You’re right on the pallets, though. which is what spawned this question in the first place, actually. I acquired a pallet with wood of varying lighter shades and one that’s really dark. So, I’m trying to figure out what I’ve got.

-- Butchering wood since 2015

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conifur

955 posts in 611 days


#8 posted 01-12-2016 11:41 PM

Dont know where you live but do a search for local wood working clubs/organizations.

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

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wmgworks

193 posts in 445 days


#9 posted 01-12-2016 11:54 PM



Dont know where you live but do a search for local wood working clubs/organizations.

- conifur

I’m in Los Angeles area. Northwest part of the San Fernando Valley if that means anything to anyone. I’ve done some searching and there aren’t a lot of woodworking clubs around here. If anyone knows of anything in that area I’d love to hear it

One of my challenges is I don’t drive. I take the bus or walk most places. I don’t like to trouble my wife with being my taxi except for necessities. If I need lumber I have a neighbor with a truck who likes to go to home center stores as much as I do, so that’s how I get wood when I need it. This is also why I jump on the opportunity to reuse wood I find in pallets or items tossed out.

-- Butchering wood since 2015

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