ID this wood...Hickory? Oak? Something else?

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Forum topic by BinghamtonEd posted 04-19-2016 03:24 PM 899 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2298 posts in 2367 days

04-19-2016 03:24 PM

So, I picked up this mystery wood from my usual guy, a retired older guy who mills what he has on his land, air dries it, as more of a hobby than anything. As such, he will mill what he finds down, and occasionally cut a tree or two down. He typically mills maple, ash, hemlock, hickory, and oak. Occasionally he will find some cherry. This stuff got pushed to the back of the barn, and air dried for at least 4 seasons, and it is of an unknown species. I picked up about 250 bd ft of it for $175. It was rough cut and just a hair above 4/4. Most of the boards are in the 7-10” wide range, and mostly clear.

(Disregard the one odd board in there 4th from the left, that is a 11” wide maple plank I needed for another task).

- This tree grew in upstate NY.
- Color before planing can be seen on some of the boards, it is a lighter yellow, similar to how white oak ro maple looks rough and air dried.
- Color afterwards is a nice light brown.
- Color somewhat resembles white oak, but this has more brown to it. It has some of the cathedral pattern, but not as distinct.
- Very white sapwood, as seen on the far end of the second board from the left.
- HEAVY. Even though this appears the same color as the maple prior to planing, I can tell without looking at the grain which of the two it is just by picking it up. Equal sized boards of this are substantially heavier than that of maple.
- BRITTLE. I made a face frame out of this stuff recently, and without predrilling, it’s almost guaranteed to crack if the screw is within within a couple inches of the end. With predrilling, no real problems.
- HARD. On the same face frame, I used a sharp awl to mark the location of some latch screws. I had to push pretty hard to make a usable imprint.
- I will try to get an end-grain shot tonight, and post it up tomorrow morning.

So, given that, what do you guys think it is? Whatever it is, it’s on its way to being my new kitchen cabinet frames/doors.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

9 replies so far

View knotscott's profile


8013 posts in 3373 days

#1 posted 04-19-2016 03:28 PM

I’ll take a guess on hickory. Is it dense?

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Underdog's profile


1095 posts in 2033 days

#2 posted 04-19-2016 03:30 PM

Being really heavy hard and brittle with the distinctive brown white color pattern? I’d say Hickory (or Pecan – which the lumber industry sells as Hickory anyway).

-- "woodworker with an asterisk"

View Aj2's profile


1389 posts in 1796 days

#3 posted 04-19-2016 03:40 PM

Looks like hickory to me and some very nice looking stuff.Thats what you want when makeing cabinet doors in hickory.Nice score

-- Aj

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2367 days

#4 posted 04-19-2016 03:58 PM

Scott, it is pretty dense.

From what I’ve seen, less prone to tearing out than maple. Around the knots, it’s a crapshoot, which is to be expected, but even in reversing grain, not as prone.

The plan is to probably use a sprayed aniline dye to darken it a bit, as well as to blend in any sapwood, then topcoat. The wife likes the darker brown cabinets, the wood selection is based purely on economics (I told her I can make pretty much anything a dark brown). Simple shaker-style frame/panel doors with a flat 1/2” thick panel rabbeted on the back, and small (1/2”-3/4”) reveal on the overlay doors. Or, at least that’s what my wife wants (this week).

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View Notw's profile


642 posts in 1751 days

#5 posted 04-19-2016 04:22 PM

What does it smell like when you cut it? All the white oak i’ve used smells like pickles when i cut it

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2367 days

#6 posted 04-19-2016 04:49 PM

Honestly, kinda smells like crap. Not like full-blown manure, but it has a very faint unpleasant stank to it. Not enough that it bothers me, just noticeable.

I’ve never gotten pickle smell from white oak, its always been earthy.

Edit : I should add, it smelled that way when I cut it on the TS. I just got a 3HP DC, and I didn’t really notice the unpleasant smell when planing it (I planed about 60 bd ft).

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View Tony_S's profile


867 posts in 3081 days

#7 posted 04-19-2016 11:37 PM

Looks like Hickory.

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

View daddywoofdawg's profile


1028 posts in 1573 days

#8 posted 04-20-2016 12:20 AM

Send me a few of the boards,and I can give you a guess.

View WDHLT15's profile


1743 posts in 2474 days

#9 posted 04-20-2016 11:45 AM

I am thinking hickory too. Post a very close-up pic of the end grain and I will be able to tell you for sure.

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

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