Wood ID & Finishing - Help Please!

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Forum topic by Seeharlez posted 12-16-2010 02:41 AM 1107 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Seeharlez's profile


83 posts in 3016 days

12-16-2010 02:41 AM

Hi All,
I bought an “assortment” of wood on craigslist and I’m not sure what type of wood this is. Can anyone help?

It is not very hard and not very dense. It planes super smooth, in fact it came out of the thicknesser like glass.
I tried oiling it and it went on a little blotchy. You can see this in the first picture with the knot hole in it.

In the 2nd and 3rd picture you can see how the color darkens in places. This is the natural appearance – no finish or shadows…maybe a bit of a shadow in the near the bottom of the board in the 3rd picture.

For reference, the board in the picture is about 6-7” wide.

Also if anyone has some suggestions on a simple finish for this type of wood that would be very helpful. I’m just using it to make some small boxes so the finish required is more for appearance then protection or durability.



-- Greg - Vancouver, BC

10 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3600 days

#1 posted 12-16-2010 02:46 AM

Looks like pine Greg. That’s a tough one to finish unless you use some blotch control on it first.
This should help.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View terrilynne's profile


836 posts in 2916 days

#2 posted 12-16-2010 02:52 AM

Does it smell like pine?

-- Terri, Rocky Mountain High Colorado!

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1288 posts in 3760 days

#3 posted 12-16-2010 02:56 AM

Might be yellow cedar.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3006 days

#4 posted 12-16-2010 03:18 AM

Might be pine, but it kinds looks like cedar. A smell check will give you a good clue. The cedar won’t be strong but will still have an oder to it. Either will need a wood conditioner.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View Seeharlez's profile


83 posts in 3016 days

#5 posted 12-16-2010 03:22 AM

It doesn’t smell like anything! The texture does remind me a bit of Cedar but I only really know red cedar. It definitely does not smell like pine though. What other senses can I use…sight, smell, touch…only taste and sound left…

Good Video Jim – thanks!

-- Greg - Vancouver, BC

View Seeharlez's profile


83 posts in 3016 days

#6 posted 12-16-2010 06:03 AM

Well no definitive answer yet but I did find a cool website that is workth checking out. You can search hundreds of species of wood by name, characteristic or other criteria and it has a lot of info on each.


-- Greg - Vancouver, BC

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2903 days

#7 posted 12-16-2010 06:50 AM

Cut into it. Is it hard or soft? try carving it with a knife or blade and see how easy it is to cut. That might help narrow it down a bit.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1288 posts in 3760 days

#8 posted 12-16-2010 07:15 AM

It is most likely Alaskan yellow cedar. It is normally very tight grain and silky smooth. You might call some local wood suppliers and see if they have some in stock.

It could also be a very light western red cedar.

I have both types of these cedars and you sample look like cedar.

It is hard to tell from just pictures.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View Seeharlez's profile


83 posts in 3016 days

#9 posted 12-16-2010 07:09 PM

Would a simple wax work without blotching?

-- Greg - Vancouver, BC

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2873 days

#10 posted 12-17-2010 06:09 AM

I think it’s hemlock. The color is right, the parallel grain is right, the blotching is typical, even that single dark line in the grain on the first left hand board. Yeah, I’m 99% hemlock. Here in Oregon the guys pounding nails call it ‘piss fir’ because it smells a little like urine when it’s cut green. Not repugnantly so, but vaguely.

I think you would minimize the blotching by using a surface coat—lacquer or wipe on poly. Try some of each on a piece and shoot us another image.

-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

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