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Forum topic by EPJartisan posted 10-19-2011 01:00 AM 1344 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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EPJartisan

1093 posts in 1880 days


10-19-2011 01:00 AM

I am at wits end on this one and I love researching and knowing my trees and woods, so I am truly stumped. I collect wood from used furniture pieces. The following wood was salvaged from a table given to me by an older asian couple. Like most of the wood I use, I use an old table saw blade to shave off the old finish, this one looked like it was a Red Oak. So, I was mindlessly processing the table into smaller boards when I noticed the scent was nothing like way Oak smells. A musty-sweet stench reminiscent of vomit or really old soda cans. Then I noticed the grain was nothing like Oak and the end grain was a mystery to me. I looked at it hard, compared it to my books, did an internet search of any tree species with irregular growth rings. Nothing but Hop-hornbeam and some tropical woods. sigh.

BUt this is not a tropical tree.. very open grain – almost Ash like, but hard and brittle like walnut. It is a blander color than oak and darker than Ash. Some parenchyma rays, and some inclusions of bark… any ideas??? Maybe some asian species?






-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."


25 replies so far

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Dan'um Style

13270 posts in 2738 days


#1 posted 10-19-2011 01:51 AM

Could be cottonwood with that smell, but there are probably 60 types of oak trees.

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

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Joe Weaver

415 posts in 2441 days


#2 posted 10-19-2011 02:30 AM

did you check out this site?

http://hobbithouseinc.com/personal/woodpics/

-- Joe, Ga

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ShaneA

5456 posts in 1353 days


#3 posted 10-19-2011 02:40 AM

My first guess would be ash.

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EPJartisan

1093 posts in 1880 days


#4 posted 10-19-2011 03:22 AM

Thanks so far. I work with Cottonwood, Black Locust and Honey Locust, so I was able to compare them. I have a great wood collection and Hobbit house is one of my favorite haunts… but no luck there. I am thinking this is not a domestic tree. if I only had one or two boards, I might think it was just an odd board… but I have a quite a bit of this stuff and it is all the same. I have been pondering these boards for almost a year now, every now and then I get the bug to find out what it is.

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

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Sawkerf

1730 posts in 1823 days


#5 posted 10-19-2011 03:42 AM

Looks like oak and if the furniture came from Asia, it very well could be. There are somrthing like 600 species of oak and most (if not all) of them grow in the northern hemisphere which would include much of Asia.

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

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WDHLT15

1215 posts in 1231 days


#6 posted 10-19-2011 03:51 AM

I think that it is American Chestnut. Chestnut is in the same family as oak except that it does not have the large visible medullary rays so distinctive of oak (the fleck in quartersawn oak). Chestnut is ring porous like oak and ash and has a coarse texture. The color is right, too. I see all of that in the pics.

If the table is old, then it might have been made when chestnut was available before the Blight decimated it. I took apart an old table with a veneered top. The substrate was pure, unadulterated, American Chestnut.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT15 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln. hamsleyhardwood.com

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gfadvm

11563 posts in 1445 days


#7 posted 10-19-2011 04:24 AM

I vote for red oak. I have sawed some oak flooring with a strong vomit odor and have seen those bark inclusions in oak flooring as well.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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fussy

980 posts in 1806 days


#8 posted 10-19-2011 09:10 AM

With the end grain, color, face grain, and STINK, I vote for Ailanthus (Ailanthus altissima) otherwise known as tree of heaven. It originated in China and was introduced here in the early 18th century. Grows like a weed but is not very popular. It is similar to ash, works well, but is unstable and reallky stinks. This came from www.woodfinder.com/woods/ailanthus/php. I had some a neighbor gave me from a blow-down. Started cutting it up to dry it, and had to quit. Hauled it and all the sawdust I could rake up to an old rock quarry nearby and burned it. Even so, the back yard smelled for a week.

Steve

-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

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Sodabowski

2083 posts in 1588 days


#9 posted 10-19-2011 10:22 AM

French oak looks and stinks like that. Chestnut too…

-- Holy scrap Barkman!

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SteveKorz

2131 posts in 2469 days


#10 posted 10-19-2011 12:11 PM

That looks like it may be red elm to me. It has a grain like an oak, and is similar in color. I have some in the shop.

http://www.thebestwood.com/Red_Elm_lgr_2.html

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

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Porchfish

583 posts in 1287 days


#11 posted 10-19-2011 01:08 PM

OK there is a lot of furniture from the 70’s and early 80’s sold in America under the name of “Ramin” wood. Now when you see a sample of Ramin today , it shows a light tan to light yellow wood when first cut, but with a little age it turns a golden tan. True Ramin resembles cross between American ash and chestnut. The confusing thing is that many S.E. Asian woods were passed off as Ramin. Although not a distinctly pretty wood it is stable and dries well. It was used by Broyhill furniture as moldings trim, and case work for many years because it was cheap, plentiful, and took a stain reasonably well. It was of course over-harvested in Indonesia to the point of threatening the species. I understand it became illegal to import the raw lumber in the late 90’s. Items made in S.E. Asia of Ramin are still allowed to be imported. Mini blinds can still be found at lowes that are made of Ramin and I am told that Walmart imports a shit load of crappy furniture items from China made of Ramin . I do not propose that this is the definitive answer for the question as to what you have , just a good possibility. good luck, and I know you will create something to be proud of from the mystery material.

your north florida friend don s.

-- If it smells good, eat it ! The pig caught under the fence is the one doing all thesquealing

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chrisstef

11490 posts in 1761 days


#12 posted 10-19-2011 02:30 PM

the only other thing i can think of is Kentucky Coffee wood. I have a few pieces of American Chestnut i could post to see if there are any simliarities.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1215 posts in 1231 days


#13 posted 10-19-2011 02:32 PM

It is definitely not oak. The medullary rays are not visible to the naked eye, and in oak, they would jump out at you. It is not elm as in elm, the latewood pores are in wavy bands. In these samples, the latewood pores are not arranged in wavy bands.

If it is chestnut, there will be evidence of occlusion of the pores with crystalline structures called tyloses. These are what plug up the pores in white oak making white oak suitable for wine and whiskey barrels (the wood will not “weep” moisture). The tyloses look like little grains of quartz or glass, that is, they are shiny. You will probably need a magnifying glass or hand lens to see them. If they are absent, it is not chestnut.

It might then be another ring porous hardwood like kentucky coffee tree, catalpa, or sassafras and they have a similar color. I do not know anything about ramin or the tropical woods, but it does not appear to be ramin from the pattern of the grain. It could be ailanthus, but that is not a common furniture wood at all.

Of all these possibilities, the only species that was a common commercial furniture wood is chestnut. Look for the tyloses!

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT15 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln. hamsleyhardwood.com

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EPJartisan

1093 posts in 1880 days


#14 posted 09-26-2012 04:20 PM

okay.. I walked past these boards again today.. and I have ruled out Chestnut the spacing of growth rings are way too far aport (1/2” – 5/8” wide) and no tyloses. Could it be an unusual red Oak species?

Not Ailanthus.. I have boards with pith centers and they are closed.. Ailanthus has a open pored pith and I have cut apart several pieces of Ailanthus, but no irregular growth ring patterns.. and no pictures of such on line or in my books, though the weight and the growth ring spacing matches. and I have now ruled out Kentucky Coffee Tree.. though I was surprised how close it could be with cell structure and all.. except for the weight and growth ring spacing… coffee trees rings are too close together.

The distinct parenchyma rays make me think Oak still… but I am having problem finding good information about asian species of Oak.. anyone got a good resource?

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1215 posts in 1231 days


#15 posted 09-27-2012 11:54 AM

It sure looks like chestnut. Chestnut is in the oak family, so it is a first cousin.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT15 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln. hamsleyhardwood.com

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