Wood identification - reclaimed lumber

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Forum topic by BPS238 posted 02-23-2012 08:20 AM 2027 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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25 posts in 1704 days

02-23-2012 08:20 AM

Topic tags/keywords: reclaimed lumber wood identification lumber joist question

Hello all…first time poster and amateur woodworker here. I picked up 4 of these boards the other day 8/4×10” x 12’. They were floor joists from home built in 1900. Can anyone help me confirm that these are oak boards? The figuring threw me off but need to be sure. Thanks!





18 replies so far

View Tomj's profile


204 posts in 1801 days

#1 posted 02-23-2012 09:26 AM

I would definitely say Oak, Red Oak because the rays are so pronounced. There are a bunch of different kinds of Oak though. That’s my two cents.

View Tomj's profile


204 posts in 1801 days

#2 posted 02-23-2012 09:28 AM

Oh and I’m new here myself but welcome to Lumberjocks.

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 1906 days

#3 posted 02-23-2012 10:21 AM

red oak

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View millzit's profile


111 posts in 1721 days

#4 posted 02-23-2012 12:49 PM

looks like american chestnut to me. check out the case i made from chestnut….

location has a lot to do with it also. chestnut grew in the Appalachian mtns so if the wood came from out west, i doubt it is chestnut….....

-- cut that out!

View joey bealis's profile

joey bealis

177 posts in 1926 days

#5 posted 02-23-2012 01:00 PM

I would also have to say oak. The big question now is what variety.


View Don W's profile

Don W

17872 posts in 1987 days

#6 posted 02-23-2012 01:05 PM

I’d say oak. chestnut has a different grain structure. Its more open. (you can see it in milzits display case) Nice dispay case by the way.

You also said you picked up 8/4×10. I assume you already resawed it?

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View Tony_S's profile


597 posts in 2502 days

#7 posted 02-23-2012 01:06 PM

Quarter cut White Oak, no question here. Worked with it for years. As a matter of fact….just finished milling 1100 board feet yesterday.

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

View BPS238's profile


25 posts in 1704 days

#8 posted 02-23-2012 01:21 PM

Thanks for the info everyone.

Don W: I still have the whole boards…I just cut off a tapered end piece and ran it through the thickness planer.

View Don W's profile

Don W

17872 posts in 1987 days

#9 posted 02-23-2012 01:36 PM

There may be a few pictures where you can see a very similar grain on this project its all red oak.

I like oak and use it a lot. You should be able to make a great project with it.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View BPS238's profile


25 posts in 1704 days

#10 posted 02-23-2012 03:16 PM

Nice project Don and beautiful Disston. I’m going to pick up 4 more boards tonight and start brainstorming on what to build…hopefully turn my first profit on a woodworking project.

View hhhopks's profile


645 posts in 1796 days

#11 posted 02-23-2012 03:32 PM

OAK for sure.
Probably white oak.
I don’t think it is red.
White seems to be heavier and denser than Red. All the “Red” at the lumber store has a more reddish, pink, tint to it.

It looks identical to my workbench’s leg that I am building. I got mine from heavy construction site to keep heavy equipment (in terms on xx tons) off the ground.

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

View Don W's profile

Don W

17872 posts in 1987 days

#12 posted 02-23-2012 03:45 PM

I’ll argue it’s oak, but the difference between white and red can be pretty subtle and I have a hard time telling the difference by photo. I’d agree the grain leans toward white but the color doesn’t have the grayish tint I usually see in white. That could very well be the picture though.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

1080 posts in 3226 days

#13 posted 02-23-2012 04:30 PM

Qtr sawn white oak

-- Max the "night janitor" at

View dhazelton's profile


2284 posts in 1716 days

#14 posted 02-23-2012 04:42 PM

I don’t know if you like Arts & Crafts or Mission/Stickley style furniture, but I would reserve that wood for that sort of thing myself. That wood is even from the right time period of when that furniture was being made. Good luck!

View chrisstef's profile


15459 posts in 2425 days

#15 posted 02-23-2012 07:53 PM

id say .. like other … quarter sawn white oak. If you can see little holes in the end grain id lean towards red oak if not white oak. I just had the guys at work save me some roof joists off an early 1900’s building we were doing some demo on … i hope that it looks half as good as the stuff you got.

ohh and welcome to the gang!

-- "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

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