Help needed to identify fence post wood

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Forum topic by George_SA posted 05-05-2012 08:01 PM 2348 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View George_SA's profile


370 posts in 2237 days

05-05-2012 08:01 PM

I had to take out a fence post recently to put in a new gate to the property. The post is quite heavy and I suspected some good wood in disguise. I cut of the top end of the post and this is what it looks like.

End view

Side view

Top view

The wood is quite hard and does not sand very easy. The saw marks can be seen on the photos and my first atemp at sanding it out was unsucsesfull (I must add that it was just a quick try)

Any help in identifying what type of wood it might be will be appreciated. I live in South Africa, but the wood might be imported. The fence posts are about 50 years old. Except for the natural grey weathered colour, it seems that the weather did not realy damage the wood. The top end has a few cracks which run down about 1 inch (25mm).

-- Sometimes life gets in the way of one's woodworking :)

10 replies so far

View AandCstyle's profile


3069 posts in 2280 days

#1 posted 05-06-2012 01:33 AM

If you lived in the northeastern US, I would suggest black locust based in their longevity and hardness. I have no idea what might have been used in SA however. Good Luck with your quest.

-- Art

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3092 days

#2 posted 05-06-2012 03:02 AM

I was thinking that it might be Douglas Fir – a very common wood in North America. When you said it was 50 years old, I began to doubt and when I saw where you are, I had no idea. – lol

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View Tomj's profile


204 posts in 2405 days

#3 posted 05-06-2012 05:18 AM

Black Locust, Osage Orange both used for fence posts as they are very resistant too decay and are both very hard woods. I have never seen a Black Locust that dark though but it maybe because it’s aged. I’m not sure on this one.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2591 days

#4 posted 05-07-2012 12:04 PM

I’m with the locust guys. Not sure what’s equivalent in SA.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2310 days

#5 posted 05-07-2012 02:59 PM

It could be old enough to be chestnut if your in the east around the mountains.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2538 days

#6 posted 05-07-2012 03:28 PM

I’m with Russell. I have some old chestnut on the plank from a barn, and it is almost this exact color.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View jaidee's profile


51 posts in 2802 days

#7 posted 05-07-2012 05:17 PM

Given that you are in South Africa I’d suggest seeking out someone in your area that builds fences or cabinets and the like. They would be more familiar with the local traditions and woods used for outdoor structures. I have family in Zimbabwe that used to own a commercial plantation (until they were recently “asked” to abandon it after 3 generations) and they often used trees cut while clearing the fields to make the fences. So it could be something indigenous that we don’t have here in the northern hemisphere.

-- I used to be all thumbs......'til I got a tablesaw!

View George_SA's profile


370 posts in 2237 days

#8 posted 05-09-2012 05:29 PM

Thanks for all the replies. I’m thinking off making a serving tray out of the post. I will post the pics when that is done. It may take some time though due to all the other things in my life begging a slice of it :-)

-- Sometimes life gets in the way of one's woodworking :)

View George_SA's profile


370 posts in 2237 days

#9 posted 02-04-2013 07:28 PM

The serving tray was finished today and it came out quite nice.

-- Sometimes life gets in the way of one's woodworking :)

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2699 days

#10 posted 02-05-2013 02:58 AM

Bois d’Arc

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