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What kind of wood is this??? (if it is wood)

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Forum topic by SKlaus posted 728 days ago 872 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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SKlaus

36 posts in 1014 days


728 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hi all! I’m still pretty new to this site and woodworking in general, so forgive me if this question seems a little elementary…

I have a friend that has a toddler bed that he wants refinished. He brought it to me to see if it was refinishable. Upon inspection it seemed to be a mahogany type wood, the end grain looked right, and so did the side grain… Open grain, filled… Used the litmus test (or lacquer thinner test). To see what kind of finish it had… Whatever it is it does dissolve with lacquer thinner… It is noticeably a light weight wood… From our favorite country… China! (go figure…)

But as I sanded thru, it seemed to be some kind of balsam wood… It has no grain texture, but it doesn’t seem to be MDF or particle board… Wondered if you could help… Here are some pictures… Once again I apologize if my novice shows in this question… But I’m learning, and I know there are some sound, veteran woodworkers on here…

Thanks!!!

Sam

-- 2 Timothy 2:15 "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."


8 replies so far

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2163 posts in 1475 days


#1 posted 728 days ago

I think you’re right on. It’s something I have no name for, but have seen it called “white wood.” Helpful, right? It evidently grows fast, it’s light to ship, and in my experience it doesn’t last because it is under designed and is not very good at holding any kind of fastener.

I see chairs and tables made of the stuff and I usually can’t salvage them when they’re brought in for repair.

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in 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"

View SKlaus's profile

SKlaus

36 posts in 1014 days


#2 posted 728 days ago

That makes a lot of sense… Especially light to ship… And it really is not very sturdy… I used 100 grit paper and sanded thru beyond the finish in about 15 strokes by hand…. And the dust that comes off with the sand paper is not your normal powder dust… It’s almost gummy…. Anyone else with some info about Chinese “white wood”. ...lol!!

Thanks again for your reply!!!

-- 2 Timothy 2:15 "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15683 posts in 2843 days


#3 posted 728 days ago

The photos are a bit confusing. The first one looks like a veneer on MDF, but the other two clearly look like solid wood.

If the piece was made in China, from what I’ve read there are a number of native species used there for furniture that are just not familiar to western woodworkers.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View SKlaus's profile

SKlaus

36 posts in 1014 days


#4 posted 728 days ago

The first photo is where I sanded thru the finish…. On the bottom side of the crib…in an out of sight place… In case they wanted it back in usable shape… It does not appear to be veneer being that with simple lacquer thinner, the finish and stain came of with a couple of strokes…. I did a little more research and it seems “whitewood”. Is a broad term for poplars, pines and spruces… They apparently have different types over there than we are used to seeing here… And being it comes from china… We may not be familiar with it… I tend to agree with lee… It’s probably some very inexpensive, and light weight wood (shipping in containers across the pacific)... That’s just structually sound enough not to be sued for injury claims but is not sound enough for salvage or repair… If anyone else has more info, please feel free let me know… I’m learning, and any info I can get is a huge help…

Thanks for the posts!!!

-- 2 Timothy 2:15 "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

View Tomj's profile

Tomj

204 posts in 1006 days


#5 posted 728 days ago

The second picture is definitely a conifer, soft wood and the the third picture looks like Poplar stained but I’m not positive on that one because it’s stained.

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

1447 posts in 1139 days


#6 posted 728 days ago

Having worked in Shanghai for 16 months in the furniture industry, that is what we call “rubber wood”. It is a fast growing species somewhere in the mahogany family, and usually comes out of Southern China or almost anywhere in the Indonesian area. It is light, easy to work, and take a fair beating, hence the nickname, “rubber wood”. Used a lot for high usage furniture coming out of China, such as beds, upholstered furniture legs and wooden arms, etc.
Matter of fact, I live within 50 miles of both Catnapper and La-Z-Boy furniture plants, and I can guarantee you they are screwing on rubber wood legs and wooden arms as I speak, to their furniture.
The finish was probably simply a one coat tinted lacquer that goes on in a hurry.

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1092 posts in 1101 days


#7 posted 728 days ago

Mr. Tennessee is right on the money. Rubber wood is common on imported furniture. Plantation grown fast and cut young.

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

View SKlaus's profile

SKlaus

36 posts in 1014 days


#8 posted 727 days ago

Is it worth refinishing? And thanks so much, I’m learning a LOT here…

-- 2 Timothy 2:15 "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

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