maple and oak or hickory? - wood id

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Forum topic by JoeRPhilly posted 10-04-2012 01:13 PM 1564 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View JoeRPhilly's profile


172 posts in 2179 days

10-04-2012 01:13 PM

Topic tags/keywords: maple oak

Last weekend I picked up some old rough cut lumber, it’s been sitting around a while and it’s pretty dirty. I hit it with a plane in a few spots to try and get a peak. The guy said it’s maple. Looks like most of it is, although I’ve never had maple, but looks like some spalted maple to me, sorry the pics aren’t great

The end grain shot is the stuff I’m not sure about
So I think that top stuff is maple, but a few of the boards look like oak to me, but it doesn’t seem to have that nasty oak smell. the pores seem to be very open on the face.

or could it be hickory?

in the last pic, the board I’m questioning is sitting next to a scrap piece of oak

What do you think? My pictures suck? I agree, thanks!

7 replies so far

View grfrazee's profile


388 posts in 2167 days

#1 posted 10-04-2012 01:20 PM

Looks like you have a mix. The top three pictures look to be maple (or something close) and the bottom three look like oak.

Maple has a very weak grain and (in my experience) spalts easily if left outdoors. That endgrain shot looks very pore-y, which would be indicative of oak. That and it seems to have some ray fleck, which is also an oak characteristic.

I’d wait until the experts weigh in, though.

-- -=Pride is not a sin=-

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3312 days

#2 posted 10-04-2012 02:22 PM

I agree with grfrazee, it looks like you have some great spalted maple in the top three, but the others are a little hard to tell, but if I had to guess, it looks like oak.

I’d wait until the experts weigh in, though. I had a friend come to my shop one day and told me he could identify any piece of wood I had in the shop…..............I handed him a board; he looked it over very closely and informed me it was genuine “tree” wood. I couldn’t argue with him!

-- John @

View hhhopks's profile


651 posts in 2405 days

#3 posted 10-04-2012 03:27 PM

Agree, you have a mix.

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

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2512 days

#4 posted 10-04-2012 05:43 PM

As far as the trademark smell of red oak, I’m under the impression that it only happens when the wood was recently harvested, maybe within a few months to a year. After that, the moisture that gives rise to the smelly bacteria goes away, along with the smell. Or so I’m told.

-- Brian Timmons -

View JoeRPhilly's profile


172 posts in 2179 days

#5 posted 10-04-2012 06:09 PM

I never knew that about the oak smell, that would make perfect sense, this stuff is at least a few years old

View JoeRPhilly's profile


172 posts in 2179 days

#6 posted 10-04-2012 10:48 PM

does anyone think this might be hickory in the last 2 shots, they go with the endgrain shot

View WDHLT15's profile


1748 posts in 2503 days

#7 posted 10-05-2012 02:28 AM

No, it is not hickory. 100% sure that it is oak. The prominence and width of the medullary rays (those steaks that are perpendicular to the growth rings) are characteristic of the oaks. The rays in hickory are barely visible to the naked eye, and even then, you have to look very very closely to see them at all.

So, the end grain pic is oak. Cannot really say about the first few pics. Not much to go on. An end grain shot of one of those boards would help a lot.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

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