Wood Species & Historical Significance?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Wood & Lumber forum

Forum topic by DrJosh posted 01-02-2013 09:34 PM 1514 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View DrJosh's profile


50 posts in 3131 days

01-02-2013 09:34 PM

Does anyone know if there are any species of wood that have some type of historical significance? I know that this is the case with colors/dyes. For instance, in ancient times purple dyes and pigments were rare and very expensive, so only royalty and the very wealthy has purple garments. So, purple has become know as a color of royalty. I’m curious if there are any types of wood that has historical association with royalty or strength, family, etc. I have a special project in mind for a high school graduation present for my niece that I want this info for. I realize that this might be a long-shot, but I figured that if the information is out there, this would be the best place to pose the question. Thanks.


-- Nashville, TN

22 replies so far

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2922 days

#1 posted 01-02-2013 09:56 PM

american elm or horse chestnut (and I fear the ash will be next…that emerald ash borer that apparently came in with asian pallet wood is spreading)...all pretty much laid to rest here now due to insect infestations.

View bbc557ci's profile


595 posts in 2312 days

#2 posted 01-02-2013 10:03 PM

And what kind of tree did George Wahington cut down??? LOL … if you consider that of historical signifiganc that is.

teejk – sad to hear that about ash. It is one of my favorite woods. I built my previous home in ‘86 and trimmed it out in ash. I recently moved and bought a fixer upper on a local river, and about 3 weeks ago picked up 380 BF of rough cut ash, with plans to mill it for trim.

-- Bill, central where near the "big apple"

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2922 days

#3 posted 01-02-2013 10:41 PM

bbc…the emerald ash borer problem seems to be spreading despite restrictions on moving firewood and lumber. bye bye to baseball bats at this rate. hate to see you using ash for trim since I think it lends itself to some “interesting” grain patterns.

I have an old beam supposedly from chestnut…it’s from a refurb farm house in NY so it’s old…I’m sure any bugs are long gone and I intend to get it sawed up someday. And I hope it has some of the worm holes/tracks that make old lumber so interesting to look at (I had a twisted/checked cherry beam from the same house that I managed to get enough wood from to build a small table).

View sprucegum's profile


324 posts in 2235 days

#4 posted 01-02-2013 11:34 PM

Balm-of-Gilead has been use for medicine since biblical times. I have used a little on small simple projects. It is as soft or softer than pine, stays pretty flat and strait wile drying , all and all not a great wood for woodworking, but it is historical.

-- A tube of calk and a gallon of paint will make a carpenter what he ain't

View WillAdams's profile


86 posts in 2233 days

#5 posted 01-03-2013 12:57 AM

Ash is traditionally the best wood for a fire, so would be what a king would be warmed by according to one rhyme. ``But Ashwood wet and Ashwood dry // A King may warm his slippers by.’‘

Mostly it’s practical by usage or other tradition—- Willow has traditionally been used for artificial limbs, yew, bois d’arc, osage orange and mulberry for bows, &c., dogwood won’t grow large enough for large projects ‘cause it was cursed for being the wood used in the crucifix of Jesus, &c.

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2310 days

#6 posted 01-03-2013 01:28 AM

What kind of wood was GW’s teeth made of?

-- Who is John Galt?

View patron's profile


13641 posts in 3579 days

#7 posted 01-03-2013 01:39 AM

rosewood was the wood for kings

and don’t forget
the cedars of lebanon

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View mcase's profile


446 posts in 3367 days

#8 posted 01-03-2013 01:39 AM

The ancient white pines of colonial New England grew to over two hundred feet in many instances. All the great pines, two foot or more through the center, were claimed by the King by royal decree. The King’s Pines, as they were called, were to be only cut by agents of the Royal Navy for use as masts in ships of war. Needles to say, this did not sit well with the colonist who wanted the timber for themselves. Conflict over the King’s pine came long before either the Stamp Act or the Boston Tea Party.

View runswithscissors's profile


2927 posts in 2263 days

#9 posted 01-03-2013 02:18 AM

Willow is also used for cricket bats. As for the Brits hogging all the good wood, they are the ones who stole most of the beautiful mahogany from British Honduras, now known as Belize. Very few of the big trees left.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View bbc557ci's profile


595 posts in 2312 days

#10 posted 01-03-2013 02:26 AM

hate to see you using ash for trim since I think it lends itself to some “interesting” grain patterns.

teejk – That’s why I used it for, and want to use it again for trim, interior only. No paint just a light stain and a couple of clear coats. I too like the grain as it is indeed intersting as you say. I always try to put the character side showing. The grain/character is why I’m drawn the ash. I made my daughter an ash coffee table, and myself a nice sized plant table. Both have gotten some nice complements as the wood is beautiful.

-- Bill, central where near the "big apple"

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3209 days

#11 posted 01-03-2013 02:47 AM

Chestnut was the Redwood of the Appalachins. The economy of this entire area was dependant on the chestnut, for food, for stock feed, for weather resistant lumber, for homes and construction. The fact that the loss of the chestnut happened to coinside with the great depression was a double whammy for the people who depended on it.

View JT23325's profile


168 posts in 2385 days

#12 posted 01-03-2013 03:35 AM

Live Oak was used to build the USS Constitution (Old Ironside)

-- Jeff, Ability will never catch up with the demand for it. - Malcolm Forbes

View Edziu's profile


151 posts in 3289 days

#13 posted 01-03-2013 05:18 AM

I’m just spitballing ideas here- but have you considered using a piece of wood with significance to your niece? If it’s available: maybe something made from her old swingset….something made from an old piece of furniture…a piece of wood from the house she grew up in…..something along those lines.

Or if you have a local architectural salvage, consider making something using some old framing lumber from a demolished house in your town.

just my 2 cents.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18423 posts in 3914 days

#14 posted 01-03-2013 06:03 AM

I think it was black alder that made the best charcoal for making black powder before smokeless was invented.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View WillAdams's profile


86 posts in 2233 days

#15 posted 01-03-2013 11:53 AM

I’ve always heard that it was dogwood that was best for charcoal for black powder—- Britain bought if from Prussia for musket use, but used locally grown willow and alder for cannon and blasting powder.

Wood should be ~10 years old, ~4 inches in diameter (~1 inch for dogwood), harvested in the spring for easy debarking, then dried to 10 percent moisture content before charring.

showing 1 through 15 of 22 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics