How do I identify the species of a board I bought?

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Forum topic by Mr M's Woodshop posted 10-07-2013 02:01 AM 2727 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Mr M's Woodshop

420 posts in 3034 days

10-07-2013 02:01 AM

Topic tags/keywords: mahogany cherry

I recently bought 19x boards from a guy that was selling lumber that his Dad had bought. The seller was not a woodworker, and based on the dirt on the boards, they had been in storage for a while.

Most of the boards were labeled on their edge, but there a few boards labeled “mohogany” that are very different looks. One has great figure, and then a few are almost uniformly cherry colored, with a few sap extrusions (?) on the face of the boards.

Can you tell me which is what?

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA,

24 replies so far

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 2005 days

#1 posted 10-07-2013 02:03 AM

I vote cherry for the 2nd pic, only because it looks exactly like the common cherry boards I was working on today.
Edit: Is that first one kind of light-weight and stringy? The look reminds me of that mahogany they make the doorskins out of.

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379 posts in 2769 days

#2 posted 10-07-2013 02:07 AM

Looks like possibly maple or Sycamore in the first pic

View Chris208's profile


239 posts in 2237 days

#3 posted 10-07-2013 02:57 AM

The first picture looks like a mahogany species to me. I have some “red mahogany” that looks identical.

The second pic looks like cherry.

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Drew - Rock-n H Woodshop

644 posts in 2658 days

#4 posted 10-07-2013 04:36 AM

My vote is mahogany and cherry

-- Drew -- "I cut it twice and it's still too short!"- Rock-n H Woodshop - Moore, OK

View Woodknack's profile


11482 posts in 2347 days

#5 posted 10-07-2013 07:23 AM

#1. Sapele ?? (it’s not Honduran mahogany)

#2. Cherry

-- Rick M,

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Monte Pittman

28947 posts in 2305 days

#6 posted 10-07-2013 10:01 AM

1st board I would say is QS Sycamore. 2nd board I would say is cherry.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Danal's profile


88 posts in 2194 days

#7 posted 10-07-2013 10:20 AM

The first board is indicative of mahogany and second is cherry

-- Dan

View Woodendeavor's profile


276 posts in 2574 days

#8 posted 10-07-2013 11:57 AM

I have worked with it a few times, the first picture is Quarter sawn Sycamore IMHO

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Don W

18686 posts in 2535 days

#9 posted 10-07-2013 12:07 PM

first is possibly mahogany and second is most likely cherry

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

View hydro's profile


208 posts in 1719 days

#10 posted 10-07-2013 12:16 PM

The top board is one of the pacific “mahogany” species. You can tell by the top of the board with its open grain structure. That also indicates that it is not sycamore.

-- Minnesota Woodworkers Guild, Past President, Lifetime member.

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1244 posts in 1680 days

#11 posted 10-07-2013 12:31 PM

2. could also be pear

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View Marcus's profile


1163 posts in 1987 days

#12 posted 10-07-2013 12:44 PM

1. Qsawn something, doesn’t look like mahogany to me.
2. Another vote for cherry.

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Mr M's Woodshop

420 posts in 3034 days

#13 posted 10-07-2013 02:16 PM

I should also mention that I’m in southern California. Quartersawn sycamore seems unlikely to me; I’ve never seen it for sale here. I think the 2nd picture is cherry … that’s the first thought I had when I bought it.

The first board is clearly labeled “mohogany.” The grain flecks are rectanglular … the sycamore photos I’ve seen have flecks that are more rounded than this board presents. I think.

Unfortunately, I’ve never worked with cherry or mahogany, so I’m unfamiliar with both.

I mean, FORTUNATELY, I’m getting more experience with more wood!

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA,

View RogerM's profile


792 posts in 2366 days

#14 posted 10-07-2013 04:25 PM

Second board cherry. First board could be soft maple.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View WDHLT15's profile


1732 posts in 2443 days

#15 posted 10-08-2013 01:10 AM

I am going with quartersawn sycamore and cherry, too.

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

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