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 2191 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Mr M's Woodshop

314 posts in 1941 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 912 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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View Bobmedic's profile


305 posts in 1676 days

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

Looks like possibly maple or Sycamore in the first pic

-- Save lives, ease suffering, reduce morbidity and mortality, stomp out pestilence and disease, postpone the inevitable, and fake compassion. The Paramedics Creed

View Chris208's profile


214 posts in 1144 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.

View Drew - Rock-n H Woodshop's profile

Drew - Rock-n H Woodshop

641 posts in 1565 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 Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

5102 posts in 1254 days

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

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

#2. Cherry


View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

16650 posts in 1212 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


87 posts in 1100 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


253 posts in 1480 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

16132 posts in 1441 days

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

first is possibly mahogany and second is most likely cherry

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View hydro's profile


208 posts in 626 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.

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


727 posts in 587 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


1093 posts in 893 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

314 posts in 1941 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


546 posts in 1273 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


1305 posts in 1350 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 LT15 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

showing 1 through 15 of 24 replies

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