Identifying a wood

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Forum topic by jaymcn posted 10-14-2013 10:24 AM 1072 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1703 days

10-14-2013 10:24 AM

I came across this piece of wood and I cannot identify what it is. I am in Phoenix AZ and have eliminated the main trees that grow here. It has a reddish color soft bark and kind-of has a ben-gay type smell to it. I am thinking it may be a type of palm tree but am not sure. Any ideas?

If it is a Palm tree do they have any good uses in woodworking.
Thanks Jaymcn

-- Jaymcn

7 replies so far

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2992 days

#1 posted 10-16-2013 01:04 AM

Looks like some kind of cedar to me. Definitely not palm. Palm is kind of weird looking and it doesn’t have growth rings.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 2032 days

#2 posted 10-16-2013 01:08 AM

could it be from a camphor tree? I got some of that stuff from a guy who worked clearing california forests of trash trees. When I cut into it on the bandsaw my first thoughts were that it smelled like medicine and that it was suddenly getting hard to breathe. Things went downhill quicky from there.

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View DS's profile


2916 posts in 2414 days

#3 posted 10-16-2013 01:16 AM

Regardless of what wood it is, the end is highly checked and would be difficult to get much usable lumber from it

Had it been properly sealed to slow the drying, it looks like a fairly interesting grain and coloring.

I’ve never seen anything like this growing in Phoenix—and I’ve been here a very long time.

Oh, and BTW, Welcome to Lumberjocks.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29216 posts in 2332 days

#4 posted 10-16-2013 01:30 AM

Looks cool. Wish you had the entire logs. Whether it’s usable or not is up to your imagination.

Welcome to LJs

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View richardwootton's profile


1699 posts in 1949 days

#5 posted 10-16-2013 02:34 AM

Have you thought about some type of eucalyptus?

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View alohafromberkeley's profile


257 posts in 2398 days

#6 posted 10-16-2013 04:29 AM

Looks like a cedar…a friend gave me a 2” thick round of what he told me was from a red cedar from his deceased fathers land in CO. It looks remarkably similar to the pics. He had a few rounds that he planned to use as part of stool seats. Can’t be camphor…Berkeley uses them as street trees and the bark is not shaggy and the wood is more greyish. Eucalyptus doesn’t have soft bark (at least not the kind in the hills around the Bay Area). And it’s definitely not palm.

-- "After a year of doing general farmwork, it was quite clear to me that chickens and I were not compatible"-George Nakashima

View jaymcn's profile


2 posts in 1703 days

#7 posted 10-16-2013 04:50 AM

Thanks for all the reply’s and help.

-- Jaymcn

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