What is this wood?

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Forum topic by Dark_Lightning posted 12-07-2013 02:09 AM 1236 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2620 posts in 2530 days

12-07-2013 02:09 AM

My neighbor gave me this board that he didn’t want. It weighs 76.5 Lb/Cu Ft. According to what I can find online, it is either lignum vitae or ebony. I don’t think it is ebony, because all the ebony I have doesn’t have the ability to shoot a splinter into you just by looking at it, like a porcupine. Seriously, if you pick it up and don’t have a good grip, you will get a splinter. The guy that gave it to him uses it for gates, (or so I’m told) but you’d better have a 12”X12” gatepost to hold up a real gate. Nice color, I have some uses for it. Any ideas as to the species?

-- Random Orbital Nailer

16 replies so far

View waho6o9's profile


7120 posts in 1998 days

#1 posted 12-07-2013 02:13 AM

Wenge splinters like crazy as well.

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2620 posts in 2530 days

#2 posted 12-07-2013 02:59 AM

You may be right, although it doesn’t look like any wenge I’ve ever had. Splinters seem to be a way of life for this stick, so first proposition agrees. We’ll see.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View bigblockyeti's profile


3573 posts in 1142 days

#3 posted 12-07-2013 03:08 AM

Lignum vitae is quite oily, so much in fact that it’s used almost exclusively for bearings. That piece looks too big to be from a lignum tree also.

View ShaneA's profile


6420 posts in 2019 days

#4 posted 12-07-2013 03:28 AM

Ipe is around that color and is heavy, the splinters don’t seem to be a quality of Ipe however.

View Handtooler's profile


1359 posts in 1553 days

#5 posted 12-07-2013 03:38 AM

If you believe it was harvested in the USA, could you possibility consider Black or Honey Locus? That wood is often used for fence posts and gates because of its impermnability to weather. It’s also very heavy and the older it gets the harder it gets like iron wood.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

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253 posts in 1999 days

#6 posted 12-07-2013 03:44 AM

you have either lignum vitae, african blackwood, snakewood, or kingwood. Only woods that are that heavy. Locusts are only 40ish lbs per cubic ft.

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1698 posts in 1376 days

#7 posted 12-07-2013 03:45 AM

Some better pictures might be helpful, maybe with a little better lighting. It’s really hard to distinguish the grain pattern on this. I guess it could be my phone’s browser, but it couldn’t hurt to try.

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

View Loren's profile


8159 posts in 3069 days

#8 posted 12-07-2013 03:48 AM

Lignum Vitae sinks in water but I do not think it is splintery…
maybe Wenge or something like that… or some other trendy
exotic with uniform grain and color architects like to specify
for high end work.

View Tony_S's profile


597 posts in 2504 days

#9 posted 12-07-2013 10:37 AM

Definitely need better pictures. It looks like a black line in a box on my monitor.

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

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2620 posts in 2530 days

#10 posted 12-07-2013 01:17 PM

Yeah, my cheap camera is a problem. Here are better pictures with my wife’s camera. I think it was from South America. And this board is bone dry, not oily at all.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View Wolfdaddy's profile


300 posts in 1255 days

#11 posted 12-07-2013 03:30 PM

Looks sortof like ipe to me. I have experienced ipe splinters…they can be pretty nasty.

-- "MOM! I think there's something under our house! I'm gonna need a jackhammer, a fish bowl, some air tanks, and maybe a few pipes."

View Dark_Lightning's profile


2620 posts in 2530 days

#12 posted 12-07-2013 04:07 PM

Looks like it’s ipe. I went to the wood data base, and it’s a real good match. Thanks, all!

I’ll save that URL for future reference.

I’m not going to build a deck with one board, so I’ll have to figure out something else for it.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

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883 posts in 1495 days

#13 posted 12-07-2013 08:19 PM

looks like ebony to me.

View mporter's profile


253 posts in 1999 days

#14 posted 12-07-2013 11:11 PM

it is 100% african blackwood.

View mantwi's profile


312 posts in 1317 days

#15 posted 12-07-2013 11:24 PM

Ipe is very heavy, so heavy it sinks when put in water but the color doesn’t look right. Of course I’ve not seen everything so this may be a different part of the tree than what I have used. Here’s another characteristic of Ipe that might help. When burned it is reduced to a very fine ash, we’re talking as fine as flower. When building docks we use the scrap for firewood, it burns so completely there are no cinders left just dust. If you can bring yourself to sacrifice a couple of inches try it out. I’ve never seen any wood that burns so completely before.

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