Wood Identification

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Forum topic by reelman65 posted 04-21-2014 12:40 AM 1333 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View reelman65's profile


35 posts in 2678 days

04-21-2014 12:40 AM

Topic tags/keywords: wood id lumber

Greetings everyone. been lurking for quite a while. this is my first post.
Long story, short. I purchased a guy’s lumber collection. Hopefully I didn’t make a mistake. 7 pickup loads and a trailer load. most is exotic. I can only identify about 30%.

How does one identify lumber? I looked quite a bit on the www. There doesn’t seem to be a dichotomous key for wood. hobbithouse seems the best so far, but still difficult to take a piece of lumber and get a definitive answer.

I bought a couple of books, but they are really for identification, they are more like encyclopedias,

any thoughts?

thanks for the great resource. I could look at the project section for hours.


13 replies so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

18715 posts in 2566 days

#1 posted 04-21-2014 12:48 AM

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

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1317 posts in 1933 days

#2 posted 04-21-2014 12:51 AM

Hobbit house definitely helps. That has been the best resource for me. One thing that has also helped me is working with a different wood for pretty much every project. Once you work with a wood for a few weeks, you kind of get the feel for it, and can pretty much identify it from then on. That works great for domestics, but can be harder with exotics.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View richardwootton's profile


1699 posts in 1954 days

#3 posted 04-21-2014 12:53 AM

You could start posting photos of the ones you’re having trouble with. If nothing else, we get to look at pretty wood!

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

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29226 posts in 2336 days

#4 posted 04-21-2014 01:06 AM

Hope you got a great deal regardless. I hope you start building and posting for us.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Yonak's profile


986 posts in 1519 days

#5 posted 04-21-2014 04:29 AM

I think McLendon’s is as comprehensive as anybody’s, with great photos :

It doesn’t have a visual cross-reference, but I don’t know of anyone who does that. I’m not sure just how it would be done. It would be a great service, though.

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3711 days

#6 posted 04-21-2014 08:22 AM

As nobody has pointed this out yet….”No pictures, didn’t happen” LOL!

I hope you find a good way to determine the types of wood you have. Did you try local cabinet makers, woodworkers guild or grade school shop teacher?

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View reelman65's profile


35 posts in 2678 days

#7 posted 04-21-2014 02:54 PM

Thanks everyone for the kind and encouraging words. I appreciate it. I will definitely post some picks of the haul and mystery woods. I don’t think this qualifies as a “Wood Gloat” because I paid quite a bit for it. (my whole emergency fund, with wifey’s approval of course). But I hope it was a good deal for me and the seller.


View reelman65's profile


35 posts in 2678 days

#8 posted 04-21-2014 05:55 PM

piles of wood.

View Buckethead's profile


3194 posts in 1867 days

#9 posted 04-21-2014 06:17 PM

Wow! What a score. If you start off by sorting, then take a few shots of clean pieces, I have no doubt that LJs can zero in on most species.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View reelman65's profile


35 posts in 2678 days

#10 posted 04-21-2014 06:59 PM

OK great. here is the first mystery,.....
the gentleman I bought it from said it was “Calvea” from Costa Rica. It is clamshell molding. I couldn’t find Calvea anywhere. It looked meranti to me. On a return trip, I mentioned that to him. he said it wasn’t meranti and it was definitely from costa rica and the local name was Calvea but he couldn’t remember the latin name.
here are some pics:

View reelman65's profile


35 posts in 2678 days

#11 posted 04-21-2014 07:47 PM

More info:

it doesn’t have an odor
medium density maybe like mahogany, but doesn’t seem to have the sheen
I looked at the pores on the end grain with a magnifier and they seemed random.

thanks in advance,

View mahdee's profile


3883 posts in 1766 days

#12 posted 04-21-2014 08:51 PM

Sure looks like a light mahogany.


View reelman65's profile


35 posts in 2678 days

#13 posted 04-24-2014 11:51 PM


pics showing end grain

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