You don’t need a PhD to get started as a “woodologist.” Whether you’re just wondering what a certain type of wood will look like with a finish on it, or how strong it is, or how soft it is, or how to accurately identify it, or whether it will rot in the ground after five years, or if will be a nightmare to plane, or if it’s easy to turn on the lathe, or if it’s exorbitantly expensive, or if it has a high silica content that will dull your blades, or if it will warp with changes in the weather, or…
You get the point. Consider this your one-stop shop to research all things wood! Use the links to the right to get started.
Have some sage wisdom or a helpful tip to share about a particular wood? Share it! Have a cool photo of one of your projects you’d like to show off? Share it!
Since the website is in blog format, each wood profile page has space for comments where you can share your experiences, with the option to upload a photo of a project you’ve worked on so everyone can see. Just look for the comment area at the bottom of each wood page.
In addition to digital sharing, if you’ve got a wood sample that you think is rare or hard to find, and you’d be willing to mail-in a small sample for the database (postage paid), see details on the contact page.
Throughout the site, you’ll see high-quality scans of wood—some of which (if you are a wood nut like myself) may be drool-inducing! Yet notice I didn’t say pictures, but scans. That’s because, whenever possible, I’ve avoided the use of camera photography due to its (relatively) inaccurate rendition of color and detail. Instead, I’ve digitally scanned each wood sample in clear resolution: no blurry pictures or inaccurate colors. (However, I will occasionally include some photos of three dimensional objects or larger items that can’t be scanned easily.)
Additionally, there is a growing collection of endgrain zoom (10x) scans. It’s been said that the endgrain is like the fingerprint of wood: it gives a unique picture of the wood species, and is very helpful in identifying it from other lookalikes. While not all woods are completely identifiable from a 10x magnification of the endgrain alone, a large portion can be identified and categorized, and an educated guess can be made. All of the wood profile scans that you see have been done manually: they have not been “borrowed” or yanked from anyone else’s website.
May 2012: I’ve published a new wood poster, modeled after the periodic table of the elements. I like to call it “The Periodic Table of Wood.” But this project is only to tide everyone over until the main project is finished: the wood database book! (Still no good working title, but I refer to it as “The Wood Databook” for now…)
So yes, the book is still on its way! It’s just turning into a much bigger project than I was initially envisioning. So much to research, so much to write, so many woods to scan, just so much… I’ve posted a picture of a sample profile page just so you don’t react with incredulity at my claims of “working.” This is still in its rough form, so the final draft is very likely to look different.
But with this writing project in mind, I’d encourage anyone to let me know if they ever find a mistake, typo, or some other inaccuracy on the website that clearly needs to be corrected. (Erasing something on a computer screen is much easier than doing so in print!) Feel free to make liberal use of the comment form to contact me if you notice anything that should be changed. And if you’d like to be notified via email when the book is released, be sure to submit your email address in the space in the upper right sidebar where it says “keep me posted!”
After this, what’s next? Possibly an iPad and/or Android app, maybe an eBook, or other electronic versions of the database. Stay tuned!