by Eric Meier

When attempting to identify a wood sample, it’s important to keep in mind the limitations and obstacles that are present in our task. Before starting, please have a look at The Truth Behind Wood Identification to approach the task in a proper mindset; I consider the linked article to be required reading for all those visiting my site with the intent of identifying wood.

1. Confirm it is actually solid wood.

Before proceeding too much farther into the remaining steps, it’s first necessary to confirm that the material in question is actually a solid piece of wood, and not a man-made composite or piece of plastic made to imitate wood.

A solid piece of Cocobolo: note how the grain wraps around the sides/end of the wood. This is something that is very difficult to replicate with man-made boards.

A solid piece of Cocobolo: note how the grain naturally wraps around the sides and endgrain of the wood.

  • Can you see the end-grain? Manufactured wood such as MDF, OSB, and particleboard all have a distinct look that is—in nearly all cases—easily distinguishable from the endgrain of real wood. Look for growth rings—formed by the yearly growth of a tree—which will be a dead-giveaway that the wood sample in question is a solid, genuine chunk of wood taken from a tree.
Viewing the end of this "board" reveals its true identity: particleboard.

Viewing the end of this “board” reveals its true identity: particleboard.

  • Is it veneered? If you see a large panel that has a repeating grain pattern, it may be a veneer. In such cases, a very thin layer of real wood is peeled from a tree and attached to a substrate; sometimes the veneer can be one continuous repeating piece because it is rotary-sliced to shave off the veneer layer as the tree trunk is spun by machines. Assuming it is a real wood veneer with a distinct grain and texture—and not merely a piece of printed plastic—you may still be able to identify the outer veneer wood in question, but you should still realize that is it only a veneer and not a solid piece of wood.
Large repeating patterns suggest a veneer.

Large repeating patterns suggest a veneer.

  • Is it painted or printed to look like wood? Many times, especially on medium to large-sized flat panels for furniture, a piece of particleboard or MDF is either laminated with a piece of wood-colored plastic, or simply painted to look like wood grain. Many of today’s interior hardwood flooring planks are good examples of these pseudo-wood products: they are essentially a man-made material made of sawdust, glues, resins, and durable plastics.

2. Look at the grain color.

Some questions to immediately ask yourself:

  • Is the color of the wood natural, or is it stained? If there is even a chance that the color isn’t natural, the odds are increased that the entire effort of identifying the wood will be in vain.

The reddish brown stain used on this piece of Jatoba (Hymenaea courbaril) has been planed away on top, exposing the paler color of the raw wood underneath.

  • Is it weathered or have a patina? Many woods, when left outside in the elements, tend to turn a bland gray color. Also, even interior wood also takes on a patina as it ages: some woods get darker, or redder, and some even get lighter or lose their color; but for the most part, wood tends to darken with age.

Fresh sanding near the end of this Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera) board has exposed the characteristic yellow coloration of the wood, which has a strong tendency to shift down to a golden brown over time.

  • Is it possible to sand or plane the board to see the natural raw color of the wood? The most predictable baseline to use when identifying wood is in a freshly sanded state. This eliminates the chances of a stain or natural aging skewing the color diagnosis of the wood.

3. Look at the grain pattern.

If the wood is unfinished, then look at the texture of the grain. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Does the wood have an open, porous texture? Most softwoods will be almost perfectly smooth with no grain indentations, while many common hardwoods have an open pore structure, such as Oak or Mahogany; though there are some hardwoods that are also smooth to the touch, such as Maple.
  • Can you tell if the wood is quartersawn or plainsawn? By observing the grain patterns, many times you can tell how the board was cut from the tree. Some wood species have dramatically different grain patterns from plainsawn to quartersawn surfaces. For instance, on their quartersawn surfaces, Lacewood has large lace patterns, Oak has flecks, and Maple has the characteristic “butcher block” appearance.
  • Is there any figure or unusual characteristics, such as sapwood, curly or wild grain, burl/knots, etc.? Some species of wood have figure that is much more common than in other species: for example, curly figure is fairly common in Soft Maple, and the curls are usually well-pronounced and close together. Yet when Birch or Cherry has a curly grain, it is more often much less pronounced, and the curls are spaced farther apart.
Curly Maple (sealed)

The strong, tight curl seen in this wood sample is very characteristic of Maple (Acer spp.).

 

4. Consider the weight and hardness of the wood.

If it’s possible, pick the piece of wood up and get a sense of its weight, and compare it to other known wood species. Try gouging the edge with your fingernail to get a sense of its hardness. If you have a scale, you can take measurements of the length, width, and thickness of the wood, and combine them to find the density of the wood. This can be helpful to compare to other density readings found in the database. When examining the wood in question, compare it to other known wood species, and ask yourself these questions:

A piece of Lignum Vitae is weighed on a small digital scale.

A piece of Lignum Vitae is weighed on a small digital scale.

  • Is the wood dry? Wood from freshly felled trees, or wood that has been stored in an extremely humid environment will have very high moisture contents. In some freshly sawn pieces, moisture could account for over half of the wood’s total weight! Likewise, wood that has been stored in extremely dry conditions of less than 25% relative humidity will most likely feel lighter than average.
  • How does the wood’s weight compare to other species? Taking into account the size of the board, how does its weight compare to other benchmark woods? Is it heavier than Oak? Is it lighter than Pine? Look at the weight numbers for a few wood species that are close to yours, and get a ballpark estimate of its weight.
  • How hard is the wood? Obviously softwoods will tend to be softer than hardwoods, but try to get a sense of how it compares to other known woods. Density and hardness are closely related, so if the wood is heavy, it will most likely be hard too. If the wood is a part of a finished item that you can’t adequately weigh, you might be able to test the hardness by gouging it in an inconspicuous area. Also, if it is used in a piece of furniture, such as a tabletop, a general idea of its hardness can be assessed by the number and depth of the gouges/dings in the piece given its age and use. A tabletop made of pine will have much deeper dents than a tabletop made of Oak. Additionally, you can always try the “fingernail test” as a rough hardness indicator:  find a crisp edge of the wood, and with your fingernail try to push in as hard as you can and see if you’re able to make a dent in the wood.

5. Consider the source.

Many times we forget common sense and logic when attempting to identify wood. If you’ve got a piece of Amish furniture from Pennsylvania, chances are more likely that the wood  will be made of something like Black Walnut or Cherry, and not African Wenge or Jatoba. You might call it “wood profiling,” but sometimes it can pay to be a little prejudiced when it comes to wood identification. Some common-sense questions to ask yourself when trying to identify a piece of wood:

  • Where did it come from? Knowing as much as you can about the source of the wood—even the smallest details—can be helpful. If the wood came from a wood pile or a lumber mill where all the pieces were from trees processed locally, then the potential species are immediately limited. If the wood came from a builder of antique furniture, or a boat-builder, or a trim carpenter: each of these occupations will tend to use certain species of woods much more often than others, making a logical guess much simpler.
  • How old is it? As with the wood’s source, its age will also help in identification purposes. Not only will it help to determine if the wood should have developed a natural patina, but it will also suggest certain species which were more prevalent at different times in history. For instance, many acoustic guitars made before the 1990s have featured Brazilian Rosewood backs, yet due to CITES restrictions placed upon that species, East Indian Rosewood has become much more common on newer guitars.
  • How large is the piece of wood? Some species of trees are typically very small—some are even considered shrubs—while others get quite large. For instance, if you see a large panel or section of wood that’s entirely black, chances are it’s either painted, dyed, or stained: Gaboon Ebony and related species are typically very small and very expensive.
  • What is the wood’s intended use? Simply knowing what the wood was intended for—when considered in conjunction with where it came from and how old it is—can give you many clues to help identify it. In some applications, certain wood species are used much more frequently than others, so that you can make an educated guess as to the species of the wood based upon the application where it was used. For instance: many older houses with solid hardwood floors have commonly used either Red Oak or Hard Maple; many antique furniture pieces have featured quartersawn White Oak; many violins have Spruce tops; many closet items used Aromatic Red Cedar, and so forth. While it’s not a 100% guarantee, “profiling” the wood in question will help reduce the number of possible suspects, and aid in deducing the correct species.
Despite its discoloration and wear, its very likely that this rolling pin is made of hard maple.

Despite its discoloration and wear, its very likely that this old rolling pin is made of Hard Maple.

 

6. Find the x-factor.

Sometimes, after all the normal characteristics of a sample have been considered, the identity of the wood in question is still not apparent. In these instances—particularly in situations where a sample has been narrowed down to only a few possible remaining choices—it’s sometimes helpful to bring in specialized tests and other narrower means of identification.

The following techniques and recommendations don’t necessarily have a wide application in initially sorting out wood species and eliminating large swaths of wood species, but will most likely be of use only as a final step in special identification circumstances.

Odor: Believe it or not, freshly machined wood can have a very identifiable scent. When your eyes and hands can’t quite get a definitive answer, sometimes your nose can. Assuming there is no stain, finish, or preservative on or in the wood, quickly sand, saw, or otherwise machine a section of the wood in question, and take a whiff of the aroma.

Although new scents can be very difficult to express in words, many times the scent of an unknown wood may be similar to other known scents. For instance, Rosewoods (Dalbergia spp.) are so named for their characteristic odor that is reminiscent of roses. Although difficult to directly communicate, with enough firsthand experience scents can become a memorable and powerful means of wood identification.

Fluorescence: While certain woods can appear basically identical to one another under normal lighting conditions, when exposed to certain wavelengths—such as those found in blacklights—the wood will absorb and emit light in a different (visible) wavelength. This phenomenon is known as fluorescence, and certain woods can be distinguished by the presence or absence of their fluorescent qualities. See the article Fluorescence: A Secret Weapon in Wood Identification for more information.

Chemical Testing: There are only a small number of chemical tests regularly used on wood, most of which are very specialized and were developed to help distinguish easily confused species with one another. They work by detecting differences in the composition of heartwood extractives. A chemical substance (called a reagent) is usually dissolved in water and applied to the wood surface: the surface is then observed for any type of chemical reaction (and accompanying color change) that may occur. Two of the most useful are the tests that are meant to separate Red and White Oak, and Red and Hard Maple.

Heartwood Extractives Leachability: Sometimes a wood species will have heartwood extractives that will be readily leachable in water and capable of conspicuously tinting a solution of water a specific color. For instance, the heartwood extractives contained in Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera) contain a yellowish-brown dye that is soluble in water. (This can sometimes be observed anecdotally when the wood is glued with a water-based adhesive: the glue’s squeeze-out is an unusually vibrant yellow.)

In a simple water extract color test, wood shavings are mixed with water in a vial, test tube, or other suitably small container, and the color of the water is observed after a few minutes. If the heartwood extractives are leachable by water, then a corresponding color change should quickly occur.

In addition to Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera), Merbau (Intsia spp.), and Rengas (Gluta spp. and Melanorrhoea spp.) are also noted for their readily leachable heartwood extractives. Because this property is quite uncommon, it can serve to quickly differentiate these woods from other lookalikes.

7. Look at the endgrain.

Perhaps no other technique for accurate identification of wood is as helpful and conclusive as the magnified examination of the endgrain. Frequently, it brings the identification process from a mostly intuitive, unscientific process into a predictable, repeatable, and reliable procedure.

Looking at the endgrain with a magnifier shouldn’t be a mystifying or esoteric art. In many cases, it’s nearly as simple as examining small newsprint under a magnifying glass. There are three components necessary to reap the full benefits contained in the endgrain:

1. A prepared surface. When working with wood in most capacities, it becomes quickly apparent that endgrain surfaces are not nearly as cooperative or as easily worked as face grain surfaces. However, in this case, it is absolutely critical that a clear and refined endgrain surface is obtained.

For a quick glance of a softwood sample, a very sharp knife or razor blade can be used to take a fresh slice from the endgrain. However, in many denser species, especially in tropical hardwoods, one of the best ways to obtain a clear endgrain view is through diligent sanding. It’s usually best to begin with a relatively smooth saw cut (as from a fine-toothed miter saw blade) and proceed through the grits, starting at around 100, and working up to at least 220 or 320 grit, preferably higher for the cleanest view.

2. The right magnifier. It need not be expensive, but whatever tool is used to view the endgrain should have adequate magnifying power. In most instances, 10x magnification is ideal, however, anything within the range of 8 to 15x magnification should be suitable for endgrain viewing. (Standard magnifying glasses are typically in the range of 2 to 4x magnification.)

These stronger magnifiers, sometimes called loupes, usually have a smaller viewing area than standard magnifying glasses. Fancier models—with built in lights, or larger viewing surfaces—are available at a premium; but the most basic models are usually only a few dollars.

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3. A trained eye. The third element that constitutes a proper endgrain examination is simply knowing what to look for. In analyzing the patterns, colors, shapes, and spacing of the various anatomical features, there is a veritable storehouse of information within the endgrain—all waiting to be unlocked. Yet, if these elements have not been pointed out and learned, the array of features will simply seem like an unintelligible jumble.

The discipline of recognizing anatomical endgrain features is not easily summed up in a few sentences or even a few paragraphs, but it is nonetheless critical to the identification process. To this end, an in-depth look should be given to the various categories, divisions, and elements that constitute endgrain wood identification on the macroscopic level. (In this regard, macroscopic denotes what can be seen with a low-powered, 10x hand lens—without the aid of a microscope—rather than simply what can be seen with the naked eye.)

Because the anatomy between softwoods and hardwoods is so divergent, each will be considered and examined separately:

Still Stumped?

  • If you have a mysterious piece of wood that you’d like identified, I would recommend contacting the Center for Wood Anatomy Research, (part of the USDA’s Forest Products Laboratory), for a free, reliable, and professional identification. This is a free service available to all US citizens: they will identify up to five wood samples per year.  See their Wood ID Factsheet.
  • Check out the list of the most common hardwoods used in the United States to help eliminate the most obvious choices.
  • For somewhat immediate gratification, you can post ID requests to the Wood Database Facebook page, and be sure to include picture(s), and any pertinent information you may have!
  • JR

    One of the worst ripoffs going on right now, is all the sellers on ebay selling the very cheap to get Argentine Lignum Vitae as the Genuine Lignum Vitae.
    I would say that well over half of all Lignum listed on ebay right now is Argentine.
    I’ve contacted ebay in the past, and they don’t even care.
    You would think it would be illegal to make false claims regarding the genus of wood.

    • Barbara Miller

      Ebay has always been and always will be the world’s largest bootleg and counterfeit marketplace.

  • ERA Interiors – Custom Furniture

    This is a great article and as custom furniture makers it’s important to educate the client about the quality of the material that’s being used in the pieces of furniture they are purchasing and what exactly they are getting for their money.

  • Maria Mann

    My friend and I have a type of wood that is so beautiful, so heavy, and so hard but we cannot for the life of us figure out what it is…nor can anyone else! I have taken several pictures of it and would like to send it to you for review. The cross section of most of the limbs starts out very blonde then goes to a ring of caramel, then a ring of Toffee then the center is sometimes very dark like rich coffee. The wood is insanely hard and very heavy. I got knocked on my shin and it left a golfball size knot for a month! The bark seems like a hickory type or maybe mesquite but really not sure. The bark peels off in bits and flakes but not that easy. I have noticed that the cross sections that we cut (with a skill saw since our splitter can’t cut it) over time get dry and split a little. The limbs can get beautifully narly. I am in love with this wood and am keeping large chunks of it for myself! It truly seems to heavy and hard to be of any value as furniture but again I am not sure.

    please let me know if I can send you some images so you can help me identify it.

    Sincerely,

    Maria Mann

  • Maria Mann

    Also another bit of information about this tree…the wood sinks. Not one piece, big or small floats in water…all sink! And you should know that we got the pieces of this tree at the US forestry Service in Truckee California…although that does not mean the tree came from anywhere near there…It along with many other cut trees were brought there for local people to pick up and haul away…mostly to use as fire wood. I think this tree is very special. Please send me an address where I can forward the images I have.

    Thanks again!

    Maria Mann

  • Bubbacheese

    maria,

    Have you looked at IronWood? Look online at photos of Ironwood. Very Very dense, doesn’t float.

  • Harry Reynolds

    Maria,the wood you are talking about could easily be from one of the acacia trees,I think there are a couple of types and I know them from the SF bayarea.

  • Luis Gonzalez

    just pick up this piano, could you tell me what type of wood this may be. it was built around 1914. any info would be great.thanx

  • Luis, that looks to be a dead ringer for quartersawn white oak. (And it’s very well bookmatched too.)

    Here’s a picture from a church organ that also has quartersawn oak panels.

  • Chris loder

    Hi, hope you can help? I am trying to identify this parquet flooring. It has an aroma when handed and is a golden colored hard wax oil is applied. Thanks in advance any help would be very welcome.

  • Dave Carlson

    Chris:

    That second board is throwing me off a bit. It looks a lot like an american walnut species, with the off coloring and grain, but that second board is making me second guess my thoughts on it. Can someone verify/validate?

  • Dina Smith

    My husband and I have just purchased an old wine barrel and it appears to be from Spain (the maker being Envases Murua Logrono.) On the makers website it states that their barrels are either made from American White Oak (Quercus Alba) or French Oak (Quercus Petraea). The barrel is stained a dark brown but is there any way to see which type of oak it is? We live in Germany but are from Ohio and I would find it amusing that this barrel could be made of Ohio wood.

    Thanks for the help.

    Dina Smith

    • Malingerer

      I’ve not heard of quercus petraea as French Oak before. In the UK it’s usually known as sessile oak having sessile acorns and pedunculate leaves. Our two common oaks here are Q petraea and Q robur and once they have been sawn into planks I think it would be just about impossible to distinguish one from t’other without a laboratory. I know nothing about Q alba but might I suggest find a corner of your barrel which doesn’t normally show and scrape the stain off till you get to bare wood. My guess would be that ‘white’ oak might be lighter than Q petraea but I am
      only guessing.

  • @ Chris (and Dave): If my guesses were only limited to common american hardwoods, I’d guess walnut right along with Dave, but I know that flooring comes from all over the world, and honestly, I’d say it’s impossible to tell from a simple facegrain picture. This is a textbook example of a phenomenon I discuss in this article: http://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/the-truth-behind-wood-identification/ See the sub-heading titled “Think You’re A Know-It-All?”

    @ Dina: I don’t know of a way to tell for sure within the white oak grouping, they’re all very similar anatomically.

  • Chris Whittington

    Maria,
    I hope this doesn’t come too late to answer your question.
    I am almost certain that the wood you have is mountain mahogany, which grows up in the Sierras, and not far from Truckee. The color description you gave matches the mountain mahogany that I have, and it is one of only a few woods native to this country that are dense enough to sink in water.
    The two most common kinds are:
    Cercocarpus betuloides – Birch-leaf mountain mahogany
    Cercocarpus ledifolius Nutt. – Curl-leaf mountain mahogany

  • K. Patel

    Hello
    I need help in identifying type of wood a local contractor has used in making encasement enclosure at the bottom of the Cedar Post of a Pergola they built.
    Pergola is hardly one week old. The bottom enclosure was installed yesterday.
    I called and commented that wood used is not Cedar. It looks like Pine or Poplar. Contractor stated that wood is Cedar. It looks different because the rest of the Pergola was exposed to Sun!!! How can wood change color in one week? Please see the attached picture if somebody can identify without doubt if it is Cedar wood or not. They did not leave a single loose piece of wood behind.
    Thanks

  • Veronica

    Any Idea what this would be made of….I’m clueless? Thank you in advance for your help.

  • Dave Carlson

    K. – That very well may be cedar. It was likely in a pallet somewhere away from the sun. Over the span of a few years, you’ll probably never notice, even as little as a few months. The problem is that, without actually testing it, there’s no way to tell. My guess would be that it is cedar, though.

    Veronica – There is no way of telling from that distance, especially on a finished piece. Colored lacquers, wood coloring due to aging, and various other variables make this nearly impossible to identify. A much closer picture of the grain may assist in identifying the genus, maybe even the species if recognizable enough. At least close enough to show no more than 2′ of the wood. Also, a picture of the side of the cabinet will not help much, as those may sometimes be plywood (not a bad thing)

  • Peter

    Hi, I love your database here, very very well researched and documented.
    My problem:
    I’m relatively new to woodworking, and this site has so much information that it over complicates identifying more common wood.
    I need an article or identification guide that is a little LESS specific. Ideally, I’d like something with which I can narrow down types of wood by categories. Hardwoods/softwoods, Common American lumber/exotic, and so on.

    For example:

    Can you dent it with your fingernail? if no, it’s a hardwood.

    Is the wood heavier than oak? If yes, it’s ____,_____,______,______ or _____.

    Earlywood/latewood visible? If yes, it’s _______, or _______.

    Then, I can refer to the specifics here.
    If a guide like this exists, I sure haven’t found it yet. Anyone have any ideas or the know-how to write such a guide?
    Much obliged,
    Peter

    • ejmeier

      The closest thing I can suggest is taking a look at a relatively new article I published here on Common US Hardwoods.
      http://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/common-us-hardwoods/

      I’d guess that for most people in US and Cananda trying to identify interior furniture and cabinet woods, about 90% of the pieces are made from only about half a dozen species. So all things considered, in most cases, it doesn’t have to be that complicated, it’s just those last 10% of the cases that are tough…

  • Dominic

    Can anyone tell me what kind of wood this is?

  • Yvonne

    Does this headboard look like bird’s eye maple veneer?

    It looks like it to me. Have not looked for identifying marks but I was told it might have been made circa 1911 or 1912.

    Also because of this photo I see a goat’s head smack dab in the middle, replete with grinning mouth (which appears to be a carefully crafted and laid inset). Is this really a goat’s head or supposedly a god or devil of dreams or nightmares? Was any US or European furniture maker known to craft such sly images into their furniture.

    Thanks!

  • Ron

    I have this wood that is said to be poplar, but it has grain and color like oak. It is soft and light (like poplar) and has a pleasant scent when sawing or sanding (not like poplar). Can anyone help identify?

  • Ron,
    By your description of the scent, weight, and the pictures, I’d be strongly inclined to suggest that it is Sassafras.
    It doesn’t have conspicuous enough rays to be oak, and if its as light as you say it is, it probably wouldn’t be ash either. The pleasant scent hints at Sassafras.

  • Ron

    Thanks Eric. I believe you have it right!

  • Robert Eason

    I saw a small very dense tree/shrub that grows in Ca called manzanita. I was told that there are 2 species of this tree 1 in southern and 1 in northern Ca. My question is can someone confirm this and where can I get some of this? I know the pieces if available will be small it that’s fine. Thanks for any and all info. Also great database and it has been very helpful especially the weights

    • ejmeier

      I’m not sure about all of the different species, but I just picked up a piece of Manzanita off of ebay this week, and I’ve now added it to the site.
      http://www.wood-database.com/manzanita/

  • Robert,
    I’m not sure about all of the different species, but I just picked up a piece of Manzanita off of ebay this week, and I’ve now added it to the site.
    http://www.wood-database.com/manzanita/

  • Bob

    Hi. I have inherited a dresser. I think it is solid oak but don’t really know. The joints are not machine made, no veneer and no wood filler. Any help identifying wood type and age would be appreciated.

  • Richard

    Looks like English Oak

  • Bob

    Thanks Richard. Care to give your considered opinion as to the age of this dresser? Bob

  • melissa

    Hi there

    I love this website! I am new to the wood scene. I need to ascertain what type of wood my floorboards are as parts of need repair. I have done some research however will the original lacquer – I am assume layers of varnish lacquer.

    I believe it may be oak, as it has quite distinct knots, cracks, burrs. I am not sure if I am right? I am on the east coast of Australia so I am not sure if it is a native oak? I don’t think so.

    Would it be possible to identify the wood??

    Mant thanks

    Melissa

  • Tom Lewis

    Anyone know what kind of wood this might be?

  • Lisa Bishop

    Hi, I have inherited this cabinet and trying to work out what typ of wood it is – any ideas ?

  • @Melissa: Sorry, I’m not very familiar with Australian woods; it certainly doesn’t look like regular oak (Quercus spp.) Would have to see an endgrain closeup to get a better idea.

    @Tom: Hard to tell definitively from the picture, but my guess would be red oak. Again, endgrain closeups might yield a better ID.

    @Lisa: My guess would be some sort of Mahogany. It certainly doesn’t look like any common domestic wood from the US.

  • Melissa

    Eric thanks for your assistance.

    I found out my floors are Ironbark, locally found.

    So very happy about that.

    Cheers

    Mel

  • Mary C

    Hi all,

    I recently bought an old desk and am trying to determine the type of wood used on it. I know that the desk is pre-1940s and it was manufactured in Shelbyville, IN if it helps. I know that there are at least two types of wood used on this desk. Originally, there was a leather/rubber linoleum cover on the top of the desk. Unfortunately the top was in such bad shape that I had to strip it off to the wood underneath. This wood is definitely a different type than the rest, which makes up the frame of the desk. I’m interested in both wood types so that I can hopefully stain them to (at least kind of) match. Anyone have thoughts on what types of wood these are?

    Thanks so much!!

    Mary

  • Mary C

    Sorry all-it would only let me upload one image at once…

  • Ted

    Melissa,

    Your wood looks like mahogany, which is not always red – However, being from Austrialia, it could be a variety of eucalyptus (lyptus for short) that is being sold nowdays out of South America. The alternating bands of grain in lyptus mimic mahogany quite well, and I’ve even seen pallets made out of lyptus loaded up with Brazilian ceramic tile. (a chore to tear apart, but beautiful when planed). Lyptus can vary in color from creams, pale pink, red/browns, and dark browns – sometimes in one board.

  • Bill McLean

    Tom Lewis – Those are oak boards in that drawer.

  • Aimee

    Hello! I need some help identifying the wood of this table I purchased at Salvation Army. I love the thing, but what I didn’t realize at the time my husband and I wouldn’t be able to sit with our legs under it. (I’m 6′, he’s 6’5″) and now need to add bun feet to it. I want to make the right choice in woods- or get close!

    Thank you for your time!!
    Aimee M

  • Aimee

    I thought perhaps a second shot might be useful;

  • Bill McLean

    Aimee – the grain and patterns look like oak. White oak perhaps?

  • Bill McLean

    Mary C – can you uplod another pic?

  • Aimee

    Thank you for the info- I’ll go with that. Now to decide on shape for bun feet & refinishing process…

    Thanks & have a Merry Christmas!

  • Sergio Cabrera

    Hello,
    If some one help in identified of the old of this cabinet. I am replaced the hinges because falling be self and looks like is made by hand the wood is Cain a brown very hard to set nail or screws and looks like is over 100 years old

  • Becki

    Can you help me to identify the wood of these hammock chairs? I bought them at Del Mar Fair in San Diego from a man from Mexico. They say on the side they are from Yucatan. As you can see there are areas that are light and others that are darker. We purchased them to use outdoors and I want to be sure to care for them properly. I have more pics if you need. Thanks!

  • Sharon

    This is a photo of the wall paneling and built in cabinets in my dining room, built in 1913. People have told me it’s made of Tiger Oak, but the original Specifications for the house say the wood for the dining room is suppose to be birch. Could that be birch?

  • Elisabeth from Oz

    Hello,
    I recently picked up a chest of drawers with solid carved bottoms to the drawers instead of ply so I think it is pretty old. I think it is a soft wood as I can press my nail mark in to it. I would love to know what it is. It is very silky to touch. I am trying to strip off the horrid veneer hopefully without destroying it.
    Please help me identify this.
    Great site btw

  • Elisabeth from Oz

    sorry horrid paint not veneer. also it is more pale than this photo shows as there is some oil on it here. the mark where the handle was is more like its natural colour. also it has many pin knots.

  • Sharon, that’s a classic example of oak. Definitely not Birch.

  • Bill McLean

    @ Sharon – the wood on the floor could be birch. The wood on the drawres, etc is def not birch.

  • Ted

    Becki,

    Is your chair heavy? If so, that could be Epi, and if it is, you don’t need do anything to it, but you could put a waterproofer on it, and it wouldn’t hurt. Over time, in the sun, it may tend to gray, at that point, light sanding and stain will keep it looking good (no matter what kind of wood it is).

    Sharon,

    Definitely not birch. Looks like a quarter sawn oak, but what really nice patterns!

    Liz from Oz,

    Looks like teak to me, or very light colored mahogany, hard to tell from the photo. I think teak might be more likely with pin knots than mahogany. The alternating bands of grain lend credence to either choice, the smooth to the touch also would lean toward teak, but not the soft enough to score with a fingernail – teak is usually pretty dense. You may need a closer photo & other input.
    If it’s really old, the finish may be shelac (made from beetle carapaces….eeww), which can be removed with denatured alcohol and a shop cloth. Spray on and wipe with new face of cloth each wipe to remove the shelac.

  • Heather

    Hello,
    Thanks for a great article, however my inexperienced eye still can’t differentiate figure out what kind of wood my TV cabinet is. I’ve been trying to match it to internet pictures of common furniture woods, but that isn’t working for me either. Could you help me out?

  • Albie venter

    hi
    what type of wood can i use with rodesein teak?
    it must be more alike when its oiled
    any help
    thanks
    Albie venter

  • Becki

    Ted,
    Thank you SO VERY MUCH for your help. I will take care of them (I have two) exactly as you suggested. I have been reading online that outdoor woods should be covered when not in use. Once I put a waterproofer on them do I need to cover them as well? Living in SoCal it only rains about 2 months out of the year so we don’t have to worry about it too much.
    ~B

  • Bill McLean

    @ Heather – the wood on top of the desk is definitely oak. The doors’ frames are something else though…

  • Bill McLean

    @ Heather – Take a closer pic of the door frame and I’ll take another look.. the door insets are def oak…

  • Ted

    Becki,

    Whether or not you waterproof them, covering would drastically reduce the graying effect of the Sun’s UV light. In Florida, you’d get mildew & mold if you covered them – you’ll have to use the trial & error method during your “rainy” season where you live. Olympic makes a good waterproofer that’s not as expen$ive as the over-advertised “name brand” water sealer.

    Heather,

    You have ‘bookended’ veneers on the top and doors – a nifty effect where the grains are mirror-images of each other. This is done by shearing the 1/16th (or less) veneer off of a board, rather than off of a rotating log, and putting two (matching – one piece shows the back of the veneer, the other shows the front – so they’re identical, but mirrored) veneers side-by-side like you do with sliced bread when you make a sandwich, (so that the crust shape matches). The veneers on the top are about 4″ wide, but your cabinet doors really stand out, because they’ve put the grain of the wood at a 45 degree angle (you lose some wood in the trimming, but it makes for a dramatic effect).

    I tried saving the image you posted and opening it with another application. (The resulting image is about 10 times bigger than what shows on this webpage), and I’m going to change my original identification (and agreement with Bill) from a choice of Oak (147 varieties in North America) or possibly Ash, to Douglas Fir. Or, it’s oak on the top, and fir on the doors. Although with all the imported goodies we can get now (Scan Design), it could all be some Norwegian Alpine conifer. If the wood is fairly soft, it might be from some kind of pine/spruce/hemlock/fir. Hard to tell hardness with veneers, because the wood (inside) that you can get to is a base, or secondary wood (usually) of a different species (like Bass or Poplar) than the pretty stuff outside that shows.

  • Ted

    SUGGESTION TO ALL PEOPLE SUBMITTING PHOTOS:

    Include a CLOSE-UP of about a 4″ square area along with the photo from 5 feet back. A lot of the identification technique of wood species is being able to see the individual pores and structure of the wood and how close together the grain is. I would examine a piece of wood from about 6 inches away from my eyes if I was there with the wood. It’s kind of unfair to ask people to identify your wood from across the room.

  • Elisabeth from Oz

    Thank you Ted. Where would all us wood noobs be without this data base.

  • Niku

    Thank you for this great site! I couldn´t identify my wood though and I would like to know what this is…
    Colour is quite right, it´s dense and have some pleasant odour when working with it. Picture shows a same 10cm long piece from two angles.

  • Lina

    Hi all, we’re trying to figure out if our kitchen cabinets are maple or oak… What do you think?

    Thanks for all your input!

  • Greg

    I would like someone to help me out on identifying this furniture. Thanks!

  • Greg

    I have another piece that needs to be identified. Thanks again.

  • Mike

    Hard for to tell with this funny angle. Thoughts?

  • Niku

    @Lina:
    Looks like oak to me, maple has far less pattern.

    And then self-answered to my own question: that sample is Cumaru. Wonderful wood, leaves nice surface!

  • Brett Anderson

    Can someone help identify the wood from the back of this coffee table? My dad brought it back from Japan, WWll. The top is stained and varnished over and am wondering how far I should go in stripping it.Thank you!!

  • Keryn Johnson

    Hi, we are wanting to build a front door that gets lots of exposure to harsh Australian sun in an Australian hardwood. We are in a BAL fire area of 19 and we are wanting the door to be arched t the top. Its measurements are: 900mm x 2.4m and is 45mm thick. The house is going to be rendered in a lemon colour. Do you have any suggestions for an appropriate wood. If so, we’d love to know your thoughts. There’s a photo of the door attached.

  • Scott Baker

    We are trying to identify this wood from a water tank build by the Great Northern Railroad around 1900, I have been told it was made of clear redwood or cedar. I will add two more pictures to follow. Thanks in advance.

  • Scott Baker

    Here is a shot of the end grain.

  • Scott Baker

    And here is a picture of the tank itself

  • Bill McLean

    Lina
    January 10th, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Hi all, we’re trying to figure out if our kitchen cabinets are maple or oak… What do you think?

    Thanks for all your input!

    That is absolutely oak cabinetry. :)

  • Jack

    I bought this pepper grinder from a man in a flea market who was a teacher doing the market for additional income during the summer months. It was toward the end of the day and he was talking really fast – he told me this is this special kind of wood used prior to 1910 and I totally didn’t recall the type. This pepper grinder works really well and it was a really great price. Can you identify?

  • Matej

    Which veneers are used here?
    i can only recognize the rose leafs – maple.
    Background-?
    and the stem .. looks like somekind of walnut?
    pls help i want to make this marquetry but i need to buy the certain veneers. if any other good combination pls tell :P
    thanks!

  • Susan

    Hi, just purchased this sideboard – was told it was made around 1900s and is a family piece (his family originated in Nova Scotia). I think it’s mahogany .. can anyone confirm?

  • Jacqueline

    Hello,
    I’ve been trying to figure out what kind of wood this is. Any ideas?

  • Samuel Dykes

    I am trying to identify the wood used to manufacture the card table with Queen Anne style legs. Any suggestions?
    Thanks

  • Dooooooglas

    Any idea on this ?
    ;-)~

  • Susan

    Hi there – following up on my sideboard, posted Jan 23. Walnut, not mahogany, from several opinions.

    I was thrown by the colour, and by the ‘flame’ on the front of the piece – it didn’t look like burl walnut I’ve seen before.

    But I love this website, and I’ll keep reading (and learning!)

  • Brad S

    I Have dismantled a couple of old bi-fold louvered closet doors, thinking they were mahogany. The grain was close, and so was the color, until they were sanded, now it is a blonde color. The stuff tools easy too, I wanted to use it for bracing on a mandolin, but I need to know what it is first. Any input would greatly appreciated. The top two are what I started with, the bottom are after cutting.

  • Ted

    Brad,

    It’s mahogany if the doors are fairly old, if they’re new, it could be eucalyptus, but most likely not. We Western Worlders are used to Mahogany and Cherry being a red color, because traditionally, that’s the STAIN that the woodworkers put on those woods to make them a uniform color. Mahogany right out of the tree runs from blonde as spruce, thru pinks, reds, and browns. Cherry can be blonde thru a medium brown that mellows darker as it’s exposed to light over the years. All the wood species have a particular “look” that furniture makers in the past copied from each other, like old oak furniture is either a very dark brown, or a honey color, but it starts out very light or pinkish (white oak & red oak). Black walnut is very dark, and many craftsmen would stain lighter walnut pieces to look darker, all a bit of artwork, since the wood is purple when it is newly planed.

  • Brad S

    Thank you. I have been rebuilding guitars for a few years now, and honestly being driven quite crazy by the stains they put on. Just my taste. So glad i found your forum, thanks again.

  • Ted

    Brad,

    HAH…LOL.
    This isn’t MY forum, I’m just a guest here like you, trying to share some knowledge with the masses. I do wish people would get in CLOSER to the wood with the photos, like macrophotography.
    Hey, I’ve got it. All you submitters put a ladybug on your furniture, and take a photo so that the ladybug is as big as a pingpong ball. That will be close enough to make out what the wood is.

  • Ted

    Scott,

    It’s cedar.

  • Shannon

    Hi guys need help please
    Can u help me identify please

  • Shannon

    And this please this is one of the legs it is very heavy

  • Ashleigh

    Can anyone tell me what kind of wood this may be. It’s from an old dresser. I have tried matching it to pictures on the Internet but I just can’t. I know nothing about wood at all. I can upload a picture of more of it if needed. Thanks for your help!!

  • Ted

    Ashleigh, quarter sawn oak.
    Rather than cut the boards out of a tree on so that the width of the board is perpendicular to the radius, your boards were cut with the width parallel to the radius of the log – like blades on a propeller, sticking out from the center of the tree, as one would look down on the log as a circle. Regular boards are cut like the sides of a box surrounding the circle of the center of the tree.

    Shannon, let me apologize in advance – If you want help with identification, you should take a picture of each from about 7′ closer to the furniture. (See January 7th above) Right now I’d say it’s either walnut, cherry, birch, pecan, elm, or maple. No way to tell what the wood is from the other side of the room. Treat your next photo of your table like you were trying to show a fingerprint on the wood. That’s really what we need, an image of soul of the wood, not a photo of a brown thing leaning on your brick wall. Look at Ashleigh’s photo above, yes, she got a little flash challenged, but you can see the veins & pores of her wood (actually the zylem & phloem) – and that’s what it takes for identification.
    Put a dollar bill on your table. Frame your picture to have the bill go edge to edge in your viewfinder. Remove the bill & snap the photo. Take it with a camera, not your phone. Maybe take the furniture outside in bright sunlight, so that your flash doesn’t go off and obscure what you’re photographing.

  • Bill

    @ Ashleigh
    February 9th, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    Can anyone tell me what kind of wood this may be. It’s from an old dresser. I have tried matching it to pictures on the Internet but I just can’t. I know nothing about wood at all. I can upload a picture of more of it if needed. Thanks for your help!!

    That is “quarter sawn” oak. Oak wood. :)

  • Bill

    @ Brad S – I would guess Birch…

  • Ashleigh

    Thank you so much for uour answers bill and ted! Amazed that people can identify wood from just a picture. Is being “quarter sawn” good for furniture? I have a few other pieces i will need to seek help with at a later date too :)

  • Ted

    Ashleigh,

    I don’t know that there any appreciable difference in strength, 1/4 sawn wood just looks differently in some species than in others. Rather than looking at the “piping” system of the tree one way like Lina’s photo of Jan 10th, your boards are cut perpendicular (90 degrees, thus “quarter” of a circle – sawn) to the way her’s were, exposing the interesting lighter colored wavy bands as the “piping” system of the tree that carries water & nutrients are cut on their longitudinal axis. Oak lends itself to this kind of cutting, because it has large zylem & phloem “pores”.

  • Samuel

    I am trying to identify what type of wood this is before I try and sell the table. Can anybody help. I previously thought mahogany but I am now thinking it maybe a cope and cheaper material has been used. Thanks.

  • Ted

    Samuel,

    Eucalyptus (Lyptus in the furniture trade) looks a lot like mahogany, and is grown in sustainable resource farms to replace rainforest hardwoods like mahogany.
    I can’t say for sure if that’s what your table is made out of, since there are about 137 varieties of Lyptus, Thank you for taking a closeup photo. There are a lot of exotic woods out there that I can’t identify.

  • Samuel

    Thanks Ted for your advice, you are probably right unfortunately, I did hope it was mahogany.

  • Wanda

    Can anybody tell me what wood these chairs are, they have a sticker that says made in Italy??

  • Jim Sanders

    The piece I’m working WON’T take stain….using a dark walnot….the wood has lines all through it white (light color)….dining room table and chairs…..has a 6 inch spot…burned smear….something spilled on it…..after I sanded the spot….NOW I can’t stain it or match it…ANY IDEAS out there…..very close grain with light lines on it dark wood….again it looks like walnut….Just can’t get rid of the spot (circle on table)….tried everything….Jim

  • Shirley Alves

    Hello,
    Can you help me identify the type of wood used in this table? Many thanks.

  • Ted

    Wanda,

    Take a closer photo. Looks like maple from back here across the Mediterranean Sea. Look at Samuel’s photo above yours. Get that close.

    Jim,
    Black Walnut that we know and love is the center section of the tree or heartwood. The sapwood is whitish. Depending on how they cut the boards, and edge-joined them, you could have white lines out in the field of dark wood. If the wood is burned, you’ll have to plane or sand down the whole table to get past the burnt spot. I don’t know about staining it, you’ll might lose the white lines – staining them brown. Sounds pretty neat. Post a photo of it.

    Shirley,

    Rotary cut Birch veneer plywood.

  • Wanda

    Ted, thanks for reply, here is another picture. Hope it is clear enough. Thank You

  • Debra

    Hi Ted,

    I really enjoy this site. This is a custom made that I bought at an estate sale. I am unable to identify the wood. This is the view from the top. I am unsure if this is the natural color or a stain. Sorry about the glare. Any ideas?

    Many thanks,

    Deb

  • Alice

    Hello,
    I am having a really hard time identifying wood. The object I have taken the sample from is quite brittle but I have tried my best to get as thin samples as possible on the microscope slides.
    I know that it is a softwood and it’s origin in Austria. Could be a spruce, fir or pine? Can anyone make something of the image?
    Many thanks in advance.
    A.

  • Alice

    Are the following section images of more information? Unfortunately I couln’t get any better photographs.

  • Alice

    And another one.

  • William

    Hi, im selling this Buffet and Hutch and im just wondering wether it is Jarrah or something else. Not 100% sure. Can somebody please help me out.

  • William

    Another picture.

  • Ted

    DISCLAIMER:

    This is NOT my website, I’m just a carpenter /cabinetmaker / general contractor who stumbled onto this site and have answered some of your questions to the best of my ability. Usually there are more people than me responding. Maybe I need to get a life.

  • Ted

    Wanda – good close-up. Italy…. maybe it’s olive wood, I’m not sure, looks like Ash if it is heavy and dense, if light-weight it could be Birch, which isn’t seen in solid pieces often in the USA, usually in veneers, you need more respondents than just me.

    Debra – I’m going with Pecan, since you said Estate sale and because of all the dark speckles, though it could be Walnut.

    Alice – looking at the DNA structure on the 4th chromosome and comparing the gene sequencing near the telemere structures……
    My Gawd – I created a monster! LOL
    I keep asking for closeups and you’ve provided an electron microscope image at x100,000 power!
    Maybe, Alice, and you sound so earnest, so I don’t want to stifle your scientific approach, but just take two closeups with a regular $150 digital camera from about 6 & 12 inches away, and then an overall shot from a few feet back. At these extreme enlargements you’ve provided, just about all species of wood are going to look identical to bamboo or a nicely packed colony of algae.

    William, this may have more than one species involved. The back-boards look like Ponderosa Pine, but the photo of the door frame looks like Hemlock or Douglas Fir.

  • William

    Could you still help me out seeing as you are a carpenter please

  • @Wanda: The second picture you posted looks completely different from the first; if I was only going by the second picture, I’d guess Beech. It’s commonly used in Europe, and is very commonly used in steam bent parts, especially chair backs.

    @William: Unless you have some reason to seriously suspect Jarrah, I’d say it’s most likely a softwood. I think it’d be quite difficult to guess the species without knowing more information. I’m not even sure if that’s the natural wood color — I’d guess no.

  • Alice

    Anyone able to help? Many thanks in advance. A.

  • Alice

    Excuse me, I’ve overread your Post Ted.

  • Alice

    I hope the following images are of any good. I have only just removed the paint and varnish off the panels. The wood has still marks all over so I’m not sure whether any conclusion can be made at this point.

  • Alice

    And the back.

  • Ralph

    I need help identifying this door. It’s from a house built in 1914 in NJ.

  • Ralph

    Here is another pic.

  • Ted

    Alice,

    I don’t know for sure. The panels look older than Noah, was the piece of furniture in a flood? One thing that’s got me stumped is the age. If the wood was from virgin timber, the growth rings would be closer together, they aren’t so it’s from 2nd or 3rd growth forest, where the trees grew faster, and the rings are further apart. There’s a lot of erosion on the wood, and the dovetails look hand-cut, adding to the impression of age. I’d guess Birch or Spruce, but if the wood was a little more reddish-brown it could be Fir or Hemlock. Hard to tell with the damage on the surface – the wear and staining. Need other self-proclaimed experts to chime in.
    OK, I’ve reread your first posting, and you say it’s from Austria. That explains the age and the growth rings. Europe was deforested long ago, so most all wood in the past 500 years isn’t from virgin timber. Also that leans me more toward Birch or Spruce. Fir & Hemlock are more North American woods. Spruce has been used in Europe to make all kinds of things (like Stratavarious violins). The weight might give a clue – Spruce is very light-weight and is a softwood, Birch is one of the softer hardwoods, but still should be a bit denser than Spruce. The difference would be about the same as an equally sized piece of styrofoam compared to solid cardboard.
    Suggestion: Take a panel to your local lumberyard or big-box store (HD or Lowes) and compare it to a Spruce 2×4 or 2×6 and then to a piece of Birch plywood that is side-matched veneer, not rotary cut. (That means the factory glued boards together and then sliced the 1/16th of an inch veneer off of the slab one layer at a time, rotary cut means they spun a log and shaved the veneer off in a gradually shrinking spiral.) See which one looks the closest to your wood.
    I’m going to make my best guess as it being Spruce.

  • @Ralph: Very hard to tell since it looks like a softwood. Looks like it’s stained and that’s not its natural color. Possibly Eastern White Pine? Possible a cedar? Check for a scent on a freshly milled piece if you have access to a scrap/expendable piece.

    @Alice/Ted: From the microscope endgrain with the neatly ordered rows of cells indicates a softwood. Definitely not birch. I’m just thrown off by the dark material in the cells, which I hope/guess is just a residue of stain/varnish that was on the wood. The easiest thing you could do is to check the endgrain for resin canals. Read about them here: http://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/softwood-anatomy/
    Big and frequent canals would suggest pine.
    Small and infrequent canals would suggest spruce.
    No canals would suggest fir.

  • Ted

    Ralph – I vote for cedar, too. Hard to tell from the photos you submitted.

  • Alan Hall

    I am doing a total update of my boat. I wood like to replace the bulkheds (walls)with cherry. Unfortunately cherry is too expensive. Is there a plywood with a grain pattern similar to cherry, I could stain to look like cherry but is cheaper?

  • Ben

    Hello,

    I was told this is a “dry sink” when it was given to me by a relative.

    I’m considering refinishing and am curious as to:
    A) what type of wood it might be
    B) whether there is any perceived antique value that might be lost by me messing with it

    Thanks in advance,
    Ben

  • Ben

    Oh and I’m writing from Australia which is why the pic is upside down.

  • Ted

    Alan,

    You can stain birch plywood to look like cherry, either the dark brown of natural cherry or the reddish traditional cherry stain. Found at your local home improvement store.
    Stain first, satin or gloss marine varnish or polyurethane second.

  • jenan

    About to purchase this lovely piece, and have it refinished. seller thinks oak I think mahogany , any ideas, also does anyone know anything about this style of table. The leafs are on the end and lift up into place as well, extending to 8 feet.

  • jenan

    a second pic of same above

  • Ted

    Again, people posting photos – take a CLOSEUP!
    WIthout the surface of the wood being obscured by glare from your flash.
    It’s hard to tell from 8 feet away what the species of wood is.
    Would you hold a gem 2 feet away from the appraiser?
    No, he looks at it with a loupe at 10X magnification.
    That said,

    jenan – it’s most likely mahogany, but there is a possibility that it could be teak. The only reason I’m leaning a little bit that way, is because it’s not the typical color that most mahogany is stained – which is usually darker and redder. Teak is typically medium to dark brown. Nice touch the carpenter used, end-matching the boards on the extension to the boards on the table.
    (The first photo is a nice picture of a table, but totally unsuitable for identification purposes, which is why you posted your question. The second one is a tiny bit better, and since mahogany has such a very distinctive pattern, it’s possible to make an educated guess from insufficient data & come up with a reasonable answer.)
    Beautiful table, buy it. Why are you thinking of refinishing it? It may just need to be sanded lightly, and another coat of finish applied, if you’re just trying to eliminate surface mars and scratches. I don’t know that I’d trust many to strip and sand it down to bare wood. Especially if it doesn’t really need it. You might end up paying an equal amount to refinish it as to what you paid for it. How much ARE you paying for it?

  • jenan

    it’s a steal, owner has accepted offer of $700. It’s my g/f purchasing, but I found it and negotiated, I have antique mahogany pieces from 1920 at home so yes this stain threw me off . It actually looks like a honey red. Owner thought it was oak, I leaned to mahogany. It doesn’t appear to be teak. It’s quite heavy. I agree a light sand and another coat of finish. It has one small scratch but I think that will take care of it. Friend has new house and wants everything pretty. sorry about pics all I had available at the time. will send you finished product pic and confirmation from re-finisher of wood and period it is from. He is 3rd generation 35 yrs experienced.

  • jenan

    ps , if i click on thumbnail of my pics, it comes up enlarged, maybe that is peculiar to my mac, but i thought maybe on page as well

  • Mark Herigstad

    I had all but given up finding the quintessential book of woods when it struck me that I had a computer, so I went on line and found your site. It all BUT provides me with what I am looking for; specifically I am looking for a book that has color pix of both the bark, and the wood grain, where that particular tree grows, whether it is soft or hard wood, what the expense would be(by foot – 2″ x 4″) for a particui-lar wood, etc. In general, ALL the information a carpenter would require in choosing a particular wood grain for a project. I picture in my minds eye the left side of the page providing all the informa-tion a carpenter needs to know, and on the right side one or more color pix of the grain itself. I grant you, such a book would be a carpenter’s dream to have, especially for a new and budding would be carpenter; and not to leave out that creating such a book would be rather thick (unless the creator of such a book breaks it up into several books based on ‘softwood, hardwood, etc. In the meantime, do any carpenter’s out there know of anything book-like that would contain all the info I have said here, yet cover several hundred species of trees? I have been an occasional carpenter for more than 40 years and I really would enjoy getting my hands on such a book. Again, is there a carpenter out there that knows if such a book exists? And the approximate cost of library of books? Thank You!
    P.S.#1: I have NOT tried going to “Angie’s List” first. I do not believe she has the book I have in mind. P.S.#2: I DO NOT understand the browser box matter (jpg format … I have NO idea what that means. I DO NOT have an understanding of computer languages and I am barely able to get around anything but YouTube. Modern tech is killing me!)
    Again – Thank You!

  • Ted

    Jenan – Wow! Scoop it up for $700, for sure.
    Mahogany has a big tangental swirl of grain surrounded on both sides by reversing bands of grain, looks like opposite one way streets parallel to each other, a rather peculiar thing mahogany does. That’s what I see from your second photo, even from the distance. And yes, my MacMini opens the photos into a bigger window than the photo posted on the page. I see six edge-joined boards making up your (almost) table. The craftsman that made it used 8′ boards , cutting 1 foot off of each end after they were joined to make the extensions, with the middle 6′ making up the main table, so that when you pull the extensions out, you are looking at the original 8′ boards (again).
    Glad you agree on the light sanding & finish coat. Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke is always good advice.

    Mark – Amazon.com
    I’d recommend #1 & #3, but they’re probably all good.
    #1 is how it (the wood) got that way, what it does (for the tree, and for use in construction or furniture), and has a lumber section
    #3 is how to identify species, probably has bark & leaf photos or renderings along with closeups of the end-grain, tangental cuts, and quarter sawn cuts (if it’s a species that lends itself to having a radically different appearance in quarter sawn, like Oak – see Ashleigh’s photo Feb 7th above.)
    #5 is spiral-bound, it will lay flat.

    Understanding Wood: A Craftsman’s Guide to Wood Technology by R. Bruce Hoadley (Oct 1, 2000)
    $39.95 $31.09 Hardcover
    Usually ships in 1 to 2 months
    $16.91 Kindle Edition

    Wood: Identification & Use (Revised & Expanded) by Terry Porter (Feb 1, 2007)
    $19.99 new (13 offers) $19.98 used (22 offers)

    Wood Identification & Use (Compact Edition): A Field Guide to More than 200 Species by Terry Porter (Feb 21, 2012)
    $24.95 $18.96 Paperback

    The Encyclopedia of Wood by U.S. Department of Agriculture (Apr 1, 2007)
    $19.95 $15.00 Paperback
    $9.99 Kindle Edition

    The Real Wood Bible: The Complete Illustrated Guide to Choosing and Using 100 Decorative Woods by Nick Gibbs (Jan 12, 2012)
    $19.95
    $13.30 Paperback
    Spiral-bound

    • Rajat

      There are two sets of wood pictures I’m posting. This is set 1 – all
      are images of the same one from different distances to help make
      identification easier. Need help to identify the wood.
      Do let me know in case images are unclear or better images are required.

  • Ted

    Mark – oh, yeah, since you’re computerly challenged, Kindle is Amazon’s pet electronic book, you (buy one, then) download the electronic version of the book, and their proprietary software turns it back into a book on their iPad looking machine. You can still read when the power goes off at night, and it’s cheaper than paper.

  • Dileep

    Great website…very useful. Much thanks.
    I am buying a house and the kitchen cabinets have wood that look like this. Can anyone help identify what it is made of?
    Appreciate it.

  • Ted

    Dileep,

    Another photo from 12 feet away.
    Your cabinets appear to be made of rotary cut oak veneer plywood – pre 1973.
    I hope you’re getting a good price on the house and intend to gut this kitchen and remodel with professional design assistance. Shrink the window & sink down to 36″ and gain some cabinet and drawer space. Greenhouse windows are attractive & useful for growing herbs.

  • Dileep

    Ted,
    Thanks. I will get more detailed pics today. I wanted to get quick opinions from a few people before I actually signed the contract. My price was based on hoping it can be salvaged. Im rethinking now.
    Im guessing oak veneer on plywood was a cheap solution when they originally put it in.

  • Rich

    Hi, any idea what type of wood this is?
    Any help appreciated. I bought in Australia but they claim the wood is from Vietnam.

  • Rich

    Again the same table above. A different shot

  • Rich

    Hi,
    A shot took further away including one of the chairs.
    Any help greatly appreciated.

  • Ted

    Just a stab in the dark – teak or dark stained mahogany.
    Please, need asian wood expert to chime in.
    The first photo is very grainy & has flash glare in it, hard to identify wood.
    The second photo is out of focus and grainy, no help at all.
    The third photo is also very grainy and slightly out of focus, better, but still no positive ID
    Look at William’s 2nd photo above from 3/10, clear, close, and sharp.

  • Rich

    Hi Ted,

    Thanks for your comment. I have used another camera hopefully this is a better shot of one of the chairs. Is there a good chance this is mahogany then?

  • Alice

    Eric and Ted,
    Many thanks for your help and your effort!

  • Ted

    Rich
    Great photo. I have NO idea what this is. NOT mahagony or teak.
    Need expert Asian wood guy to put in several cents worth of opinion.
    Beautiful wood, though.
    Whatever it is, it’s name is going to be mostly vowels.

    Alice
    You’re very welcome.
    I heard a story of a WWII vet (a violin maker as a civilian) who while in Italy during the war, removed some beams from a bombed out cathedral. He mailed himself (or his parents) some 3′ sections of 8″x16″ beams. When he returned home he used this 400 year old spruce to fashion violin fronts and backs, and when complete, they were the buzz of the violin world, as they sounded like Stratavarious violins. Most likely explanation: the spruce wood was the same in the beams (same time period, same forest, maybe same tree) as what Mr Strat. had used in his violins. So maybe NOT the maker, but the WOOD makes the difference!

  • Rich

    Ted,

    Thanks for the comments hopefully someone has the answer out there.

  • Carrie

    Hi y’all, I so appreciate that you’re generously sharing your knowledge with us. That said, thoughts on this veneer? Will send a closer photo in the next post.

  • Carrie

    Another one of the same piece

  • Bruce Caulkins

    Hi,
    I live in south Florida.I do commercial and residential remodeling.Because of this my passion is to recreate my home into a 50’s-60’s style home,much with reclaimed materials.I recently acquired 2 sets of matching french doors,and a very unique one of a kind functional louvered door.The style tells me that they were made 40,to early 60’s.They don’t appear to have any finish applied,yet they were on the exterior of a home on the water.They are rather heavy,very dense and look almost like redwood or possibly cedar-cypress.They sat outside under the overhang at an angle for a couple months before I located the owner and acquired them.They showed absolutely no signs of staining,warping or separation.I want to use them in a new addition at my home,but don’t know how or if they should be treated or finished.The functioning louver has a full louver panel inside that slides up and down to open and close with just a small thumb turn slider in the center.I do no want to do any thing that will interfere with it’s function,as I am going to use it for the master bath.The french doors will be exposed to the elements and I do not want to risk damaging their appearance or water damage at hinges.Is there any way I can identify the wood and preserve the look?

    • stevenharnack

      The USDA Forest Products Laboratory will identify up to 5 wood samples per year per citizen for free. You only need to send them a toothpick sized sample and their website will instruct you on the best way to do this. See, government CAN work for you!

  • Ted

    Carrie – you (and others) haven’t quite gotten the idea on submitting a photo that shows the GRAIN of the wood. You’ve got a lot of glare on the 2nd photo, the 1st photo is too far away, but good to show overall appearance. You asked for ID on veneer then show a closeup of a fluted column on corner, yet the veneer is nearly unrecognizable – being out of focus on the small panel and large drawer. There is a hint in the edge of the top, the fluted column and the rosette – because they are so plain (grain-wise), that lends themselves to being maple.
    Overcoming the deficiencies of the photo, I’m going to say you have a maple burl bookend-matched veneer just from the overall appearance in Photo 1.
    The original chunk of wood came from the part of the tree where the trunk diverged off into many branches. As these branches grew in diameter, they grew into each other, and the bark was absorbed by the tree at those junctures, causing the darker areas of the wood. All of those limbs joining into the trunk made wild swirls of grain with few knots where other limbs may have started. There could be tiny knots from shoots that never formed into a limb (those are called bird’s eyes) because they got absorbed by the merger of the bigger main limbs.
    Bookend matching means when the panels making up the front of your piece were shaved into veneers from the original block of wood, the carpenter took two pieces that were facing each other (like pages in a book) and joined their edges together in the middle of the drawer, so that left and right sides are mirror images of each other. You should be able to find a tiny hairline joint where this was accomplished in the exact center of each drawer. The top two drawers may have even been double matched – side to side on each drawer, and top to bottom matched between the drawers.
    Take a close-up photo perpendicular to the middle of a drawer, and post that for confirmation by me or others on wood species. Take a drawer out of the dresser. Take it outside – but not necessarily in full sun. Eliminate glare. Put a dollar bill on the middle of the drawer. Turn your camera’s flash function OFF. Focus your camera (not your phone) on the dollar bill so that it fills your viewfinder (if your camera has a “closefocus” setting – use that). Remove the dollar bill. Take the photo. That should get you close enough. For a good ID, a person needs to see the WOOD in perfect detail – not the drawer pulls & rosettes – and not with the grain of the wood obscured by glare or out of focus.
    All that being said, it’s a beautiful piece of furniture. I want it.

  • Ted

    Bruce, I can’t be much help with no photo.
    Whatever the species, you can use a clear wood preservative, Olympic, Cabot, Thompson’s Water Seal (overpriced for 95% mineral spirits & 5% silicone).
    Sounds like (you said it’s heavy) it could be Epi, or Lignum Vitae.
    Cedar (white to brownish red), Cypress (light brown to grey), Redwood (white to reddish brown and dark brown) are all relatively light woods, very soft, you can leave a mark in them with your fingernail.
    Ipe (pronounced “EE-pay”, and also known as Brazilian Walnut) is used thruout the Caribbean without any preservative as furniture, louvers, and deck, dock, and boat parts. It doesn’t float, so throw a door in your pool, if it sinks, its Ipe.
    Ipe doesn’t really like to absorb wood preservatives, it is so dense. Reapply wood sealer before the rainy season yearly.

  • Ted

    Rich, you could have a cypress (if it’s lightweight) or an ebony (if it’s heavy).
    I found this photo of hardwood flooring that looks like your wood, but the website wasn’t much help as it has a made-up name -Kazaar, and I couldn’t determine the real species of it. The site listed Brazilian Koa, Walnut, Cherry, and other species as being this photo.

  • Pieter

    Hi, I got this corner unit. Can you tell me what kind of wood this is and where does it come from? I am from South Africa

  • Pieter

    This is a close up on the wood. Thanks

  • Pieter

    motive

  • Benny

    Hi,
    Someone is offering to sell this table claiming it is Brazilian Rosewood. I really don’t buy that though….looks like walnut to me. Can anyone confirm this?
    Thank in advance!
    B

  • Benny

    A closer view of the grain…

  • @ Benny: I agree with your assessment of walnut. It’s still a very nice table, but stating that it’s Brazilian Rosewood seems a bit… optimistic?
    I remember buying some wood (sight unseen) salvaged from a chair that was supposedly Brazilian Rosewood. It turned out to be Jatoba.

  • Ted

    Benny- the bookend matched pieces around the moulding under the top may be rosewood, but the top itself looks like mahogany to me, without the cherry red stain most pieces have, mahogany is a middle brown color like what you have. Walnut doesn’t have the zig-zaggy stripes your piece shows in the 2nd photo bottom center & right. Mahogany does.

    Pieter – I can’t even guess from the photos you’ve posted. Neat little corner unit, looks like someone has used it hard from the dings on the top surface in the 2nd photo. Maybe a refinisher could tell you what wood it is when you take it there for restoration. Lots of odd woods in Africa we don’t see over here on this side of the puddle.

  • Rich

    Hi Ted,
    The table is very heavy and so are the chairs. Thanks for your comments I guess I will label it as ebony.

  • Mark

    Fisrt of all great site!

    I live in Texas and recently received some old wood from my wife’s grandfather. I am unsure as to the species, and aside from the attached pictures it has a musty smell and contains sap. Any help is greatly appreciated.

  • Mark

    Here is a shot of the endgrain.

  • Ted

    Mark,

    Mahogany

  • Mark,

    I don’t think it’s Mahogany — the pores on the endgrain seem to be too numerous and packed together, and the parencyhma appears too thick in relation to the pore diameter.

    Do you by chance know if the wood was collected locally, or if it was salvaged, or bought, or any other like details? Is the musty smell from possible mold or anything ON the wood, or is it when the wood is being worked — i.e., the wood ITSELF. Also, do you mean that the wood is still exuding sap? Lastly, knowing the approximate weight would help a lot too.
    (It’s nice to see an ID request that’s not from a finished piece, so there’s quite a bit more flexibility and a much better chance of at least getting closer to a positive ID.)

  • Mark

    I think the weight just gave it away. I was thinking it was African Mahogany after looking through your database, but I think the weight just confirmed it, at least I hope. I had to find an online density calculator and put the measurements of a piece that measured 3″x38″x1.125″ with a weight of 3.23 lbs. The resulting calculation is 43.54 lbs/ft3.

    The wood to my knowledge has been stored for years in an old garage workshop in Houston which may be the cause of the smell, but it is certianly more prominate once I cleaned it up on the miter saw and jointer. I only noticed the sap once the wood had been cleaned up, and it is very light.

    I am glad I was able to provide a good picture of the wood. Helps having a professional DSLR with studio lighting :)

  • I asked about the weight to get a rough idea of how heavy the wood was — density really should not be used too precisely for ID’ing. The coefficient of variation for wood density is +/- 10%, and with the middle ground of 44 lbs/ft that you measured, it could be almost anything.
    Basically, all that’s known at this point is that it’s brown, and it’s of medium weight. :)
    I suppose you could *suspect* African Mahogany, but I really haven’t seen a sample with the densely-packed of pores on the endgrain before. If you look at the attached file, you can see a piece of African Mahogany in a higher resolution, which shows the pore density better.

  • Mark

    One more request if I may.

    Can someone confirm if this is sassafras wood. I salvaged this wood from an old dresser that looks like it was built in the 70-80s. I think its sassafras because it has a sweet smell when I cut it and the pores in the endgrain appear to match with your database example.

  • Mark

    Endgrain shot

  • Mark

    Eric, I see what you mean. The pores are less packed on your example, which is an awesome high resolution scan.

  • Johan

    I found this 3″ x 9″ x 18″ piece of wood in a dumpster when i was collecting firewood. I would like to know what it is so that i can get more because this wood is absolutelly fantastic to work with! It sands to an almost shiny surface so there’s almost no open pores. It darkens quite a bit when I apply Liberon finishing oil, wich it soaks up fast, especially at the end grain. It’s quite heavy even though it’s been dried inside for over 2 years now. The sawdust has a orange colour and the cut surface is almost shiny when cut with a good blade. Living in Norway I’m used to work with arctic pine and birch but this is something completely different. Could it be walnut? It doessent look as dark as most walnut gunstocks I’ve oiled and it feels like it’s harder. You have to try hard to scratch it with your fingernail. Dont know what it’s been used for or where it comes from but one side of the end grain had this wierd cutpattern, like it had been worked on with a very small v-shaped chisel all over the endgrain. Hope someone can tell what this is as I really hope to get more of this beautiful wood. More pictures here: http://s1337.photobucket.com/user/Duplex35/library/Wood

  • Johan,
    Thank you for those excellent pictures and thorough description.
    From your photobucket pictures, it appears to be a fruitwood (Rosaceae family). Based on your location, I think the most likely suspect would be Pear.
    http://www.wood-database.com/pear/
    It could also possibly be Wild Cherry.
    http://www.wood-database.com/wild-cherry/
    Perhaps someone that is familiar with the bark of these trees could help shed further light…

  • Mark,
    That second sample might be Sassafras, but the arrangement of the latewood pores in bands is more indicative of Elm than anything. Or it might be Hackberry, which has a similar pattern, and can have a mild scent too.

  • Bill

    Johan, color and bark, looks like cherry wood. The knot makes it prettier, but it looks like cherry…

  • Johan

    I’ve been out sanding the end grain and taken some new pictures. I put a math on the endgrain to help determine size. I’ve also read up on different woods types here on the database and managed to rule out some that I had suspected. I wish I could weigh the piece but I don’t have a scale nor a moisture meter.
    Conclusions so far: The wood is heavy although very dry. It has dense grain. It sands to a almost gloss finish, endgrain sands to gloss. Doessen’t smell. Has some wavy patterning and dark streaks. Colour is medium reddish brown and gets darker towards the centre. Just under the bark, about 1/2 inch has much lighter yellowish or pinkish colour. My best guess so far is that it’s Maple. I’ve learned today that Sycamore Maple is infact known to grow north of the Arctic Circle in Norway. So it could be a tree that has grown here locally. The other possibility is that it was shipped here and then it could be anything. “Wild Cherry” would be my next best bet. I dont think any of the other woods mentioned by Eric and Bill grow in Norway but then again, that doessen’t rule them out. Thank you very much for your response to this by the way! I’ll go tree hunting this weekend and see what (if any) trees I can find here other than the arctic birch, spruce assorted bushes and the odd pinetree.

  • Ted

    Johan,

    The v-grooves in the ends of your logs are chainsaw marks.
    I’d say cherry also, based on the graining, and the colors you’re experiencing.
    Definitely a fruit or nut wood.
    It is NOT maple. Maple is very light.
    Maybe walnut or pecan, we need a bark expert to chime in.
    Cherry darkens over time, but starts out medium brown to dark brown with red hints.
    The really RED cherry that we see in the US is a stain used habitually by furniture manufacturers so that the public perception is that a species of wood looks that red, when it really doesn’t. (The same has been done with mahogany for 100 years or more – red stain, not the real color of the wood.) Now cabinet mfgs stain birch with that same “red cherry” stain and pass the cabinets off as “Hardwood” cabinetry – which they are, technically, but call it “Cranberry” or something as idiotic so that they’re not really lying. The unsuspecting (homeowner) customers will glowingly tell you they have “real” Cherry cabinets. (shake of head – NOT)

  • Johan,
    That’s an excellent endgrain shot. It’s almost certainly a fruitwood in the Rosaceae family.
    That lighter colored wood you mention under the bark is called sapwood. It’s not maple, as then the sapwood would comprise about 2/3s of the wood. Also, the pores are too small and of a uniform size — ruling out walnut or pecan.
    The thing is, it’s not really possible (to my knowledge) to reliably separate between the various fruitwoods. It may be Pear, or Cherry, or even Apple.
    I’m guessing that most woodworkers that have chimed in are located in the United States, and are very familiar with Cherry. I agree it bears a striking resemblance. However, in Europe, Cherry isn’t nearly as big as it is here, and as far as I understand, Pear is pretty much the European equivalent to North America’s Black Cherry. Given your location in Europe, and your subset of “common” woods near your country, I still put out my best guess of PEAR.
    Just my .02

  • Johan

    Thank you all for great expertise.
    The thing I liked so much about this small piece of wood I found, apart from it’s beauty, was how well and how easy it was to get a really high finish to it. I mostly use oil such as “minwax antique oil finish” or “liberon finishing oil” (both are oils mixed with varnish). The wood is also easy to shape with a sander at the same time as it’s quite hard and will withstand both use and abuse. Is this also the caracteristics of pear, cherry and apple wood? What other woods have these great caracteristics? I’ve heard people speak of open grained and closed grained wood. Is this just a frase for explaining if a wood has large pores (open grained) or very small pores (closed grain)?

  • To all who’ve tried to post pictures of their stuff for ID recently:
    For whatever reason, the photo uploads haven’t worked, so your post wasn’t listed. I’m considering moving this feature (posting wood pics to be identified) to my new Wood Database facebook page.
    I think this would be a better forum to post pictures and have discussion than here in the comments section. What do you think?

  • Johan

    Eric:
    That sounds like a good idea. I’ll repost my last post at the FB page.

  • mike

    my freind took these peices out of a boat house/dancehall built i think in the early 1900’s near alexandrea bay new york.

  • Ted

    If the rest of you vote to kick me off of here, I’ll understand, and my mother used to say, “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything” – but I can’t resist.

    Mike – Hey, what’s with the blurry photo of firewood?

  • LOL, Ted, you are definitely NOT kicked off…

  • James

    Anyone know what type of wood this is its a dark very hard type of wood.

  • James

    what kind of wood and what era might this be?

  • Ted

    James,
    Re17th, maybe lignum vitae?
    Re27th, modern post-1950s mass produced, machine made, secondary wood on outside frame, like basswood, cherry veneer with maple inlay. Saw cut around edge is modern innovation to pass off mass produced furniture as “expensive” inlay work. (just think what would grow down in there after little Jimmy spills his frosted cocobomb cereal…EEEEK!)

  • Marion barrasso

    Inherited bedroom set over 100 yrs old photo of dresser, also vanity desk dresser and bed. Can you tell me what type of wood and style this is’
    What era would this be?

  • Ted

    Marion, you’re too far away to make a species identification. Do you people even read earlier posts? I can’t identify era or style, not my forte.. looks “new” rather than antique, or it’s something that has been stripped down and completely refinished. Pretty shiny for an antique, looks like a gloss polyurethane finish on it. To my taste it would look nicer just plain wood and fluted columns, and without the fruity & leafy thing on the 3rd drawer. That’s hideous. Let me think about that, no, it wouldn’t even look good on the 4th drawer, either. Chintz. Over-embellishment.
    You need to take a close-up of the feet & lower corner, to include the base of the column, and a close-up of a drawer, read previous earlier posts for how to do that, and a shot of the medallions at the top of the columns. Take a shot of a side and the top.
    I’m wondering why there are back plates on the upper two drawer pulls, and none on the large drawers.
    Neat how they did the bottom drawer pulls.
    I like the big drawers with the raised moulding – I like the whole piece if it didn’t have that ugly wreath in the middle. But… that may be someone else’s favorite thing in the world. Just depends on who’s bedroom it’s sitting in.
    Take it to Antique Roadshow.
    I’m seeing some striations in the bottom right of the top big drawer that makes me want to think this is quarter sawn oak, but the piece is just too far away.

  • Nate

    What I have found is the case with any “exotic hardwood” is that you always need to be VERY CAREFUL to apply a very controlled amount of force when using ANY “sharp woodworking tools”. In other words NEVER apply excess pressure to ANY part of any grain of “exotic wood”. Many people say, “Whatever, I know what I’m doing…” but I say, “Don’t say I didn’t warn you if you lose a finger, arm and/or leg if you weren’t careful…”

  • Lisa

    This tree was knocked down 8 years ago and just cut it to move it. What is this strange orange red color?

  • El

    Hey all. I am trying to ID the top of this dining table (which appears to be a wood veneer).

    This photo is of the top.

  • @El That looks like ash to me. I’d say the border is olive ash burl, and the rest could possibly be ash veneer.

  • Ted

    Lisa, Fungus (or …Fungi, if you want to be technical)

  • @El
    Okay, I change my guess to walnut. Looking closer at the face grain of the main panels, it appears to have a subtle gradation of pore size which would indicate a semi-ring-porous wood like walnut. (Plus the color matches better.) The outside border still looks like olive ash burl, but could possibly be a light-colored walnut burl.

  • El

    Thanks Eric. Here is a pic of the unfinished, underside of the table. It looks a lot like the Black or Tropical walnut.

  • John
  • Lara

    I’m trying to identify what kind of wood my antique mirror may be. It’s a very heavy piece, and the veneer is starting to peel. I can see wood grain underneath where it has peeled already. I have more photos I can post as well. Thank you!

  • Lara

    Here is another angle of the first photo….

  • Lara

    And here is a third showing more grain patterns….

  • Ted

    John, I’m going to guess at Pecan.

    Lara, Hard to see, but I’m going to guess quarter sawn oak with a dark walnut stain. The 3rd photo, the 1×3 at the bottom(?) looks like QSO & so does the veneer on the left of the same photo. 1st photo, top left, looks like oak there, too. This piece has seen some hard use. Is this a shelf with a mirror under it? Hard to determine it’s purpose. 2nd photo, the veneer on the scrollwork looks like QSO, that the craftsman put there (where it was highly visible) to accentuate the scrollwork, probably because the end or edgegrain of the underlying wood wasn’t as pretty as the veneer.

  • Lara

    Ted,

    I believe the mirror used to sit on top of a sideboard/buffet, and it would have been mounted with the shelf on the top and mirror underneath. I’ve done some research, and the piece dates back to around the 1890’s and early 1900’s. I wish I could have seen the sideboard it was originally made to go with. Thanks so much for your input!

  • ben

    I am restoring a 1920’s hollow surf/paddle board (called a kook box). Am attaching a picture of the veneer (or early plywood) which I am trying to identify & fix a missing section of the board. Thanks. (GREAT SITE)

  • ben

    ….also here is the tail block which would be neat to identify as well. Thanks.

  • Ted

    Ben – 1st photo looks like yellow pine rotary cut plywood veneer, or possibly fir, 2nd photo looks like a regular fir or hemlock board, but could be pine also. It’s got a lot of age going for it. Good closeup, though. Now I want to see what the whole thing looks like, even if that sounds kooky.

  • ben

    Thank you so much. Here is the before photo, & I will be posting the after later. (p.s. looks like it was later turned to a lifeguard board with a faint “lifeguard blue” paint still visible. I am restoring it to what I think was it’s previous condition (hopefully). This would probably be a “Bordeaux” dark reddish brown as which was traditional in that day….

  • ben

    I think I may have possibly located the actual model (so possibly actually from the 40’s) see attached (though this one was made of redwood there were a few different companies manufacturing Tom Blake’s designs in those days)

  • Ted

    So this is a 1920’s surf board? Sweeeeet.
    That’s way before the Hawaiian influence on WWII vets and the California wave craze.
    I’m thinking Antiques Roadshow, that baby’s GOT to be worth some cashola.

  • ben

    It was an $80 barn find. I could probably get $1000+ for it when it is all done, but will hold on to it for my future grand children.

    Original, unrestored & in fair to good condition these go for an easy $2000 to $20,000 depending on model & maker.

    (Tom Blake is the quintessential designer of these days & though this is missing the plug (or emblem), it is likely either made by one of 3 companies he licensed to reproduce his designs, or a good copy of one of his patents)

    P.S. Thanks for the expert advice. Look how great we matched the veneer… (will post finished photos soon)

  • ben

    It is 1920’s to 1940’s… (it took along time for surfboards to evolve from this).

    Tom Blake was on Duke Kahanamoku’s Olympic Gold Medal Swim Team (Duke, a Hawaiian, is considered the father of the sport of surfing)

    Blake revolutionized the sport with his hollow board designs cutting the weight of the boards from maybe 120lbs to 40lbs, and later again as he is credited for the application of fins to surfboards.

  • keith

    I would like to identify some lumber salvaged from crates transporting heavy chains. The shipment came from Maine, USA. The lumber has some weight to it, so I’m assuming it’s semi-hard or hard wood. My best guess is maple. My camera macro feature isn’t working well, so I apologize for the picture closeness. Any opinions are welcome and I thank you in advance.

  • Ted

    Ben, super job matching veneers! Glad I could help. Definitely post finished product.

    Keith, can’t tell, not enough detail. Well, really NO detail at all. The enlargement feature on the web page gives the same size photo as what’s on the page. It’s just a blur of brownish yaya. Maple is an educated guess for the purpose you’ve stated, strong, heavy, dense wood. Light colored. Need to get that Macro fixed, or borrow a camera from a bud.

  • El

    Hi, I am attempting to ID the wood in my chest/ trunk. It appears that the wood on the outside is different from the inside. Inside has a very sweet, distinctive smell.

    Here is a picture of the inside.

  • El

    Here is a close-up of the inside.

  • El

    Here is a close-up of an unfinished piece of the outside of the trunk. The color has a bit more red than the picture shows.

  • @El Does it smell somewhat like Vick’s VapoRub? At first glance it looked like a type of cedar or juniper, but looking closer the wood is clearly grainy with open pores, meaning a hardwood.
    My first guess would be Camphor for the interior lining, or maybe Spanish Cedar (not a true softwood/cedar), though the color and streaks don’t seem to match Spanish Cedar’s generally bland appearance.

  • El

    Eric, yes I believe that is the smell. And I believe the chest is for storing clothing.

    What about the exterior? Do you think it is a cherry or rosewood?

  • John

    Please Eric, could you delete my subscription!!! I’m inundated with all these unrelated follow-up emails!! I’ve tried to delete it a couple of times, but without success. Thanks, John.

  • Simon

    Hi Eric,
    I just made a little shelf in my kitchen using some reclaimed cut off from a place I volunteered at. Not sure what type of wood I used. :) Maybe you can help. Smelled lovely to work with. I’ve assumed from the colour that both pieces are from the same species. Not sure how old. I finished it with Clapham’s furniture polish (beeswax/carnauba)which upped the contrast in the grain, but didn’t change much the colour.

  • Simon

    I’ll post a few more pics:

  • Simon

    the other piece…

  • Simon

    and endgrain:

  • To all who are getting continuing notifications of updated comments and would like to delete them: please follow the link in the email for “manage my subscriptions” and then do three things:
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    -check the circular button that says “delete”
    -click on “update subscriptions,” and you should be removed!

  • @El It’s very hard to tell, but the exterior wood appears to be a medium to coarse grained wood. Definitely not cherry, but it could be Jatoba (aka Brazilian Cherry) — or a zillion other hardwoods that are reddish brown and have medium to large open pores. I doubt it’s rosewood, color and grain looks wrong. Knowing the source of where the chest was made might help.

  • Ted

    Simon- Does the wood smell like hamster litter or a Hope Chest? Western Red Cedar or maybe White Cedar – I haven’t been around that as much as red cedar.
    Does it smell like Pine-Sol or a Xmas tree? Southern Yellow Pine.

    It looks like old-growth (you said it was reclaimed wood, so it could be really old) – cut from a virgin stand of timber, thus the close-set rings. The 1st photo makes me think cedar, because of the way the knots look, and the graining in that & photo #3. But if it’s gray color is from weathering, it could be pine, cypress, or Fir. The smell will tell.

    Cypress or Fir have a nice clean aromas when cut, but I don’t know what to compare them to.

    Pine would be much heavier – maybe 3 times as heavy as cypress 2.5 times heavier than cedar, and about twice as much as Fir/Hemlock.

    After much cogitation, I’m going with Fir. If so, the knots are unusual. Fir is sold now as “clear fir” with no knots at all, whereas your “old” board is gnarly with knots. Photo 1 even looks like some burn damage in the lower left corner? The end grain photos and Photo 3 have leaned me in that direction.

    You may have to wait for Eric the Expert to chime in for a definitive opinion.

  • Simon

    Sniffing around the internet, the grey coloration makes me think hemlock, but the high contrast and style of grain makes me think douglas fir. I think, Ted, you might’ve got it. And you might be right about the burn damage. (The knot popped out while I was planing and disappeared off my apartment balcony!)

    As for weathering, I would assume that it would be weathered only on the first few mm of surface, but this was grey throughout.

    And I can’t say I’ve ever smelled a hope chest. I incline away from the cedar idea. I’ve smelled a lot of cedar before and it’s not as urine-like as that.

  • Ted

    HA. Cedar doesn’t smell like urine – that’s from the hamsters….

  • Simon, its hard to tell from just the pictures. I think in nearly all cases of softwood ID, it’s important to to be able to confirm/deny the presence of resin canals. I can’t really say definitively from your pictures, but you having a firsthand look, should be able to tell. Check out this article:
    http://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/softwood-anatomy/

  • Deb

    hi

    trying to id the wood used to frame windows and doors in my home. seller wasn’t sure. thought it was oak but have never seen this color exactly.

  • Simon

    Thanks, guys, for your expertise and thoughts.

  • katherine

    Hi I was wondering if you could help me figure out what type of wood this is, the first is with flash the second has the flash off. Thank you

  • Ted

    Katherine: Pine
    I hope all persons planning on posting a photo see the difference between the colors depending on what the light source is. Amazing…

  • Bob

    I’m trying to identify what type of wood this is. Any help would be be appreciated. Thanks!

  • Marie

    Hello, I was told that this is a vintage redwood frame. It appears to have maybe fit over a dresser, but no place to insert a mirror. the craftsmanship is ornate and it is about 4 feet tall by 2.5 feet . I have created a collage and you should be able to hover over the photos.if not I will godly snap more. I took thee in regular daylight. Please let me know if anyone can identify this. Thank you.

  • Marie

    Another close up…it has four holes along one side if the four foot length, and two holes adjacent to each other in the middle along the two foot sides.like it may have been something that rotated?

  • Marie

    Another

  • Ted

    Bob – looks like Fir to me, Hemlock looks very similar, too

    Marie – it might have held two equally sized mirrors that pivoted in the center for a makeup mirror – with some kind of pin locks on the long sides?
    The last photo is the only one I’d make a guess from, and I’d say mahogany. If you were to take a super closup of the chip in the top left corner of your first “collage”, that might give a better hint. No hovering, all 4 shots expand into one larger replica of the collage. Might have been better to upload separately like the last shot.
    Redwood is very soft, you should be able to leave a dent in it with a fingernail. Mahogany is much harder, and a fingernail wouldn’t leave a mark.
    Look at Brad S’s photo above from Feb 6th, the crazy graining his boards exhibit are what I’m seeing in your last photo.
    Look up redwood on this site at
    http://www.wood-database.com/wp-content/uploads/redwood-sealed.jpg
    Your wood doesn’t look like the photo of redwood.

  • damian

    Hi

    Any idea what this wood might be I know its a long shot!

    thanks in advance

    D

  • Marie

    Hello Bob, thank you for responding. Here is another photo close up. I did press a nail into the wood and it left a mark a small one but its ere…this frame is not heavy either if that helps.

  • Marie

    Oops meant hello Ted, lol

  • Katherine

    Hi, I picked up this giant piece of raw wood in Upstate New York which I intend to use to make shelves. The guy who sold it to me said someone told him it’s ‘butternut’ wood but he seemed pretty unsure (I didn’t know what this was). Can someone help me identify it?

    Thanks!

  • Katherine

    And another:

  • Cassi

    Hi there wondering if you could please tell me what tis wood may be sooo heavy and old so I’m told thanks

  • Ted

    Cassi – One guest to another, quite often one will find older chairs made with several different kinds of wood, particularly when containing carved or turned wood, including birch, maple, oak, walnut, and cherry. Yours could be any or several of these.
    Nice scroll on the arm.
    Photo too vague to make a determination. Resubmit your request with closeups made with a real camera.
    My neck is hurting from looking at this sideways photo, try a different angle.

  • Rose

    Can anyone tell me what type of wood this is?

  • Cassi

    Oh sorry about the neck will get some close ups in morning thankyou very much

  • Blamminski

    You so called furniture makers and cabinet builders should be ashamed of the garbage materials you use.

  • Donna

    Found this coffee table and stripped it- it has wavy wood on the outside of it-can you tell me what it is?

  • Ted

    Rose – Oak

  • Ted

    Blam – where did you come from? Nobody’s making any trash cabinets here, we’re trying to identify wood species for novices. Crawl back inside your formica and particle board bomb-shelter and take a couple more hits off your bong, dude. Chill out.

  • Rose

    Thanks Ted are you sure?

  • Ted

    Rose, 99.9% sure that it is Oak. There is a .01% chance it’s Ash with a golden oak stain on it, but highly unlikely. This isn’t one of those mystery wood situations, pretty straightforward diagnosis. (also called a no-brainer) there are, however 147 or so different varieties of oak, “white, red, blackjack, live, laurel, silk, etc, etc” and no one can really tell you which one it is. Default with White Oak, or Red Oak. Since your table & chairs are yellow, and not red, you’re pretty safe with white oak, and a “golden oak” stain. Look under the table or chairs for any unstained wood, it should be very light beige.
    http://www.wood-database.com/white-oak/

  • jane

    Hii am thinking of sanding and painting my fire suround. I would like to know the correct wayto do this and I would also like to know what type of wood it is.

  • jane

    This is a closer photo of the wood.

  • Kurt

    Hi, I’m not sure how old this desk is, I bought it from an estate sale. Any ideas on what kind of wood?

    Thanks in advance,

    kurt

  • KIERAN London
  • Dion

    Can anyone tell what kind of wood this might be based on the pattern shown. It’s a couple pics of an antique hutch I believe to have been made in the early 1990s

    • ejmeier

      First pic looks a bit like quartersawn white oak, stained dark brown. No clue on the second picture.

    • LynJa J Malon’e

      They very top piece I believe to be Plywood stained,#2, piece I believe it to be to be Oak, The decorative piece is pine, the unfinished front piece, also pine, side ufinshed piece birch, and the piece is Maple.

    • Jason Montell

      Chestnut or butternut

  • Stephen Blyskal

    I recently purchased an old piece of furniture at an Estate Sale. It is an unusual piece in its design and is made of all solid hardwoods, including the drawer bottoms, sides and back. I was able to find out that the former owner was from Argentina, and I suspect this piece was built there and moved to the USA. The outside surface has a thin, peeling coat of flat black paint which I am removing with a scraper. Is there a database of South American tropical hardwood out there someplace? I am very familiar with American woods, and those tropical woods used in guitars, and this looks like nothing I have ever seen before. The closest thing I can think of is tropical mahogany based on ray structure and hardness.

    • ejmeier

      Don’t know of any database specifically for South American timbers. If it’s solid wood, your best bet is to examine the endgrain.

  • January L. Hokit Wiley

    I have 2 end tables and a coffee table that I was told came from Japan in 1939, I am curious as to what kind of wood they are made of. They are very heavy. First picture is the top of end table 1, second picture is the front of end table 1, 3rd picture is of the coffee table, 4th picture is of detail on top of coffee table. The last picture is of the inside if one of the doors on one of the end tables. Can anyone tell me what kind of wood these are made of?

    • Roger

      That furniture is typical of Philippine hand-carved wood furniture. It is usually made of Philippine Mahogany or Nara wood.

    • noypi

      Its a narra (Pterocarpus indicus). The carving is typical rural farming Philippine landscape [farmer on carabao with a kariton, a ricefield panorama w/ a mountain view; & a banana] of years ago. Narra, though marketted in the U.S. in the 20s-70s as Philippine Mahogany (general term for all woods coming from Philippines), it is not a true mahogany.

  • Laura Reid

    Can you tell me about this table? Im thinking its teak but im not sure.

    • ejmeier

      Teak is definitely a possibility. But it’s tough to tell from the pictures.

      Teak is one of those woods that can be difficult to positively ID in a finished project without seeing a clear, sanded view of the endgrain.

      • Laura Reid

        Alright. When I sand it down I’ll take a picture.

      • HectorVon Spector

        walnut

  • Lewis

    in the process of restoring this table. ive sanded of all the damage its had from over the years. not sure what kind of wood it is though

    • ejmeier

      Looks like a softwood. Possibly pine?

      • HectorVon Spector

        very generic grain = pine

  • Jamesaa

    Can someone please assist in identifying the below wood, it looks really nice when cleaned up and treated however it’s not protruding enough to leave exposed once i re-plaster the wall so i’d like to get something very similar and bolt it to the front

    They are from a 1920s house in Ramsey, Cambridgeshire it’s quite hard stuff but unfortunately as it’s holding my roof up i can’t exactly see the end of the plank as advised in the guides on this site

  • mershin

    Can anyone tell me what wood this is plz.

    • ejmeier

      Too hard to tell from the picture. Need some closeups of the grain…

  • ba

    Can anyone tell me what kind of wood this is please?

  • Clay Allen

    I found a an old 1912 Hobart Cable upright piano that was pretty well thrashed. I took it apart and saved some timbers and smaller blocks. The small pieces are a bright green poplar that will be neat for some turning. I’m having trouble identifying the timbers. I cleaned up a piece and hope someone can help identify this. I’ll post up face, quarter and end grains. Thanks in advance!

    • Guest

      face and quarter grain

    • Guest

      Photos wont upload, 2nd try

    • ejmeier

      looks like elm to me.

      • Jason Montell

        I concur

  • Gio

    Can anyone tell me the kind of wood thst the table is made out of? Its a french table from the 1920s or so. Dark red brownish wood. Im thinking oak. Can anyone give an opinion?

    • ejmeier

      Almost impossible to tell from picture. Oak is not known for being carved as it is quite ring-porous and not well suited to holding fine details.

      • woodgrain

        Mahogany?

  • Clay Allen

    I tried to post this a few days ago, but my phone went all

    cattywampus on me and I didnt get the right pics loaded…so one more time.

    I took apart a beat up piano that was built in 1909-12 and got about 18ish bf of usable lumber that Im not sure about. face, quarter and end grain pics and some sawdust.

    Thanks ejmeier for input on elm. Ill try to get closer pics when I get back home (found this out of town).

    • Clay Allen

      I might need to lower the res or something. None of the pics are loading for me, hopefully someone can see them..

    • Clay Allen

      On a side note, it took a few passes to clean these up. I have a new 60t blade on and tried to hog right through it and it was rough going. The cuts in the pics took about 5 passes raising the blade about ~1/2″ each pass.

    • Clay Allen

      after scrolling down it looks like my OP has all the pics now. So if a mod can either delete this thread or merge it with the last, however you want to do it. I hate to dirty up forums with re-posts. Sorry about that.

  • ejmeier

    Possibly maple? Too hard to tell from picture. Need a clear, sanded, zoomed-in shot of the endgrain.

    • HectorVon Spector

      Maple..

  • Guest

    This is a door and frame,any ideas as to what it is?

    • ejmeier

      Probably stained oak, though I can’t quite make out any rays, so it may very well be ash.

    • Tân C? ?i?n

      I look same to mine but I don’t know the name

  • Sally

    Does anyone know what this wood is?

    • ejmeier

      That looks weird to me. Are you sure that isn’t plywood that you’ve partially sanded through the top layer? My guess is birch.

    • Fred

      Sally, that is Ambrosia Maple. The holes and discoloration is from the Ambrosia Beatle.

      • ejmeier

        Good eye; I hadn’t noticed those bug-holes on first glance.

      • Nick Hirzel

        Can you tell me what this cabinet door is made of

  • Sally

    Does anyone know what this wood is?!

  • Sally

    Does anyone know what wood this is!?

  • woodgrain

    Same here!(except for the camp part) :) I make manzantia vases, and bottles.

  • JC

    We inherited a beautiful solid wood bedroom set, but I’m not sure what type of wood it is. It does have some natural little pits in the wood. Can you help us identify it? We’d be SO appreciative :-) Thanks for your time!

    • ejmeier

      Pretty hard to tell. Overall, I think the look they were trying to replicate with a nice aged Cherry. I’m inclined to think it’s not actually Cherry. At first I was thinking possibly maple or birch, but the knots on the draw fronts suggest a softwood.

      I know it may not be possible, but a clear, sanded, closeup view of an endgrain surface would go a long way in IDing this wood.

      • JC

        Thank you so much! I took some pictures of the sanded, unstained wood underneath one of the end tables, as well as a good pick of the grain of the wood on the top of the headboard(still stained). I don’t think I can post them in the comment reply section, but I”ll post them in another discussion comment, if that’s alright. Thanks again for helping us solve the mystery!

  • ejmeier

    Well, whatever it is, I’m guessing you’ll have a hard time matching something like that! Truly gorgeous.

    It could very well be a rosewood, though it may also be Pau Ferro, which is sometimes called Bolivian Rosewood, though technically not a true rosewood.

    • HectorVon Spector

      walnut

  • JC

    Thanks so much for your reply! I was able to get underneath the side of
    one of the end tables and get a shot of some bare wood – one with a flash, one without. I also included a
    shot of the top of the headboard which has some interesting grains that
    might help?Thanks again!! We’re eager to solve the mystery!

  • ejmeier

    Looks like quilted maple to me, probably dyed/tinted a bit darker than its natural color.

    The grain figure is called quilted, though on some woods like Sapele, it’s also called “pommele” or blistered. At first glance it looks more like Sapele, but when I look closer at the grain, it looks more like quilted maple that’s been colored to look reddish brown.

    • HectorVon Spector

      Birdseye Maple

  • Kim

    Anyone have any clue as to what type of wood this wonderful old rocker is? Or who may have made it?
    Thanks in advance!

  • Bart

    Eric, any chance you could help identifying the wood used for this wall paneling? It was removed during house remodel and we would like to recreate the look. My research indicates that it may be curly maple. Thanks a lot! Bart.

    • ejmeier

      Yeah, the grain pattern definitely looks like curly maple. It looks to be expertly stained a nice reddish brown.

      • Bart

        Thanks Eric. We will look for someone in Chicago area to replicate this. Great job on your website, really nice resource.

        Bart

  • Mike Pisano

    Can anyone please tell me or give me a 2nd opinion on the kind of wood species this may be…. I’m thinking it could be knotty pine wood.??

  • Mike Pisano

    Can anyone please tell me or give me a 2nd opinion on the kind of wood species this may be….

  • Darren Fryer

    Can anyone identify this wood? It has a different colour core to its outer skin, it is not polished and has not been died. Thanks

    • ejmeier

      Are you sure that’s the natural wood color and that it hasn’t been charred or burned to alter the color? The sapwood looks very dark for sapwood, and of course the heartwood is nearly black. Most black woods like ebony will have an almost yellowish white sapwood.

      • Darren Fryer

        Another gentleman suggested it was bangari, a type of Zimbabwean wood? There is no residue or polish that is visible on the carving. I will take a picture of the underneath of the carving tonight and post it as it may hold the key to its identity. I will make sure to bump up the quality on that pic. Thanks.

        • ejmeier

          Thanks Darren, a pic of the bottom would be helpful. If you can, I’d try to thoroughly sand it to a very fine grit to get the clearest view possible. Also, a scientific name for “bangari” would be helpful — I don’t know which wood you are referring to.

  • Kelsey

    Okay, I’m trying to find out what the wood paneling in our house is. I’m thinking maybe cherry. Any ideas?

    • ejmeier

      Cherry is definitely what it looks like. Though it could be another wood (like Birch or Poplar) that was stained to look like Cherry.

  • Kevin

    Help, looking to duplicate this gate. Any ideas on the type of wood in this project?

    • ejmeier

      Regardless of the exact species of the wood used in the gate in the picture, I’d use cedar (types and colors will vary depending on your location).

      For exterior projects, you’re much more limited to the woods you can use; plus, that thing would be very heavy if you used a denser wood.

  • Will

    Can anyone id the wood of my didge? Not bunk bed lol

  • Jim

    Anyone have an idea about this one? From a roughly 100 year old dresser

    • ejmeier

      Whatever it is, it looks NICE.

      It looks like walnut to me: plain lumber for the structural parts, and burl veneer for the drawer fronts.

  • Eric9193

    Could anyone assist in identifying this wood? Thanks!

  • Stephanie

    Can anyone help me figure out the type of wood this is, its my coffee table an i was sanding it an found it very light underneath all the stain and poly but dont know the kind of wood it is. Please help if u can.

  • Stephanie

    Can anyone help me figure out the type of wood this is, its my coffee table an i was sanding it an found it very light underneath all the stain and poly but dont know the kind of wood it is. Please help if u can.

    • HectorVon Spector

      A really good start is to know when it was made…

  • Tân C? ?i?n

    I try to find and buy this wood but don’t know the name and where to buy. Pls help

  • Carlos

    Any guesses here? This is about 5 to 6 inches across, photoed from about 20 inches away. This is from a burl, so I’m not sure the pattern will tell a lot. The flat circular face was facing inward toward the heartwood. the side resting on the paper towel is a live edge.

    • ejmeier

      That’s a real stumper. Where are you located? Did you find/cut this wood locally, or how did you come across it?

      • Carlos

        I’m in middle Tennessee, but this was purchased unlabeled in a St. Louis, MO hard woods store.

        • ejmeier

          I’d consider the common native burl woods first: maple, elm, or oak. Scent might be an indicator too.

        • Carlos

          Thanks for the suggestions. I believe it to be a spalted maple after having Googled around a bit to find examples of the woods you mentioned. The smell while turning reminded me of walnuts, but the various walnut examples I found don’t match as closely as maple. I’m not sure what walnut wood smells like compared to it’s nuts, and I’m not even 100% sure it was walnut I was smelling. I could have been easily smelling maple and not known the difference.

        • ejmeier

          The bark might help too, if it’s still on there.

          I wouldn’t be so quick to say Maple just because it’s spalted. Maple is by far the most commonly sold wood that’s spalted, but just about any wood will exhibit spalting — especially the sapwood. Spalting is especially common on “found” woods that may not have been harvested/dried right away after the tree came down.

    • Atwood

      I think it is black walnut burl.

  • markintosh

    I received a proposal, from Africa, for woods called: “LIFAKI, BOSASA, BOLENGU, KAYA, LONGO, NGOLA, TOLA and SINGA-SINGA” do you have an idea of what is it?

  • tracy

    can any one give me any info on this what is it and what wood is it thanks

    • ejmeier

      Looks fairly nondescript. Maybe maple or birch?

  • Satchy81

    Could anyone advise what wood you believe our Grandfather clock is made from please? Its allegedly quite an old boy! Ive tried to catch it in the best light I can

    • ejmeier

      That front panel appears to be a crotch veneer. The two most common species for these sorts of veneers are walnut or mahogany. Judging by the border around it, it appears to be mahogany. Not sure of the rest of the clock though, but the front looks to be veneered.

      • Satchy81

        Thank you very much

  • arkinaku

    Hi guys, Can somebody help me identify this wood?. I was told this is a malaysian hardwood but i want to know what kind. A client of mine is selling around 200pcs of this (8″x8″x8ft).this came from an old mine here in the philippines. I also want to know the value of this. :D thank you.

    • ejmeier

      Too weathered and distant to make out any anatomical details on the endgrain.

  • Christian Ewert

    Anyone know what kind of wood this is ? It is flooring that i have sanded down

    • ejmeier

      Looks very much like Hard Maple. (I should know, as that’s exactly what the floors in my apartment are made of!)

      • Christian Ewert

        Ok thanks ! Thats what i was told as well so thanks for the reassurance

  • Nathan

    Hi there, recently bought these pen blanks off a private seller, wondering if you could help ID these pieces for me? Thanks in advance!

  • Richard

    I have no idea what kind of wood this is! Help! Just split it today.

    • Nick Hirzel

      Looks to me like locust

  • Surapon Roothanavuth

    Can anyone id this pair? They are natural with the carving patterns as seen.

    • ejmeier

      Well, it took me a while, but I think I figured out what in the world this is. I believe it is a tree fern, so technically not a “hardwood” or “softwood” or even a monocot, but something else entirely. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyatheales

  • Shannon

    Can anyone tell me how much I could sell this desk for? It is 46″ X 74″ Claw Foot Lawyer desk, Needs refinished.

  • Rajat

    There are two sets of wood pictures I’m posting. This is set 1 – all
    are images of the same one from different distances to help make
    identification easier. Need help to identify the wood.
    Do let me know in case images are unclear or better images are required.

  • Rajat

    This is set 2 – all are images of the same product from different distances to help make identification easier. Need your help in identifying the wood. Do let me know in case images are unclear or better images are required.

    • ejmeier

      If I had to guess, based on those rays, I’d say Red Oak. But that’s just a guess. Do you have a clear, sanded, closeup shot of the endgrain?

  • Helen Bresser

    how about this one?

    [url=https://flic.kr/p/rp4dXy][img]https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7712/16669827534_5eae933c1b_z.jpg[/img][/url][url=https://flic.kr/p/rp4dXy]20150411_122920[/url] by [url=https://www.flickr.com/people/128647662@N06/]laurencerexedwards[/url], on Flickr

  • DesireC HTC

    I would like to identify the wood of the two garden furniture ( one table and one chair) and looking for which kind of lacquer or oil to protect them from the weather. Thanks!

  • Nick Hirzel

    What kind of wood is this

  • Nick Hirzel

    Can anyone tell me what kind of wood this is its off a 1953 cabinet door

  • Ashley Nunn

    Can anyone tell me what kind of wood this is?

  • ejmeier

    Looks like a ring-porous hardwood that’s been stained a darker color. My first thought was oak, but I don’t seen any ray fleck anywhere on the piece, so I’d suspect that it is ash.

  • Kalypso Kampani

    Hello, could anyone identify the type of this wood please? :)

    • ejmeier

      Looks like a softwood. More than likely something like Pine, Fir, etc. Pretty tough to ascertain the particular type of softwood without cutting into a piece and examining the endgrain for presence/absence of resin canals.

  • Aleksandra

    Hello folks, any idea what kind of wood can be that?

  • Aleksandra

    Hello folks, any idea what kind of wood can be that?

  • Aleksandra

    Hello folks, any idea what kind of wood can be that?

    • ejmeier

      Do you have any more pics? Hard to tell from that one image.

  • Roberto Napolitano

    Can anyone tell me what wood this is?

    • ejmeier

      Can’t tell, sorry. Where are you located, and do you have any shots closer up?

  • Tony

    Sorry just wondering if anyone knows what type of wood this table might be? Looks pretty and might want to buy it, is it worth it to buy?

  • Andrew Francis

    Great blog/database! Thanks. I wonder if you can help identify a guitar wood. The guitar is in pieces, but I have broken bits that I’d like to replace. Inside I am not so concerned, but I’d like to replace both sides with as similar a wood as possible. My guess is mahogany, but I’d like to be sure before searching out the replacement wood. The guitar is from the 1920’s and was made in California which might help limit the possibilities. I’ve attached pictures of a broken edge, rough quarter-sawn interior side, smooth, unfinished exterior, and a broken end. Discoloration is from sitting around with no finish for decades, and unfortunately I don’t want to end saw a piece because I hope to put the whole thing together as is, and besides it’s only 1/8″ thickness. The color in the pictures is slightly warmer than the actual wood.

    Thanks for any help you can provide.

    • ejmeier

      I agree it looks like mahogany. Can’t be sure without a clearer endgrain view, but it seems like a good educated guess. Probably Swietenia spp like Hondruan or Cuban, and not Khaya spp. i.e., African.

      • Holi

        Hi can anyone tell me what type of wood this is? also markings if anyone has seen it.

        thanks

  • JKS 121

    Good Day, Can anyone kindly identify what kind of wood (American Chestnut?) these old beams might be based on the pictures below. Thank you for your assistance in solving this mystery for me!

    • ejmeier

      Very hard to tell from those pictures. If I had to guess based on that one tiny exposed section, I’d say it probably wasn’t chestnut. If you can get a clear, sanded closeup shot of the endgrain, that would help a lot.

      • JKS 121

        So I took your suggestion and sanded the endgrain in hopes that you would be able to help identify what specific kind of wood I have here! Thanks for your assistance!!

        • ejmeier

          Definitely a softwood, and not chestnut. What location are you from, and where are these beams from? Any noticeable scent when sanding them?

          It’s still hard to tell since those pictures are thumbnails, and not the full-sized originals. Basically, the most important feature in softwood ID is to see if there are resin canals: http://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/softwood-anatomy/

  • linda

    i see no one know what kind of wood this might be ,, so i assume its pine

  • Can you help me identify this wood?

    • ejmeier

      Can’t tell from that distance. Assuming that all the pieces are the same species, getting a finely sanded, in-focus endgrain closeup might help with ID.

  • Bryan

    Hello All,

    We recently purchased a acreage. In the barn I found roughly twelve board cut by I’m guessing to be a turn of the century saw mill(really rough circular cuts). I know its a hard wood, good weight to it. If i had to guess, I would say its red oak. Can anyone confirm?

    • ejmeier

      Although I always hesitate to attempt an ID from a single face grain shot, that sure does look like Black Walnut to me. That’s my best guess given the limited information.

  • Jai Hammond

    Hi, I was hoping you may be able to tell me what kind of pine this is..?? It was from pallets to hold large spools of shipped wire coils….??

    Nice tight grain like a cedar, but varied colouring… Quite fluffy, also… and very light weight…

    Is it a spruce pine..?? Thank you in advance… :)

    • ejmeier

      The only way to really get a good ID for softwoods is to get a clear, finely-sanded, closeup shot of the endgrain, and look for resin canals. http://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/softwood-anatomy/

    • Jai Hammond

      Does this help any..??

      • ejmeier

        No, sorry. Those are very rough cuts, so I can’t make out much detail. That middle one has knots and abnormal grain too, so it might not be the best section to look at.

  • Thor

    We’re trying to sell off some inherited furniture of unknown provenance and would greatly appreciate help identifying the type of wood used to build this table. Cheers!

    • ejmeier

      It’d be very hard to get a positive ID from just those pictures, but my best guess, from a North American perspective, would be White Oak. That’s based on color, porosity, and the ray size.

  • Fleur

    wanting to stain an old chair, but i’m not sure what kind of wood it is…any ideas? sanded a bit of the old surface off to show the grain

    • ejmeier

      Where are you located? My initial guess would be birch, though it may be any number of diffuse porous hardwoods, such as maple. The endgrain picture is so grainy, it’s hard to tell if its even a softwood or a hardwood.

  • Art

    Can anyone tell me what kind of wood this is? I believe it’s a type of mahogany. It’s from an old Chippendale table.

  • Shawn Dennis

    Been reading some of the comments so was hoping someone may be able to help me identify this wood. The 2 poctures here are the wood unsanded.

    • ejmeier

      Not sure why it appears the colors are so different between pictures, but the second one looks similar to walnut. A clear, sanded, closeup shot of the endgrain would help a lot.

  • ejmeier

    Thanks, yes. It is a diffuse poroous hardwood. Looks like maple to me.

  • Jeremi

    Hello there. Here’s an old mirror that used to be part of a dressing table. I’m trying to identify the wood, and would be grateful for any information.

    • ejmeier

      Hard to tell from those pictures. Also hard to tell if that’s the natural wood color, or if it has been stained that color. Where are you located? It appears to be a hardwood with very large pores. If you were located in the United States, I would guess ash or oak, but it could be any number of species, perhaps even teak. Without access to the endgrain, it’d be very hard for me to say for sure.

  • _GA3FAR_

    Hello, I found this nice piece of wood lying on my roof and was wondering if anyone could help me identify it? I figure it might be ash or oak. (Sorry but couldn’t resist playing around and finishing it. Although I trust the grain is fairly clear.)

    • ejmeier

      More than likely not a hardwood, but a softwood like southern yellow pine or douglas fir. You can tell because softwoods always absorb dyes differently than hardwoods — basically, the latewood zone that creates the annual growth rings in softwoods doesn’t absorb much dye, so it appears lighter after dyeing. The softer and more open earlywood absorbs a lot more dye and looks darker, so basically the light-dark growth ring patterns of softwoods get inverted when dyed. In ring-porous hardwoods like oak or ash, the opposite is true.

  • William Bohuslaw

    I have these beams that are extremely dense and weigh a ton! Can anyone take a guess to help me identify what species of wood they are? They are rough sawn timbers sealed in a wax color and the wood is black in color. My neighbor’s deceased husband was a woodworker and he worked with various types of species. She had about a dozen of these 4′ high timbers she was going to get rid of and I decided to take them. Each one weighs approximately 50 lbs or better. I have more pics but google is being difficult and not letting me upload more than the 3 posted!

  • William Bohuslaw

    I was able to resize 2 other pics regarding my last post in hopes of identifying the species of wood these timbers are.

    • ejmeier

      Need to see an clear, sanded, closeup view of the endgrain. (Or at the very least, a planed or surfaced side of one of the beams.

      • William Bohuslaw

        I don’t have means of doing so however I can crosscut one of the ends if you think that will help? I’m not a wood worker so I don’t have the tools most people would have i.e. surface planer, etc…

  • James Lavin

    Just wondering if anyone can identify the timber used in this bench? Probably a simple answer! thanks

  • Amber Spillers-Anderson

    Does anyone have a clue what this diamond shaped piece is? I’ve searched all over the internet, contacted about 6 different veneer suppliers, and can’t seem to figure it out!! Please help!

    • ejmeier

      Looks tough to ID. It’s sort of a nondescript light colored wood. It looks close to maple, but I suspect it isn’t: it looks like the pores are larger than maple in the left corner of the diamond.

      It’s also tough since it doesn’t look like a strong burl, but it’s also not typical clear wood either; it’s sort of in a no-man’s land where it’s knotty, figured, but not a tightly figured burl. The color and grain look vaguely reminiscent of myrtle to me, not myrtle burl, just figured myrtle, but that’s a very wild guess.

      The reddish brown border looks to be Sapele.

      • Amber Spillers-Anderson

        Oh well, thanks for trying! I may have just replace the whole table since I can’t find a match anywhere.

  • Sunshyne Cline

    I bought this in South Africa over 20 years ago. I do not know what kind of wood it is. I an not sure if it is to scoop water, or if it is used to hold bananas.

    • ejmeier

      Definitely looks like a softwood. Not sure what types of softwoods are commonly used in South Africa; maybe someone more familiar with the area can chime in?

  • Denis Ganin

    This is pallet wood. Anyone what kind it is? Thanks

    • ejmeier

      Looks like a softwood of some sort. Maybe Douglas fir? Practically impossible to say with any degree of certainty without seeing the endgrain up close (and sanded).

      • Denis Ganin

        Thanks ejmeeir :)

  • Eric L

    We just stripped the paint off this old table – I don’t really have access to the end grain since it’s all one piece… I’m just looking for best bet, but am I looking at maple perhaps? The table appears to have had some wear and tear, so we’re trying to decide what type of stain we can go with to hide some of it.

    I am almost positive the main top and bottom of the table is solid and real wood, it’s thick, heavy, and the grain seems to go all the way through. What I can’t figure out is what would cause the wood to get this grey type of texture on the edge… We tried sanding the edge a bit more but it seems to make it worse, we figured that it was regular wear and tear but the fact we are unable to sand it makes me consider the side pieces could be engineered wood?

    Very confused on this one, but we don’t want to go with too light of a stain since a few of the edges look beat up… otherwise any suggestions to make the edges look better would be a big help too.

    Thanks!!

    • ejmeier

      Not Maple. Looks like a ring porous hardwood like ash, or possibly oak. That edge deterioration looks very fishy. Sanding should definitely IMPROVE the look, not damage it further. If that’s the case, then I would be inclined to think that the entire tabletop pattern is fake. Stuff that’s fake is also very heavy and thick, as the MDF/particleboard substrate is naturally heavy (and cheap).

      You might as well go to town with the sander in hopes of getting a clean wood surface. If it turns out to be real wood, you’ll have a clean surface to work with. If it turns out to be plastic, you wouldn’t be able to use a wood stain anyway.

  • jj

    hello i have a piece of wood id like someone to indentify…thanks in advance

  • Deanna Lane

    Can anyone tell me what kind of wood this is from this picture. I was told this is an antique set and solid wood but doesn’t know the kind of wood. Thank you.

  • Bradley Mccollum

    Hi, I just stripped and sanded down this trim. There’s much more of it, but I thought this was a good close-up. Does this look like Oak to you? That was my guess, but I am certainly not a professional.

  • Colin Wolf

    anyone know what type of wood this is? its made in italy and at least 30 years old

    • ejmeier

      Well, the overall color appears walnut-like. But it’s impossible to tell for sure from that distance.

  • Aaron Krystna Vogt

    Can anyone tell me what kind of wood this is? It is the flooring in a home I just purchased. Thanks

    • ejmeier

      Looks like a softwood to me. Douglas fir or larch are the first species to come to mind.

  • Christopher Cornelius

    This is 4 pieces glued together then turned but im still not sure what it is…? It is a Bitc* to work with and this is unfinished. Please help!

    • ejmeier

      Looks like Red Palm, and the low quality stuff found closer to the center of the “trunk.”

  • send Applications

    What type of wood is this slab. I was told this is Maple is it true? i am getting second thoughts as i see wide heart wood in middle. These slabs are 22″ wide to get guess.

    • ejmeier

      From a casual glance at a distance, I agree that it looks like maple. Only a very clear and in focus closeup of the endgrain would help to confirm this.

      • send Applications

        Thanks ejmeir. I was getting second thoughts as the darker heartwood.

  • NylaAlisia

    Pine? =)

    • ejmeier

      Definitely a softwood. Based on your location, my first guess would be Douglas Fir.

  • NylaAlisia

    It’s oak, quarter sawn

  • Mr_Jinx

    would love some help identifying this wood. Its the top of a Jackson Desks desk from somewhere around the 50’s or 60’s. It is solid wood, sanded to bare wood and is solid. It has only mineral spirits on the bare wood to see the grain.

    • ejmeier

      Where are you located? Where do you believe this table originated from, geographically? Any noticeable scent when sanding it?

      • Mr_Jinx

        I’m in NH and the desk was built in Jasper, IN. I can’t say for sure about a smell. Its a fair hard wood. A hard birch maybe but it has a nice natural reddish color. The top wasn’t in bad condition when I got it.

  • Andrea

    Can anyone tell what kind of wood might this be? I cut out this little piece from a painted board (the piece you see in the pics isn’t painted nor anything else). I had the original board from a friend of mine who told me that was IROKO. However he wasn’t sure about it.
    It seems hard and solid, but it gets scratches quite easily (and that’s why I’m still not sure it is iroko). It’s light as well.
    If it’s iroko (or some other very hard wood) I’m gonna use it to make the fretboard of a ukulele, as I’m planning.

    • ejmeier

      I agree it could be Iroko. Unfortunately, we’d need to see a clear, sanded, closeup shot of the endgrain to have a better chance at an ID.

  • Ty

    Identify this wood

    • ejmeier

      Can’t tell from that pic, sorry.

    • Mr_Jinx

      looks like pine

  • Betty

    Can someone identify what type of wood this is?

    http://imgur.com/a/pNLin

    • ejmeier

      Very hard to tell from those pictures. Overall it almost looks like a softwood, but the rippled grain surrounding the knot reminds me of a fine-grained hardwood. Possibly birch?

  • TRim Tab Girl boat

    HiI have this large deer carved . The wood is suppose to be fro Africa Can anyone id it .

    • ejmeier

      Looks like a species of Red Palm to me.

  • Melissa Mader

    Having trouble identifying these 2 pieces- Any ideas?
    The First Pic is a headboard built in the 70s and the second is a table built in the 60’s

    • ejmeier

      First one looks like a type of mahogany. Second one is very nondescript, so I can’t really tell from that picture.

  • This is an old wooden box, but I just can’t pick the wood. It’s been grossly over glossed and I’d love tho sand it back to it’s original colour. Any ideas on what it could be? I’d be very appreciative if anyone could help! My Dad seems to think it’s pine, but I’m not sure.

    • ejmeier

      Are you referring to the wood in the upper left of the picture? It looks like quartersawn White Oak. That stain and appearance is characteristic of many antiques, and while I am generally opposed to staining wood in most instances, if you stripped it down to bare wood and refinished it a natural color, you may regret it. If the finish itself isn’t in the best shape, there’s other things you can do to refinish that doesn’t involve sanding down to bare wood and removing the stain.

      • Yes, I am :) It was made in Australia, but I’m not sure if get white oak out here? I can’t stand the hi-gloss finish and the lighter wood you can see on the inside is in it’s natural state. What would you recommend to refinish it? Cheers!

  • JAIMEY

    DOES ANYONE KNOW WHAT TYPE OF WOOD THIS IS?

    • ejmeier

      More than likely a rotary cut softwood veneer, possibly Douglas Fir or Larch.

  • Andi

    Hello was wondering if anybody could please identify these wood pieces. They are very hard and heavy. No smell and are completely dry.

    • ejmeier

      I would not really classify true mahogany as being VERY hard or heavy: it’s moderate weight and ease of sanding/working is actually appreciated. I can’t tell from the rough surfaces of those pics. If possible, plane/sand the surfaces, and ideally, get a finely sanded shot of the endgrain.

      • Andi

        Thanks for responding, here are some sanded pics of the end grain (wet and dry) and top of piece. This particular piece has a two tone color to it. Thinking about the weight, I compared it to a piece of maple of similar dimension and the maple was a lot heavier. Upon sanding, it was easier than I thought it would be. Thanks again for any more insight.

  • Katie Glittera

    My aunt bought a curio cabinet about 20 years ago and lost her paperwork. She asked me to help her id the wood. It sounds like a solid like wood when I tap and knock on the panels, but not a heavy “thunk” like when you knock on particleboard. Any ideas?

    • ejmeier

      The wood has been stained, and appears to be either a softwood like pine, or possibly birch.

      • Katie Glittera

        Thank you

  • Andrew Mansour

    A customer wanted wood and stain to match this photo. Any thoughts?

    • ejmeier

      Looks like birch plywood stained with a dark red mahogany stain.

  • Clive A.

    Hi. Can you identify this wood. Its collor is a pinkish red and a tint lighter than padouk. I’ve included a piece of walnut for comparison. Thank you in advance

  • Clive A.

    Ok. as I’ve failed to submit photos last time I’ll try again. Its collor is a pinkish red and a tint lighter than padouk. I’ve included a piece of walnut for comparison. Thank you in advance.

    • ejmeier

      Looks like a Pterocarpus spp. to me (i.e., some type of Padauk). There can be a lot of color variation with Padauk. I remember one vender even sold what was called “bacon” padauk, which looked, quite honestly, like strips of bacon.

      • Clive A.

        Thank you ejmeier. It should be mouth watering.
        It’s a pity though, my sample is too soft for micro work. I was planning to carve a cufflink with it.

  • Dominic Strezynski

    Hi, I just purchased this table on eBay and the lady selling it could not remember what type of wood it was. I took pictures of stained and polished side and the underside that was left raw.

    I would appreciate any help.

    Kind Regards

  • darkktur o

    Can anyone tell me what this wood is ? It’s a very thick veneer, front and back.

  • ejmeier

    Sure looks like Beech to me.

  • Tonydavid

    Can anyone identify this type(s) of wood in this table and stools? I brought this set 25 years ago and don’t know its history. Now I am trying to describe it in order to try and sell it. Thanks in advance for your expertise!

  • Connie

    Could you please help me identify type of wood or maybe hard bamboo very heavy

    • ejmeier

      Can’t tell from the pics, but it appears to be stained to imitate walnut. Almost certainly not bamboo.

  • ejmeier

    Possibly Sumac?

  • Kenny Pohlman

    I am having an ongoing dispute with Kraftmaid Cabinet Co, I somewhat know my wood species but they are trying to pass red oakoff as hickory…….the stain color is dark but the grain and how the finish absorbed into the wood leaving pin holes tells me it is red oak. Can anyone help with identifying facts. Thank you

    • ejmeier

      Do you have any pictures? Oak will have visible rays if you know how to spot them — not sure what you mean by pinholes though.

      • Kenny Pohlman

        Pinholes are from the finish settling into the grains

        • ejmeier

          Yes, the finish has settled into the larger earlywood pores. This is common to a number of ring porous hardwoods (including hickory). I don’t see any rays in these pictures, so I’m not sure if it’s oak. If it were oak, you should be ale to make out at least some ray fleck on rift to quartersawn areas of the wood. Maybe more pictures would help.

  • Amber Carroll

    Any idea what this wood is? It’s a 25 yr old mountain dulcimer. The wood is not fragrant.

    • ejmeier

      The bottom looks a whole lot like Goncalo Alves. The sides could be the same wood too, though it reminds me more of something like Koa or Australian Blackwood.

  • how can you tell if wood is Ash?

  • Stacey D

    Ihave a dresser that has laminate on one drawer that has broken off. I would like to replace the laminate on the one drawer. Would you help with what type of laminate this is?

    • ejmeier

      Possibly mahogany. If you’re just going for an approximate match, mahogany will get you very close, provided you match the grain.

  • Rizyx

    Any ideas what this wood is?

    I want to say mahogany but not entirely sure.

  • Andrea Stockert

    Hi all! Can anyone help me identify the type of wood this old dresser is made of? Beautiful – just can’t identify.

    • ejmeier

      Looks like some sort of fancy veneer, probably mahogany.

  • Maarten

    Here is another hopeful with a picture of antique furniture! I am very curious what type of wood this wardrobe was made of (might be different types). Origin of the furniture is north of France, 1920’ies (or so I was told by the vendor, at least). I’d be very grateful to anyone knowledgeable enough to determine the wood.

  • David hsi

    Can anyone tell what kind of wood this might be based on the pattern shown (I already send off stain for restain)? It’s a couple pics. I think it is Kentucky Coffeetree after a week doing serch on Internet, but still not very sure.

    • ejmeier

      David, that very much looks like a softwood. Coffeetree is a ring-porous hardwood, which means that you should be able to see pores arranged to make the growth rings, and I don’t see any pores in your samples. It’s much more important to focus on the anatomy rather than the overall color of the wood for ID. I would start on the page on softwood identification and look for resin canals. http://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/softwood-anatomy/

  • Rich Stevens

    I have a wood desk and it’s extremely heavy. I am trying to confirm the type of wood the top is. Does anybody have an idea by this photo? The dark side is stained and the other side is where I removed the stain. Thank you.

    • ejmeier

      If I had to guess, I’d say it was some kiln dried walnut. Kiln drying tends to take some of the richness of color out of the walnut, and that explains the dark reddish brown stain that was used. BTW, those tiny black spots in the stained portion are from a technique known as “flyspecking” which was big in the 70s and 80s. Today most people think it’s pretty ugly — best to sand it down to raw wood if possible!

      • HectorVon Spector

        purple angel

  • jane

    Hi, just wondering if you can help me identify what kind of wood is this board made off as well as the chess pieces. I was told it is an Antique Chess Set. When you open the draws where you store the pieces, it has a very strong wood smell.

  • Joanne Malone

    Can anyone tell me a). if this is even wood. And b). What type

  • td Smp

    Hi, I’m looking to figure out what these large, lightweight planks I have are made of. I have a few 15″ wide pieces that seem very soft, no knots or burts and a very straight grain. I have made a few picture frames out of them and want to be able to correctly identify them to potential buyers. Here is a pic with the rough sawn plank, some freshly sanded pieces, and the top one with some water on it to show the general finish color. And one picture frame with a single coat of shellac. Thanks so much for your help!

  • Jimmy Finley

    Anybody have an idea of what kind of wood this is? I got it with a batch of rosewood and it kinda has that smell when worked but it is certainly more brittle…great figure and sounds good too. Indian rosewood binding(trim).

    • bionara

      Quilted maple?

  • Jason Montell

    Walnut

  • ejmeier

    Possibly Douglas Fir? Hard to say for sure without getting an anlysis of the endgrain and check for resin canals.

  • Jarvis Tech

    Any help with this. Its from Texas. The bark came off real easy and made good tender. I’m hoping it would be okay to cook with as i have a truck load of it. It’s hard wood. We spent hours chopping bits of it with an axe. Please and thank you.

    • Reuben Miller Sr.

      Looks like American Cedar elm to me.

  • Truth seeker

    Hi, can anyone please tell me what kind of wood this wardrobe I found is?

  • Palmer James

    Can anyone please help identify this timber frame material? It was made in 1988/1978, thanks

  • Too Good To Toss
    • ejmeier

      Can you get a closer shot of the grain? A sanded closeup endgrain shot would also help.

  • Liz

    I am trying o figure out if the trim installed with my new windows is the same quality as the siding on my home. It looks rougher and not as nice. Admittedly, it is just primed light gray, not yet painted, but as you can see the boards are much grainier and appear to be a rougher cut then the taupe painted siding of my home. Can you tell if 1) it is cedar and 2) if the quality is the same as what is on my home (the taupe horizontal boards.) Thank you for the help https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ab023cfbc0d8ba50758403962d54f2ef4d526cf2e4b6ad1ab59532f6a1e357b2.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8cc0627df14bb49d98bd1413fd5bc14f2c37ddb5583b84f04baab29f5a04e94c.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/abd4f91024f931c702db66d637d01c148092fe10bf07c468bc4beb22e9d4bde8.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1ff218fc7b24fb62a51a32d88fa3057c941af90fedb0c7277b98749c67011a65.jpg

  • sangeetha balaji
    • sangeetha balaji

      Is the above cedar or pine. The seller says it’s all cedar and my friend is doubting whether pine might be mixed

  • Sean Tostanoski

    I was working on a handle and I got this piece of wood from a friend and he did not know what kind of wood it was. It is a hardwood and relativity heavy/dense for its size. I was wondering if anyone hand any ideas what it might be.
    Any help would be great. Thanks! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7c24ac80ac1ac627ac9a807a55d08803e5eeddd47b6c871617d050bd435456b5.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f55337cb5e0d5ac8c668002f414539b8ea42c51c44c7001bb55e4766e9d9a05d.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5adf3ab8c652eec24a72a73ead70d589c3ff2c35b88ececb77717befc6c4581a.jpg

    • noypi

      is it a monocot? looks similar to a monocot (e.g. coconut) or any forest palms we called bahi or pugahan (Caryota cumingii syn. mitis)

  • Bluey Smith
    • ejmeier

      Well, I’m stumped. You should keep in mind that foreign pallet wood is about the hardest of all types of wood to ID. Not only because it is foreign (which in most cases would be enough of a challenge, especially coming from Taiwan), but because it is a pallet wood, where more obscure or lesser known species are known to pop up.

      • Bluey Smith

        Thanks for trying Ejmeier!

  • Mohd Abdul Mateen
  • Hank D’Alelio Etcs

    Hello everyone. I have a desk that I bought seven years ago that I am trying to sell. Not sure what kind of wood it is made of. Any insight you could provide would be appreciated. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4baff69248f7c8ffcef947cf1a68f6464538fbb9b4957d14cdb5e1a9190869f9.jpg

  • Jennifer Lightman

    I would really appreciate if someone could help me identify the type of wood this cane bench was made with. It is a solid wood piece and heavy. Thanks! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/08f50314c81969f9aece24d547f7227fdbc3057d59d09494d4c4bbc6be68dbce.jpg

    • ejmeier

      I can’t really tell because it appears that that may not be the natural color of the wood. At the very least, it appears to be stained to look like walnut.

  • Michael Hinchey

    I’m looking to identify this wood. Below is a few samples after removing stain and paint. The paint was over the stain. I removed first by a heat gun and then by a chemical remover. It def wasn’t an easy task. I’m hoping the end result is worth it. Thx in advance. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b69cb1e7a0414d3be3257f55829746b53b49ad78e58f94aeb99ac3aa9281cf4a.jpg https https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/10f316da92a122baf9bb7f5c745ee8a7c377cf5daa581102064bc62aa08db7cd.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5c372153d6eedf1ad38937be1bf37f98e228aaa28b64fdae783cf7303eb8f5a8.jpg ://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8c08bdf0c37360902e7e8c7f0a8954c6198fb554f8b523171d7145bbdd490999.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8d50a0d4939fa3a52e8505cb9896fd7a88bc852775f2bccae2096f86e65d6044.jpg

  • Dave Lloyd

    I’m not sure how often this page is viewed – trying to identify the attached piece of wood. One image is of the face grain, the other end grain. Any help is appreciated. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/493187b7a405039050034c164f537ad6003ae48401132f4ddc7de3a7d85f54d1.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d9d03a198230b75878667acb9bc2d9c9fb01c9d461ab59b11f13281e23c608bb.jpg

  • Hanad
  • Sharon Principe

    Hi. I recently purchased this unusual object that I am calling a Hall Table, as that is where I am going to eventually put it. It is made from a very heavy wood, has no discernible smell, and appears to be at least 75% hand-made. The wood on the base juts out at the back by 1.5″, which makes me think it was intended to be attached to a wall or another piece of furniture, though I can’t see any nail marks on them. The lathed front corner details are grooved by hand, as is the front cupboard door detailing. The back top panel is rough, though safe to rub your hand along, and seems to be made from a darker wood. I don’t know what type of joint is used to make the drawers. Hope someone can help me identify it!

  • Sharon Principe
    • ejmeier

      Looks like it’s possible that a number of different woods have been used. Can’t tell for certain from the pictures, but some of the first pictures remind me of Pterocarpus species, such as Narra, or Muninga. This is just a guess though.

      • Sharon Principe

        Thanks for the reply. Of the two you have suggested the Narra is the closest in stained depth of colour. Are they heavy woods?

        • ejmeier

          They are relatively heavy, yes. Also of note, many Pterocapus species are under pressure from Chinese rosewood industry, so perhaps if it is a Pterocarpus species of some type, the value of the raw wood will be going up!

  • JAGAMATRIX
    • ejmeier

      It looks awfully red, so I’m not sure if the color is correct, or if that’s a natural color. If it’s really that orangish red, it may be a Pterocarpus species like Padauk. But with those yellowish deposits I am seeing, that suggests something like Merbau (Intsia spp.).

  • Marina Rice Fleetwood
  • SC

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6bb54309b2dfc69be56875d1e8e5e45281dc1b6e6814cef2be2b54dce31ad3f8.jpg

    Can anyone tell me if this looks like a laminate or veneer? It’s a dining table top. The rest of the table is solid wood and very heavy. So I’m confused on why the maker would be a laminate top on a wood table.

    Thank you

    • SC
    • ejmeier

      Yes, it looks veneered. There are many reasons to veneer a table top. Cost, judicious use of resources, and stability (very wide boards that are solid wood tend to be less stable and more prone to warping).

      • SC

        Thank you. It’s definitely not solid wood. What I’m wondering is if it’s actually a plastic (or other material) laminate instead of a wood veneer. I cannot figure out what type of wood this is, if it is a veneer. It doesn’t look like any kind of wood on the wood identification pages I’ve looked at. So I wonder if it’s actually a laminate product that is printed to look like wood grain.

        • ejmeier

          That’s a very real possibility. Are there any chips, gouges, or areas where the top surface has worn through at all? That will usually be the area to inspect to see if it is in fact real wood or not. (At this moment I am writing this in an office on a desk where the top is supposed to look like Black Walnut, but it is 100% fake and just printed plastic.)

  • Michael C
    • bionara

      looks like Ovangkol, but i could be wrong!

  • Peter Noel
  • linkekatze
    • ejmeier

      That last picture strongly suggests a ring-porous hardwood. Typically this pore arrangement is usually seen in trees that grow in temperate climates.

  • Say
  • Michele Tesser Shuman

    Hi all,
    I just happened to find this site and I thank you in advance if someone can help us out. In our new home we are using Acacida wood pre stained a very very dark brown, let’s say dark chocolate color.
    Our problem is finding a comparable wood for our steps. We are using 4′ treads and we have 37 steps. The price we were quoted almost knocked us over. Any ideas for a coordinating wood that can be stained to compliment the dark Acacida trough out the house? We know it won’t be exact but something that would blend beautifully.
    Again, any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you. M.Shuman

    • ejmeier

      I bet Jatoba would look nice and is pretty hard as well. Otherwise, Ash can be stained to look like pretty much anything.

  • Gareth Williams
  • Carolina

    We bought a piece of furniture sold as “veneer over solid wood. However there are parts of it that looks like sawdust wood…. do you know if there is an overall % of veneer over solid wood for furtunure stores to advertise it as veneer over solid wood when in reality it’s only part of the whole furniture is?

    Very frustrating to have the furniture at home and a closer inspection shows cheap material…

  • Alan Rickman

    I’m in the process of repairing my 70 year old red oak living room floor and decided to use wood from my upstairs closet floor. i noticed that half the planks look and feel different here’s a picture to help identify
    thank you
    FYI wood has a strong pleasant aroma…. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a92ee95853dce047ac4e54b03e7ac61d94f3328afd854c8651578404417c1126.jpg

    • ejmeier

      It may be the difference between white oak and red oak.

  • Jimmy Jingga

    Can someone help me to identify my wood based on this photograph? I have no clue what kind of wood that I have on hand since the man sold it to me also don’t know about it.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e18a6e2eae51235df4d3cdc8ad7afefcb58f11403dd51a4db18140bd271318e5.jpg

    • ejmeier

      Where are you located, and/or where did the wood come from? I would need a clear, sanded, closeup shot of the endgrain to be able to have a better chance at ID.

  • Nicholas Kislak

    Hi everyone, I have a guitar without any marks, would you be able to help identify is it a real wood, or even what kind of wood is it? https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/05f5052610665702f42eca604fa3893537670c86212a5679d9322cdb3ad5543f.jpg

  • Carey Wilson

    Hello – I need to repair some damage to the doors and door frames in my apartment and am trying to identify the type of wood. Any help is much appreciated! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/618416b9806e051bc5a91a0e0edca4c32c8031b335c2bd730261a79c65fb65fd.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2af7a3bfb1c8bbd55a86a935c3001c354168e9c8c63bc5f6a1f9b08f8b0fbbad.jpg

  • Karla Helbert

    Can anyone anyone tell what kind of wood this is? No stain, I rubbed it with jojoba oil. No idea how old it is or where it was carved. Thank you ?
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9b73d8af31c5b998b0bab02b2495db55a82d60e7a692f7ba5e3b556871c1fab8.jpg

  • Karla Helbert
    • ejmeier

      Can’t tell, though it appears to have very large open pores. If I absolutely had to guess, I would venture to say it may be an Albizia species, or something related (like Monkeypod).

      • Karla Helbert

        Thank you so much! It is pretty heavy for its size and has those two distinct colors of blonde and deeper reddish–I see that the photo looks a little like the light is causing the coloration but it’s actually that light –it’s all one piece.

  • Reuben Miller Sr.

    Can anyone tell me what this furniture is made of. My uncle sold it to me recently. He bought at an auction. He thought it was mesquite, but I think it may be pecan. I cut a hole in the back to run wires and the wood is probably just as hard as hickory. It also kind of reminds me of a cedar elm that recently died from drought. I took a pic under one of the shelves where it wasn’t stained. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1c4fa07e214d3dfd3e871617b951857c083fa8dac0c506620ca9e0b23a0ef0b0.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7d0dc1b862de17a919aa13445d3ddf4bdd3ae3f13392c45d8aaeed5d132d3131.jpg

  • Reuben Miller Sr.

    Can anyone tell me what this furniture is made of. My uncle sold it to me recently. He bought at an auction. He thought it was mesquite, but I think it may be pecan. I cut a hole in the back to run wires and the wood is probably just as hard as hickory. It also kind of reminds me of a cedar elm that recently died from drought. I took a pic under one of the shelves where it wasn’t stained. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3de0e44131bf6d887139ef31c91f0178f8cf13441d7687b429b23d4f1f776cb5.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1c4fa07e214d3dfd3e871617b951857c083fa8dac0c506620ca9e0b23a0ef0b0 https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9aec6bc94f387e500c2103c38e08c1ae67cb96e9df9e433017a4405a53ed874f.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7d0dc1b862de17a919aa13445d3ddf4bdd3ae3f13392c45d8aaeed5d132d3131.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5ecb802c97faef3df2d180825fded9ca33bfa5c70de46219fbb9456fb1ae4b2b.jpg .jpg

    • ejmeier

      I would need to see a finely sanded closeup shot of the endgrain to be able to have a shot getting a tentative ID.

  • Ryan Rodriguez Williams
  • Rich

    I’d love to know what wood this is, can anyone help?

    It is an old table top, made by Reynolds of Ludlow, sometime after the 1950s. The wood is pale brown when sanded as shown in the picture, with much lighter sapwood. The darker wood is relatively hard, although not as hard or heavy as oak. The sapwood is much softer, easily scored with a wire brush.

    When oiled it comes up a much more orange-red colour, although the sapwood stays about the same colour.

    Thanks!

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d776e4b83eaf0cd20712587b0668e582445eeb70e5b3a85439a4e1976b89728b.jpg

  • Alanna Jurden
    • ejmeier

      Looks the closest to me like strand-woven bamboo flooring.

  • Jacob Clark
    • ejmeier

      Can’t tell from that distance. The color at least resembles a walnut look.

  • Michael Hunter
    • ejmeier

      Oak.