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  1. #1
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    Default Mass wood identification?

    Hi all. Total woodwork novice here, who recently purchased lots of pieces of small timber from a box-maker. They mostly seem to be a handful of varieties, but I really have no idea what they are at all. What's the best way to identify them? If we discount "tasmanian oak" (from labels) and a dark wood that I assume is Merbau, and a couple that are labelled (blackheart sassafras), how would I identify the others?

    And in fact, how much does it matter? Will knowing what wood it is effect how I should prepare or finish it, or what applications I might use it for?

    Even a bunch of squares I found, which are probably samples, aren't labelled - so are kindof useless to me. Could you guys identify those, so I can attempt to match against the other wood?
    IMG_0682.jpg

  2. #2
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    Top row, 2nd left looks like Blackwood and I suspect the dark one next to it is the same.

  3. #3
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    Speaking generally, its hard to identify woods from a picture like this. More & better pics are required + comments on density, odour freshly cut planed faces & ends etc

    There an many commercial and sub-commercial species, potentially hundreds. ID can come from features like colour, density, odour grain & figure which is distinctive to some species or (more likely) to Genera (groups of related species). Initially I suggest you seek the opinions of a few people who have handled a lot such craftwoods but even so you will likely get contrasting & differing opinions based on their experience. There are formal methods - referring to books (eg Bootle) or to accurate reference samples (eg available through some societies eg IWCS or their members) or even showing these commercial suppliers and asking for their opinion,

    Correct identity is up to you, the buyer of receiver of your crafts even as salt and pepper grinders. Most buyers DO appreciate and value knowing what the wood is where it comes from and its history.


    What the wood is will certainly affect how it is used, worked and finished. The sources mentioned above as well as advice from members of a wood club or group like this forum will be very helpful.

    Euge
    (PS: I can help with wood names, uses & IWCS contacts if required. PM me )

  4. #4
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    Maybe I'll start with a couple of the weird ones, and a couple of grab-bags that might be anything

    First one has shiny diagonal "smears" in it depending on the angle of light
    IMG_0695.jpg

    Second one is very very light, shiny, and currently has rough finish
    IMG_0690.jpg

    third one has strange holes and a white smear. fairly heavy.
    IMG_0693.jpg

    I can't read the writing on most of the samples.
    Top 3 on left are blackheart sassafras
    Top 3 on right are blackwood, then 2 myrtle
    No idea on the others. Is "RH Leatherwood" a thing? And bottom left is something-sassafrass? (ed: Spalted?)

    samples.jpg

    Bonus round, identify any of the below.
    random 1.jpg
    random 2.jpg

    I'm looking at
    | WoodSolutions
    | WoodSolutions
    and
    The Wood Database
    Trying to spot things, but hard to match against so many :/

  5. #5
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    Samples:
    I think the 5th and 6th down on the left of the samples are Huon Pine
    And google tells me Red Heart Leatherwood is another tasmanian timber.
    I'm afraid I'll waste something cool just because I don't know what it is. I've got heaps of the dark-brown one, will start playing with that

  6. #6
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    Looks like an oak and the other cedar. Now which oak and which cedar is the next question.

  7. #7
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    Second one looks like Australian Red Cedar and your description matches it, but it could also be, closely related, Surian Cedar. The 'samples' are highly likely to be all Tassie timbers that came as a job lot. Apart from the ones you have identified in the 'samples' there is possibly some Celery Top Pine, Tasmanian Blue Gum is another possibility. I don't see anything in any of your pictures that looks like Merbau.
    Forum members PM me for a discount on all my products - https://www.ebay.com.au/str/aldavsstore

  8. #8
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    Apr 2015
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    Quote Originally Posted by lyricnz View Post
    Maybe I'll start with a couple of the weird ones, and a couple of grab-bags that might be anything

    First one has shiny diagonal "smears" in it depending on the angle of light
    IMG_0695.jpg

    Second one is very very light, shiny, and currently has rough finish
    IMG_0690.jpg

    third one has strange holes and a white smear. fairly heavy.
    IMG_0693.jpg

    I can't read the writing on most of the samples.
    Top 3 on left are blackheart sassafras
    Top 3 on right are blackwood, then 2 myrtle
    No idea on the others. Is "RH Leatherwood" a thing? And bottom left is something-sassafrass? (ed: Spalted?)

    samples.jpg

    Bonus round, identify any of the below.
    random 1.jpg
    random 2.jpg

    I'm looking at
    | WoodSolutions
    | WoodSolutions
    and
    The Wood Database
    Trying to spot things, but hard to match against so many :/
    You haven't replied to me BUT I will continue to reply to you.

    Top one with "smear" (rays) looks like a casuarina to me BUT could be an oak or less likely a silky oak.
    The lightweight, "shiny one" may be Qld maple

    you have answered and read most of the samples ... Tas blackwood & Tas myrtle
    I see 'spalted sassafras' and redheart leatherwood (all Tas) ... yes its "a thing"
    There is bound to be Huon there (pick by its smell of fresh sawn or planed face) and cream oily wood
    Celery Top Pine pronounced fine growth rings, pale & King Billy Pine (pinkish very light weight faint smell) may be there too
    Looks like most are labelled among the "samples" but just not easy to read. Thats the thing. I do see huon there at least 2 .

    ID wood is a learning process. the more you see smell and handle the more you will learn

    E

    PS: Try looking and learning about Tas timbers .. most seem to be these

  9. #9
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    I'm not ignoring you @Euge Thanks for the tip, but I'm not sure I have the skills to readily identify wood by smell or density (though I could weigh and estimate volume, for a density figure if that helped - but i figured the dryness of the would be change that number a lot).

    There's seriously so much stuff, I have no idea what 90% of the varieties are (but, by volume, most of it is Tasmanian Oak, and a dark brown pretty dense wood that I assume is Merbau).

    I need a local "wood buddy" who knows about how to setup a workshop, wood identification, and basic woodworking skills Problem is Mens Sheds seem to only be setup for retirees and I still have work/family.

  10. #10
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    Its all a journey . there is a lot to learn re wood and the learning process is more valuable (IMO) than the ID of all of these. Use them as a start but realise that Tas has many more, Qld more again and those from WA are also unique and different species (not varieties).

    Most of what you have are labelled are identified. Some with gum veins are likely eucalypts eg Messmate stringybark. Huon once you smell it will always be recognisable. Look for distinctive features of each species of wood and see as much wood (identified reliably) as possible. Men's sheds may not be the best place for you, but there may be other wood clubs. Look at wood suppliers stocks, look through mags and books like Bootle, talk to people here learning is this way is best way & there are no short cuts IMO.

    There may be a prospective wood buddy near you who makes hand tools for wood and knows his woods too. You could learn a lot from him. (suggest: Chris Vesper of Vesper Tools, Carrum Downs.. google and see if he will meet you)


    a journey . there is a lot to learn re wood and the learning process is more valuable (IMO) than the ID of all of these. Use them as a star

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by lyricnz View Post

    Bonus round, identify any of the below.
    random 1.jpg
    From my experience the following could all be Tasmanian Blackwood. I'm not saying definitively that they are just I've seen pieces of Blackwood that have looked very similar.
    Top 1,3 and 7
    Bottom 1,2,4,5,6,7
    Tasmanian Blackwood has such a wide colour range it is incredible, I'll post a picture of a few pieces this evening. Also Blackwood has a very light sapwood that can spalt like in the first piece in the bottom row. It also frequently produces that white noise affect like in the fifth piece in the bottom row.

  12. #12
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    McBride BC Canada
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    Default

    CSIRO produced a wood identification card deck. Several hundred species.
    Wood anatomy is as clearly distinct as finferprints. That means thin sections and a microscope.
    The banding you see are multiseriate rays. Learn about vessel element size and ring porous vs diffuse porous.
    Read about the tyloses which seal the wood of white oaks for whiskey/sherry/wine barrels while the red oaks leak like a sieve.

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