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OldWood

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I've just been up to the site of an old house near Edinburgh to see what a friend of mine was talking about re. a fallen tree. He sent me because he had seen the branch wood and the stump, and had identified yew because it was brown in the centre and white sapwood.

I've retrieved a 6 ft length x 8" of what he didn't tell me was horribly covered in fresh ivy, and there is plenty more (ivy too!) - the main bole has clearly been removed, I imagine by a timber merchant as it was some 3ft across, and the brown goes down to the stump. The bark says ash to me, but the definite brown colour through all the bole and branch wood is puzzling. I've worked with olive ash but this is a more intense colour than that. Is ash likely to do this or is it possibly an exotic grown on the old house park land?

Rob
 

OldWood

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Ahh - that is interesting. Not familiar with walnut bark but memory says it is well-crinkled a bit like ash. That would well explain why the bole had disappeared so fast. Certainly the colour might well be right and walnut does have white sap wood.

Good suggestion - added urgency now to get the lot !!!!

Ta much - I'll get some piccies tomorrow
Rob
 

OldWood

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Pictures - are these enough for identification ?

I've just done a quick estimate of the amount of wood - 8" to 14" diameter - nearly a ton.

Walnut_1.jpg


Walnut_2.jpg
 

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jurriaan

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I've seen similar colours in oak and elm - a closeup of some leaves may help you in determining the kind of tree.
 

OldWood

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jurriaan":10pocjlt said:
I've seen similar colours in oak and elm - a closeup of some leaves may help you in determining the kind of tree.

Umm --- it's the middle of winter - how am I to look at leaves; and with all respect if I could have seen the leaves I would be either looking up a book or using my own identification skills.

I don't think the bark is like either of oak or elm, plus of course there aren't any elms around now - OK Wych elms but I have significant doubt they would have colouring like this.

Rob
 

jurriaan

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Well, I saw lots of green in the first picture, but didn't get enough detail to see if it was all poison ivy.
 

chipmunk

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Well looking at those pictures it may well be oak.

...but if it is, the presence of medullary rays in the end of the log would pretty much clinch it.

I see it has little side branches too. Are the buds little and light brown on nobbly stems like this...?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnbas/3304532550

That would be another indicator of oak.

Jon
 

kirkpoore1

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I'd say walnut, but I'm not from around there. You could go look for walnuts or acorns lying around on the ground, or, for that matter, piles of dead leaves.

Kirk
 

dickm

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The bark looks a bit too rough for walnut of that diameter, going by the tree in our last garden. But on the other hand, the contrast between heart and sap looks more like walnut than oak. Given the latitude, walnut is possibly less likely, unless it's in a warm town.

Not very helpful!
If there are any buds, then a pic of those would certainly help.
From memory, walnut leaves are even less keen to break down than oak, so maybe a search on the ground would give a clue?
 

OldWood

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OK - we can eliminate walnut ! Lovely idea but I took a sample to a hardwood woodmill in the Scottish Borders this afternoon and they produced a piece of English walnut, which is clearly a much darker and blacker brown.

But they'd not seen anything like this. They put the sample log through a bandsaw which shows the wood better - picture attached.

So I got a lot of eliminations but no identification. I do have another local hardwood guy I'll try - he is local to me and the original tree and it is possible he collected the main trunk.

Edit - these pieces are 350mm x 180mm.

Rob

Walnut_not_bark.jpg
 

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Bodrighy

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This could be anything I have seen hawthorn, blackthorn and even hazel that looks like this, wood and bark. Without a close up of the leaves it would be difficult to tell.

Pete
 

OldWood

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nev":3kmbjoks said:
i also have absolutely no idea :) but it definitely looks like a keeper. i can see why you thought it was walnut.
these may help narrow it down?
http://www.hobbithouseinc.com/personal/woodpics/
http://www.stihl.co.uk/encyclopaedia-of-trees_1.aspx
Thanks for the links, Nev. I've bookmarked both.

The US one with its samples of each wood type are questionable in their helpfulness - would you be able to identify sycamore or yew for instance. More use possibly in getting an idea of what a wood is like than as an identification tool. The toxicity table is of interest.

I like the Stihl one for its information on trees in general. I wonder just how many people know that the Wych elm is also called the Scotch elm - I didn't.

We'll be keeping it unless I find out in the meantime that it is one of the woods that is impossible to dry ! I've got 4 or 5 of us lined up to extract nearly a ton of it.

Rob
 

OldWood

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Bodrighy":bl2my9iz said:
This could be anything I have seen hawthorn, blackthorn and even hazel that looks like this, wood and bark. Without a close up of the leaves it would be difficult to tell.

Pete
I did mention I think that this is bough wood I am showing and up to 350mm diameter. The tree must have been 50ft high at least and it had a 30+ inch stump, so we're talking about tree wood, not large shrubs. I did wonder if the colour was the result of the tree being dead, but this is green wood, and unfortunately there is no way now that a leaf identification will be available.

What I think is a less common in UK woods is the contrast between the sapwood and the core timber, and that I would have thought would help with the identification.

Rob
 

Bodrighy

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Blackthorn and hawthorn are hardly shrubs. No doubt the ones you are used to are the ones you see in hedges. I have had both at two foot diameter where they have been left to just grow. Hazel is also a tree not a shrub and if not trimmed and stunted will grow to a far larger size than normally seen. I have had pieces in excess of 18" diameter where it has been left to grow naturally. Many of our indigenous 'hedge' trees are a lot bigger than normally seen if left. Thre is a lot of wonderful wood out there being ignored because we think of it as shrubs or small stuff.

Pete
 

kirkpoore1

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With that second look, if that was from around here, I'd say black walnut. Any chance it could have been planted, rather than natural growth? Too bad you can't post the smell--black walnut sawdust has a pretty distinctive smell.

Kirk
 

OldWood

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Hi Kirk - can you give an idea of the smell ? Or is it one of those things you can't describe and if it has a smell then think along those lines ?

Being near an old house (now a ruin), it is very possible that it has been planted. The central belt of Scotland has many old houses that had arboriums. A query was raised as to whether walnut would grow here, but we used to collect walnuts for pickling off a large tree at Blairgowrie which is 50 miles north of Edinburgh.

Laburnum I know and it has the wrong bark too (smooth with nobbles), plus it would have to been one hell of a laburnum to be at 50+ft high.

I'm now going off to see the local wood miller who might have been the extractor of the trunk ; if he didn't and can't ID the wood, he may know who might have hauled it out.

Rob
 

Neil Farrer

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Id be tempted to take two thin slices of the bark and the timber and stick them in a jiffy bad to Kew and see if they can help!
 

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