• We invite you to join UKWorkshop.
    Members can turn off viewing Ads!

Recommended Wood Identification book?

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

LancsRick

Established Member
Joined
30 Dec 2011
Messages
912
Reaction score
0
Location
Lancashire
As per title really, I've got a couple of pieces of mystery timber in the workshop, and recently I've really struggled to ID between AWO and European oak, so I figured I should make an effort and get something to educate myself with.

Any recommendations?

Cheers.
 

J-G

Established Member
Joined
20 Jan 2014
Messages
897
Reaction score
208
Location
ATHERSTONE
LancsRick":x5ix9k0x said:
As per title really, I've got a couple of pieces of mystery timber in the workshop, and recently I've really struggled to ID between AWO and European oak, so I figured I should make an effort and get something to educate myself with.

Any recommendations?

Cheers.
I've often used the 'Wood Database' to which I keep a link on my desktop -
https://www.wood-database.com/wood-finder/

It's constantly being updated and can be 'filtered' on many criteria.
 

custard

Established Member
Joined
20 Aug 2008
Messages
7,116
Reaction score
542
Location
Hampshire
I guess that's Scottish Wych Elm, there's quite a bit of it floating around and the further north you go the more of it you'll see.

Here's a couple more book options. Back in the 80's and 90's it was common practise for veneer merchants to give away sample packs of veneers. I've still got some from that period. Some publishers took advantage of this and released wood ID books that had physical samples of different timbers. Here's two such books with an example of a veneer merchant's sample cards,
Wood-ID-Books-01.jpg


One book is The Identification Of Woods Used In Antique Furniture, this had larger pieces of veneer to illustrate key timbers. This book is a bit of a collector's title these days and goes for quite a tidy sum, but you may get lucky and find one at a more reasonable price.
Wood-ID-Books-02.jpg


A more likely candidate is What Wood Is That by Herbert Edlin, this is more common and the price is therefore a bit more realistic,
Wood-ID-Books-03.jpg


But from a practical point of view the best way of building up your wood ID skills is to get out to as many timber yards as possible and spend time handling the boards. Weight, smell, texture and all the other stuff that can't be captured in a photo are then on display.
 

Attachments

LancsRick

Established Member
Joined
30 Dec 2011
Messages
912
Reaction score
0
Location
Lancashire
As always you've tipped up a massively helpful post, thanks custard.

I do mooch around the yards whenever I go but some things I really do struggle with, and sometimes I get an oddball piece that I want to identify.
 

custard

Established Member
Joined
20 Aug 2008
Messages
7,116
Reaction score
542
Location
Hampshire
Going back to your comment about European Oak versus American White Oak, it illustrates one of the key points about timber identification.

Most people who are experienced with Oak can take an educated guess at distinguishing between these two types of Oak, American Oak tends to be paler and doesn't have that straw colour that European Oak has, it tends to be straighter grained and a bit blander, it also has lower tannin levels which some people say make it smell differently (although personally I can't smell any difference).

But here's the thing. Could you, with 100% confidence, say any individual board of Oak is definitely European or definitely American? Not really, Europe and America are both big places with a huge diversity of soils and climates, it's no surprise that there's a fair overlap of characteristics between these two different Oaks.

I believe that Holland has the tallest people in Europe and Malta has the shortest, but there are still plenty of tall Maltese people and plenty of short Dutch people. It's the same with trees, you generally have to accept that you're working with probabilities rather than absolutes.
 
Top