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Mark A

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Can anyone tell me what this is?
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It was found in a wood pile on the docks and smells like seaweed, and is very heavy. A quick plane revealed a nice piece of timber underneath all the crud. Please tell me it's something rare and exotic!

Cheers,
Mark
 

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Rob Platt

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pecan is the only thing i can come up with. otherwise i haven`t got a clue. are the black lines supposed to be there? or is it some sort of rot setting in? i`m guessing that its about 4" wide would that be about right? is weight due to saturation?
all the best
rob
 

Mark A

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Hi Rob

It's about 4 1/2" square and dry underneath the top layer of dirt. My reciprocating saw had a hard time cutting off the end so it's quite tough - if this helps in any way to identify it?
 

woodbloke

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If near docks and is hard and heavy, I'd go for greenheart but it's a bit light in colour, gh is a deep green - Rob
 

lincs1963

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Hard to tell from that pic but most of the old timber that was used as piles etc on docks was greenheart. It is very hard and after 100+ years in the water only the 1st 5mm is affected by the water. I saw some huge lumps pulled out of Grimsby docks a few years ago.
 

Creampuff

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Another vote for Greenheart

Its a very commen Timber for Docks and Sea defences.



Andy
 

Mark A

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Thanks guys

Any suggestions what I can use it for? Perhaps an mallet?

Cheers,
Mark
 

twothumbs

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If it is Greenheart, it doesn't burn well and will destroy your fire bars. It glows a deep red at high temperatures rather than burns. Will last indefinately below water line.
 

MickCheese

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Wikipedia says Greenheart is another name for Lignum Vitae. But other sources say it is a member of the Laurel family. Is Wikipedia wrong?

Mick
 

awkwood

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I havent used much greenhart, But it was alot darker in colour than your photo, more yellow/olive green
I made a few of mallet heads form offcuts. They have lasted well, But do split in time
 

bosshogg

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Greenheart is an oak used for marine environments, as already noted, and old Salmon/Pike fishing rods. Scot of the Antarctic's boat "Discovery" was braced with 24" x 24" Greenheart, against crushing in the ice. The boat can be seen as part of a visitors centre at Dundee's Discovery Point, it's pretty cool...bosshogg :)

I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.
Albert Einstein 8)
 

CHJ

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If it is greenheart then be aware that it causes severe infection when splinters penetrate the skin.
 

Rob Platt

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like a lot of timber id its not what it is but what it isn`t. i`m not an expert by any means but all the greenheart ive seen was different in colour to this. had you not said docks i wonder how many would have said greenheart?. in the docks as far as i know the lock gates would have had timbers more like 12x12 rather than 4 1/2 x4 1/2 and all of the construction would be on a big scale . i certainly wouldn`t want to get into either betting on it or arguing but with 10,000+ different woods around i`m sticking with i haven`t got a clue.
all the best
rob
 

lincs1963

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MickCheese":27evt5bu said:
Wikipedia says Greenheart is another name for Lignum Vitae. But other sources say it is a member of the Laurel family. Is Wikipedia wrong?

Mick
Don't take too much notice of wikipedia, it has had a lot of press recently about just how wrong a lot of the entries are on there. You need to remember that all the articles and facts are submitted by members of the public and are not checked very well before being released. There is a group of people who have set out to get as many b$%*&it facts as possible published on there.
 

jimi43

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lincs1963":idyzwf7r said:
MickCheese":idyzwf7r said:
Wikipedia says Greenheart is another name for Lignum Vitae. But other sources say it is a member of the Laurel family. Is Wikipedia wrong?

Mick
Don't take too much notice of wikipedia, it has had a lot of press recently about just how wrong a lot of the entries are on there. You need to remember that all the articles and facts are submitted by members of the public and are not checked very well before being released. There is a group of people who have set out to get as many b$%*&it facts as possible published on there.
You may be right there...it would seem that this is a species thing...similar to the confusions with rosewoods.

With the extensive use of true Lignum Vitae (Guaiacum Sanctum, Guaiacum Officinale) for bearings and other industrial uses...it has now become a CITES registered species and needs a certificate. Greenheart has always been a common name that I have seen and I have seen very green examples of mallets made of this variant.

However...if one searches the World Agro Forest Tree Database for LIGNUM VITAE there is no mention of the common name GREENHEART....but if you search the same database for GREENHEART aka IPE it would appear that it is "turnip Lignum Vitae" Tabebuia serratifolia which has similar but not identical properties to the real thing.

One of the key differences is that it appears to be susceptible to wood boring worms found in marine uses. True LV is not.

As with all tree identification....the only true confirmation of identity is with a botanical analysis.

Interesting! You learn something new every day!

Jim
 

Richard T

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Certainly not green in colour - more pink it appears, or could that just be down to that particular photo?

I've had very old, weathered Oak come up like that, especially with those surface cracks running so deep and in that pattern. Looks very like the cross pieces on my back door that were once defunct park bench rails and had had a very hard life. :-k
 

Mark A

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Curiouser and curiouser!

I've searched through some directories of timbers but no luck yet. I can't believe I've stumped you lot! :mrgreen:

Mark
 

bosshogg

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Boat Building Woods

Tropical species

A project to identify species of lumber suitable for boat building (excerpt from US Forest Products Laboritary )

Ocotea rodiaei Demerara Greenheart, Greenheart
Family: Lauraceae
Other Common Names: Bibiru, Sipiri, Kevatuk (Guyana), Beeberoe, Demerara groenhart, Sipiroe (Surinam).
Uses: Marine and ship construction, lock gates, docks, industrial flooring, vats, filter press plates, piling, heavy construction, turnery, specialty items (fishing rods, billiard cue butts)




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Home > Materials Guide > Lumber & Plywood > Wood Species 2
Greenheart
Wood Anecdote



Greenheart (excerpt from the wood magazine)


Duck! Here Comes the Greenheart
Explosive as well as poisonous, greenheart does have some good qualities -- like durability that rivals teak's. Sawyers in Guyana, Surinam, and Venezuela have nasty enough work in the tropical heat day in and day out without worrying about exploding logs on top of it all. But when a load of greenheart comes to the mill, they treat the logs like a truckload of ticking time bombs.
The species Ocotea rodiei, it seems, has an usual tendency to split apart so quickly and with such force that pieces of the log can fly when air hits the saw kerf. In at least one instance, sections of a greenheart log actually pierced a mill roof. To prevent such mishaps, mill hands secure the section of the log that has already passed through the saw with a stout chain.
As if controlling greenheart's explosive tendency isn't a scary enough situation, all who work the wood also must avoid getting splinters. That's because greenheart, while nontoxic and nonirritating to the touch, somehow causes severe infection when splinters of it penetrate the skin.
"Why do these lumberman even bother with the wood?" For several reasons. Besides being a pretty wood, greenheart ranks second only to teak in its natural resistance to marine borers and other insects attacks.
It also has high shock resistance, great crushing strength, a high density, and takes a polish with little effort. Such attributes attract ship and boat builders. Before man-made materials, fishing rod makers liked greenheart because it bent without breaking.
Illustration: Jim Stevenson

Lignum Vitae - Guaiacum sanctum (from the site lignum-vitae.com)

Lignum vitae is reddish brown when freshly cut, with pale yellow sapwood. As it oxidizes, the color turns to a deep green, often with black details. The grain is highly interlocked, making it difficult to work with edge tools, but it machines well and takes a high polish. It is a remarkably good wood for turning.

Lignum vitae end grain.jpg
Lignum vitae.jpg




A couple of interesting facts about Greenheart and lignum vitae above, not least the reference to how, when oxidised lignum vitae turns green, a misconception perhaps? greenheart is not green, both are from a different genus and both were used extensively in marine environments. Oh! and both come from the same continent, the Americas.

Cheers...bosshogg
 

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