Wood Identification Fun

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Fitzroy

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So I bought a piece of timber today from Facebook marketplace. Advertised as oak. Rough sawn and out of the shed of a recently passed in father in law, likely been there decades, old, dirty and brown. But for £50 for 2cuft of timber it was worth a punt. It was not super heavy and thought at worst I could have just ended up with some old pine.

Got it home and couldn’t resist a few shavings to see what I had. Well golly gosh, what a fragrance and what a colour, certainly not oak nor pine! But it’s a work day and I had to sit and stew until I finished. But that smell was like nothing I’d used before.

Finally I could go and play more. I planed off a bit more and trimmed the end off on the mitre saw so I could see the end grain. By this time I thought I may have something exotic so it was full on dust mask and extraction as some of the exotic wood dusts can be nasty.

At this point this is what I had.
04BE4E3E-978F-45FA-8062-B556EC1C10B0.jpeg

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Highly aromatic, slightly spicy, smell when planed or sanded. Dark brown in colour and fine grained with very small end pores. Off to the internet.

Spoiler, I think I know what it is but you may want to pause here and play along!
 

Fitzroy

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So off I went to the internet with searching for brown spicy smelling wood. I found this excellent site, which I think I’ve seen before. The Wood Database

The have odour characteristics and lots of other things you can filter on, and great photos of the wood and endgrain. A key thing I forgot about was density. It’s a nice big chunk I have, at 8’x1’x3”. So I got the scales out the bathroom and weighed it up, 36kg on the nose. That translates to 620kg/m3 or 37lb/ft3. Quite a low density wood as it stands, which with such a tight grain structure I was surprised.

I was trying to get a better look at the endgrain and I was examining the end I cut off. Talk about unobservant! I found this.
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Not so clear on the photo but with some manipulation!
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So with lots more data it was back to the wood database. I also planed a larger area.
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Fitz.
 

Fitzroy

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From the wood database there were two or three options that fit the data and the only way to tell them apart seems to be the end grain detail.

I tried to photo the end grain with little success, I planed a thin shaving with a sharp plane and that helped a little then I remembered by boys microscope. Now we were getting serious.
CFEEF061-DFD7-45C6-ADF2-5DE6C1119769.jpeg

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Unfortunately the microscope idea was a bust. I then cut a piece and sanded the end grain up to 1200grit. Success I managed to get some good pictures of it just on the iphone.
5B6B8D76-105E-48B9-8BCE-DA22D853D037.jpeg


Putting all the evidence together I came up with Imbuia Imbuia | The Wood Database - Lumber Identification (Hardwood).

Now I need to decide what to use it for, but for now it’s in the corner as I get back to the workbench project.

Fitz.
 

TRITON

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Intriguing🤔

Actually my first thought was imbuya. Im sure I've come across that somewhere and ive a photographic memory, so sometimes the answer just pops in from that. Though doubt then rears its head and i'm never sure :LOL:
Its the mottled appearance that struck a chord.

So what are you going to do with it then ?.
 

Inspector

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My buddy made a water bed from it in the early 80s. He selected the boards with the most figure, lots of curl in it. Later he sold me a couple boards to make a fitted gun case for a custom made flintlock another gent made. I still remember the spicy smell when freshly cut or sanded. It was a lighter colour, getting towards a yellow brown inside the board, darkening to the chestnut brown later. He still has 8 to 12 big boards stashed away in his shop.

Pete
 

Fitzroy

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Intriguing🤔

Actually my first thought was imbuya. Im sure I've come across that somewhere and ive a photographic memory, so sometimes the answer just pops in from that. Though doubt then rears its head and i'm never sure :LOL:
Its the mottled appearance that struck a chord.

So what are you going to do with it then ?.
No idea, it’s thick enough to rib in half and open up, I was thinking table top but that would only be 2’ wide, perhaps a contrasting light coloured board down the middle.
 

dickm

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It won't if the density is 620kg/m3. Not many woods sink (needs to have density >1000 kg/m3). I have some massaranduba which has a density of 1,080 kg/m3 so that does.
There was an Exochorda, which is usually only a bush, in the Cruickshank Botanic Garden in Aberdeen which actually reached about 10" diameter at the base before it had to come down. I got some short bits in with the firewood, and was amazed at its density. About 1400kg/m3. Takes a lovely finish, and before planing looks quite like the surface in the lower heading pic, but cracks horribly and is just like trying to turn iron.
 

hodsdonr

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Imbuia has a pleasant very distinctive smell, that once smelt will be remembered and is a sure identification bet. The photo of the "larger area planed" is typical Imbuia. It was very widely used here in South Africa for good quality furniture post WW2 . Grew up with a Imbuia dining room suite, still going strong today. Trade in Imbuia was suspended by CITES a while back, so it isn't /wasn't commercially available . dont know what the current situation is. Lovely to turn and work with.
 
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