Is It the Sapwood, Or Is It Just Me?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by Eric posted 02-25-2008 04:38 PM 1236 views 0 times favorited 1 reply Add to Favorites Watch
View Eric's profile


875 posts in 4295 days

02-25-2008 04:38 PM

Topic tags/keywords: kempas sapwood

When I bought a bunch of kempas 2×4s for my workbench, I didn’t know squat about selecting wood, and ended up getting a mix of heartwood and sapwood boards. No problem. I noticed that one board in particular was nastily face-cracked, which I read means that the board is entirely unusable. (Side note: Could the board have already had all the face cracks, or was it perhaps because I planed it before letting it dry enough first?)

Well I’m working on a box for my wife, and want to use some sapwood as a sort of inlay on the top. Since I only need strips that are about 1/8” by 1/2” and a few inches long, I figured I’d try to get it out of this face-cracked board. Now when I cut a piece off, I noticed a couple of things:
  • The crosscut is glassy smooth. I mean seriously, it feels like glass. Is that common for sapwood, or is it my awesome ryoba pull saw skills? The rip cut, by the way, wasn’t glassy but cleaned up really smooth with my plane.
  • This wood is rock-hard and seems heavier than the heartwood.
  • The pores appear to be “dirty” – you can see what looks kind of like “bleeding” or staining that seems to come from the pores. Even if this is natural, it is not attractive as it looks accidental.

So my question is: Is this normal behavior of sapwood? Or is it because I’m using a ruined board? I figured I’d ask here first before sacrificing another sapwood board, because I’m trying to save most of them for my actual workbench. Here’s a pic of the piece I cut off (click to enlarge), and thanks for any words of wisdom you might have!


-- Eric at

1 reply so far

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 4327 days

#1 posted 02-26-2008 03:59 AM

It looks like something reacted with the tannins in the wood. Kinda like fuming oak.


-- Scott - Chico California

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics