What species is this...?

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Forum topic by Dan_SCW posted 07-24-2018 06:13 PM 1004 views 0 times favorited 30 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 549 days

07-24-2018 06:13 PM

Hello Everyone,

I just received some boards from a friend. These boards had been in their family for 20+ years and have aged beautifully! I’m new to woodworking and so I’m used to seeing fresh wood. On top of that, I’ve only worked with around 6 wood species so far. I’m wondering if anyone recognizes the wood species in the center board pictured below; I’ve got a guess, but I’d like to hear your thoughts.


30 replies so far

View BobAnderton's profile


309 posts in 3398 days

#1 posted 07-24-2018 06:22 PM

It’s hard to tell from the distance the shot is from, but sycamore? (Plane tree for the English folks)

-- Bob Anderton - Austin, TX - Nova 3000 lathe, Alaskan Mark III mill, Husqavarna Saw

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5605 posts in 2959 days

#2 posted 07-24-2018 06:36 PM


-- Bondo Gaposis

View 000's profile


2859 posts in 1507 days

#3 posted 07-24-2018 06:41 PM

Not sure of the center board

View ShaneA's profile


7084 posts in 3206 days

#4 posted 07-24-2018 07:18 PM

Top and bottom look like cherry to me too.

View Aj2's profile (online now)


2650 posts in 2406 days

#5 posted 07-24-2018 08:32 PM

Looks like Cherry to me too. With a little fungus through the middle.
So the species would be (Prunus serotina) if it’s Cherry.

-- Aj

View Dan_SCW's profile


5 posts in 549 days

#6 posted 07-24-2018 08:48 PM

Interesting, I’ve not worked with sycamore or alder… I’ll have to google additional pics to make a comparison.

To be clear, I’m wondering what wood is in the center of the picture, as I don’t have a clue unless it’s also cherry.

View Tony_S's profile


1067 posts in 3691 days

#7 posted 07-24-2018 11:04 PM


-- “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” – Plato

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 2094 days

#8 posted 07-25-2018 12:30 AM


-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View LiveEdge's profile


600 posts in 2228 days

#9 posted 07-25-2018 04:06 PM

Don’t know the middle, but top and bottom are likely either maple or alder. If you can barely dent them with your fingernail, more likely alder.

View Ocelot's profile


2375 posts in 3246 days

#10 posted 07-25-2018 04:36 PM

Since you are new here, you should be warned to ignore any post about alder. It’s a running joke.

Top and bottom look like cherry. Center board could be cherry too. Trim the end of it with a power saw and the smell will tell you if it’s cherry, because… it smells like cherries.


View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 2094 days

#11 posted 07-25-2018 04:47 PM

Alder is never a joke.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View CaptainKlutz's profile


2257 posts in 2102 days

#12 posted 07-25-2018 04:58 PM

+1 Top and bottom look like cherry.

Center piece has unusual combination of colors? Seems to show dark mineral streaking, and both sap/heart wood. If back side of round limb locations has wider swath of pink/brown colors, then would suggest it was cut near sap wood and that might be mineral streaking.

Unfinished heart wood in cherry wood darkens with age and UV exposure. Besides smell, Quick test for old cherry is to use a plane to remove surface layers on heart wood. Freshly cut cherry will have definite pink color, while older cherry turns red/brown.

Alder joke?
Have no idea where this running gag and one word ‘alder’ posts started, not really important. But new folks might not understand? I know I don’t understand the posts.
Been holding my thoughts for long time on this topic, but here goes:

IMHO – Alder is softer than cherry, has boring cream color, dismal grain definition, and dents easily with finger nail. It is too soft/bland for most projects, although it does work OK as poor mans ‘white’ cherry for stained plywood cabinet construction, or as replacement for poplar wood projects. I do use it for some shop fixtures. Several local custom furniture shops use alder as standard cheap grade hardwood for bedroom/office furniture and built in cabinets.
I can buy knotty alder for <$1.50 bdft, and clear alder for <$2.00 at same high volume commercial suppliers that sells east coast cherry for $6 and walnut for $9. It is absolute cheapest ‘hardwood’ sold here in AZ. Semi loads of unsorted (mostly #2 common) 8/4 alder are often found at about same price as grade A Douglas fir shipped down from north west, and is always cheaper than SYP from south east. Alder is so cheap it gets used in higher end homes as wall framing lumber, and even used in mid-level homes during softwood shortages due local building boom cycles. Knowing all this: I laugh every time some one mentions alder in these forums.
Is causing laughter not definition of a joke?
HeHe, HaHa, giggle, giggle :)
Time to move on….

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View WDHLT15's profile


1819 posts in 3084 days

#13 posted 07-26-2018 12:07 AM

Top and bottom are cherry. The middle board looks to be sawn from the sapwood/heartwood interface and is most likely walnut.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View Jeff's profile


516 posts in 3802 days

#14 posted 07-26-2018 12:33 AM

If you look closely at the center piece you can just see the rings identical to the top and bottom pieces. All three are cherry.

View bondogaposis's profile


5605 posts in 2959 days

#15 posted 07-26-2018 12:52 AM

No joke, I actually think the middle board is alder.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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