What species is this...?

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Forum topic by Dan_SCW posted 07-24-2018 06:13 PM 968 views 0 times favorited 30 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 360 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


294 posts in 3209 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

View bondogaposis's profile


5452 posts in 2770 days

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


-- Bondo Gaposis

View 000's profile


2859 posts in 1318 days

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

Not sure of the center board

View ShaneA's profile


7084 posts in 3017 days

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

Top and bottom look like cherry to me too.

View Aj2's profile


2321 posts in 2217 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 360 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


976 posts in 3502 days

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


-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

View TheFridge's profile


10858 posts in 1905 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 2039 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


2271 posts in 3057 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


10858 posts in 1905 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


1494 posts in 1913 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


1816 posts in 2895 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


507 posts in 3613 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


5452 posts in 2770 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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