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Thread: What is this Mystery Wood?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Location
    San Antonio, TX
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    19

    What is this Mystery Wood?

    I bought a bunch of 8/4 mixed wood from a guy in South Texas that was in the oil field. The wood came off of train cars that would be spacers for stacked 36” pipe. All of it was rough wood and full of nail. There was quite a bit of oak, hickory, etc. Each board was approximately 6” wide and 1 7/8” thick. I put this wood through the jointer and said, “WOW!” The figuring was really cool. I truly have no idea what it is. I was thinking possibly the heartwood of maple. It is a closed grain wood, not as dense as oak, but plenty hard. I took it to wood craft and asked what they thought it was. The best guess was Ambrosia Maple. I thought I would ask and find out if y’all could identify it.

  2. #2
    That is definitely not ambrosia maple. I've used a fair amount of ambrosia maple and it looks very different than that.

    When I have that situation, I call the wood "wonder wood" - that is, I wonder what it is.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  3. #3
    I think it’s gum.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    South Coastal Massachusetts
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    Shellbark Hickory

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    56,683
    Not maple including ambrosia bug decorated versions. I'd say a "nut wood" of some sort, like pecan, hickory, etc., especially if it's hard and heavy.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    2,550
    I'm thinking hickory also.
    - When God closes a door, he opens a window. Our heating bill is outrageous & six raccoons got in last night. Please God, this has to stop!
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    NE Iowa
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    One of the several Carya ​species that are known as Calico Hickory?

  8. #8
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    Oct 2008
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    Columbus, OH
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    Hickory is my first thought.
    Brian

    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger or more complicated...it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - E.F. Schumacher

  9. #9
    Hickory also my gut reaction.

    Erik
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    South Coastal Massachusetts
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erik Loza View Post
    Hickory also my gut reaction.

    Erik
    High fiber diet?

  11. #11
    I'm gonna say butternut.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny means View Post
    I'm gonna say butternut.
    Butternut looks like walnut, but is lighter in color (and slightly softer) which is why it's often referred to as "white walnut". I don't see that in the OP's photos at all. Plus...Texas.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Katy, TX
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    708
    If sourced in south Texas specifically (and although Pecan is quite plentiful here too) I'm going to vote Sweet Gum. They both can be visually similar and Sweet Gum has a history of being relatively inexpensive and commonly used in the world of pallet/blocking/crating for truck and train shipping which would seem to match its origin in this case of moving pipe. Nails and crushed stone embedded in the blocking would not be out of the ordinary either, so could be hard on blades... Sweet Gum has a wilder more interlocking grain which typically becomes evident (tear-out) when jointing/planing. The challenge with sweet gum wood will be that it can twist like a pretzel as it dries.
    Your table looks nice by the way, well done

    PS - do a quick google search on "sweet gum wood furniture" and I think you'll recognize the visual similarities.
    Last edited by Brad Schmid; 04-13-2021 at 10:00 PM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Los Angeles
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    884
    I agree with Brad that it looks like Sweetgum, aka liquidambar.

    The OP says it's not as hard as oak, so that rules out hickory for me.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Butternut looks like walnut, but is lighter in color (and slightly softer) which is why it's often referred to as "white walnut". I don't see that in the OP's photos at all. Plus...Texas.
    Butternut is so soft that you could easily dent it deeply with your fingernail. Totally unsuited to pallets or similar. It can be totally beautiful for cabinet faces, though.

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