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Hello all,

I picked up a piece of driftwood in a river in Lake Placid, New York. I'd like to identify it. It's a light grey outside and very light tan inside. When scratched, some places reveal a purple/red color. Not too difficult to hand-saw, but not easy. It has a mild smell but not sure what of. It turns a dark brown when wet. Is there a way I can post pictures here?

Thanks
 

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Yep; that's driftwood...

Hey, Colleen; welcome! :)
The trouble with random pieces of driftwood is that the normal identifying characteristics are all missing. Normally when you look at sawn lumber the first clue is that it's been harvested so somebody knew what it was when it was selected.
With driftwood, the bark has changed colour, assuming there is still bark on it; the leaves are gone, obviously no flowers or fruit, and no indication what size plant it was originally...part of a large shrub or a small branch off a large tree?
The smell might be distinctive but you'd have to have smelled it in the past, and remembered what and where you previously saw it.
A University Dendrology lab could identify it but I'll bet they'd want some serious money...
Tree Identification - dendrology

Plants like Western Red Cedar are a bit different in that the wood is very distinctive, especially the smell. Same for Yellow Cedar.
 

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Are you thinking of using it to make something? I've seen some rather interesting things made from driftwood, even though no one has a clue what kind of tree it came from.

By the way, welcome to the Forum. First queston anyone's asked that didn't get an answer, at least not yet.
 

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Welcome to the Router Forums Collen.

You might have a piece of red cedar, it is really hard to tell with driftwood. You say it has a mild smell and some places reveal a purple/red color. Really if it looks nice you might want to use it for something like jewelry, turning small boxes if you have a lathe or maybe handles for something.
 
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