I've been coolecting skids, dismantling them and inventorying the wood. Now, it sure would help if I could identify what I've got. I hear you talking about all the exotic woods you've found. The only one I've been able to identify to date has been oak. The only reason I can identify that is because it's hard; strike with hammer and it doesn't dent - hard and it's got flecks(?) in it.
I'm probably way off base but I think my methods are a little too unscientific. In the computer world we use a decision tree ensure that we don't miss anything.
What is your decision tree to identify different species of wood? What tests do you employ to determine things like hardness?
I collect wood and use the standard sample collection size of 3" x 6" x 1/2" and have over 1000 different in my collection. It's a neat hobby because you can do it your entire life and never come close to getting all the species. You can use scrap from your projects and it is a great excuse to go to different places on vacation.
I have studied woods for 4 years and use a loop and microscope to identify the exact Genus, etc. You would be surprised to look through a loop at a freshly cut end grain. It is like a fingerprint and you just match it to existing pictures of the end grain. I have about 20 books with more than 26,000 pictures of the close up end grains.
Comparing the end grain is to an established and accepted picture of a certain species is the only true way to make sure you are correct about wood identification.
Anyone interested in a club for collecting, sharing and trading woods let me know. I am in a couple clubs, but do not participate much anymore. I would like to get back into it. Website with almost any wood
you can think and is the best site I know of: Wood species with pictures about 26,000 pictures
- Scroll down and click on the wood you want to know about. The best books
are below and are considered the bible of wood books, Hoadley is widely regarded as the leading authority and his books are by far the simplest to understand: Identifying Wood
by R Bruce Hoadley
get here:http://www.amazon.com/Identifying-Wo...8089719&sr=1-2 Understanding wood
by R Bruce Hoadley
get here: http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-...8089719&sr=1-1 A guide to useful wood of the worlds
by the international Wood Collectors Society, edited by James H Flynn and DR Charles D Holder More useful wood of the worlds
by the international Wood Collectors Society, edited by James H Flynn
And to start a collection and understand how to identify:
The wood Collection Volume 1
by James and John Lorette - Start Collecting Wood
then click on wood book on the top.
For actually identifying woods:
For a sample identification kit
that contains little pieces of wood and everything you need to identify woods, razor blades, wood, loop, etc, plus a secret list so you can test yourself, can be found here: Actual kits to identify and test yourself
The simplest way to to start is by purchasing a bunch of pre cut to collection size pieces, go here if you are interested: Wood Collection Starter kits
I have a better starter source too, I will post the link soon:
The Club I am in: IWCS
The pictures are of the end grain of Red and White Oak. Cut some end grain of some Red or White Oak you have and look under a 10x loupe it will look like the pictures below.
The picture with the larger holes(left) is Red oak a dead give a way. These lager pores mean Red Oak is not great where moisture is, it will suck the water up like a straw. The white oak(right) has much smaller holes which is why it is better against water penetration.
Every wood has an end grain fingerprint like this on file. At least any wood we can think of.
Hardness is usually determined by a janka test:
The relative hardness of a wood type is measured using a test called the Janka Hardness Rating. This test measures the force needed to embed a steel ball (.444 inch in diameter) to half its diameter in the piece of wood being tested, with the rating measured in pounds of force per square inch. In this rating system, the higher the number the harder the wood. A rating of 100 points more is a noticeable difference in hardness, less than 25 from each other can be considered equal.
Janka Hardness for some woods
1450 Hard Maple
1375 Australian Cypress
1360 White Oak
1300 American Beech
1290 Red Oak(Northern)
1260 Yellow Birch
1225 Heart Pine
1010 Black Walnut
0950 Black Cherry
0870 Southern Yellow Pine (long leaf)
0690 Southern Yellow Pine(short leaf)
0660 Douglas Fir
0380 White Pine
Notice how some soft woods are harder than so called hard woods. Remember hard or soft wood really refers to needles on the tree or leaves and not the woods true hardness. Walnut is not hard although many who do not work with it may think it is because it is a hardwood. Many pines are harder than Walnut and American Cherry is really soft for a hard wood.
Ipe is form 2880 to 3000 janka that is HARD Wood!