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Got Wood?
November 16, 2012 7:49 AM   Subscribe

The Wood Database has specifications and photos of many types of wood to help guide their identification (but beware the pitfalls). The site also features articles on safety and other matters.
posted by exogenous (18 comments total) 49 users marked this as a favorite

 
I love this site. I often bring it up on my phone while I am digging through the section of exotic hardwoods and off-cuts at the local lumber place.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 7:57 AM on November 16, 2012


Everyone, just get it out of your system.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:12 AM on November 16, 2012 [14 favorites]


Your timing for this is perfect! I had a neighbor who was a woodworker, he made nice turned stuff mostly as a hobby. He died ten plus years ago. His widow recently got tenants in her basement that are paying the rent through swear equity. I saw the other day that they had set out in the trash several odds and ends of oak and red cedar and I thought that if I couldn't use them in a project, they'd at least make decent kindling for the fire. When I picked them up I saw another board sticking out of a large box. At first I thought it was a stained piece of oak, but as I turned it over I realized I had a nice piece of wenge. In the box were chunks of ebony the size of my head that must weigh 10 pounds each and a board marked in grease-pencil as "paela". And that was just the stuff I could identify before your post!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:16 AM on November 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


More wood reference:

The Wood Book (includes actual samples of wood).

What Wood Is That? A Manual of Wood Identification. Along with ID help, each write-up includes engineering and design details, geographic info, common uses, and etc for each wood.

The Encyclopedia of Wood (USDA). Some ID, but lots of engineering detail about wood.

Wood Handbook: Wood as an Engineering Material (USDA) . A classic. An updated version is available online, free. (Lots more wood science is available from the USDA.)

And, finally, Identifying Wood: Accurate Results with Simple Tools. I haven't held this wood book in my hands, but the cover image makes me giggle.
posted by notyou at 8:18 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


His widow recently got tenants in her basement that are paying the rent through swear equity.

I'd own this whole motherfucking town.
posted by notyou at 8:19 AM on November 16, 2012 [10 favorites]


At first I thought it was a stained piece of oak, but as I turned it over I realized I had a nice piece of wenge. In the box were chunks of ebony the size of my head that must weigh 10 pounds each and a board marked in grease-pencil as "paela". And that was just the stuff I could identify before your post!

That stuff sounds really heavy. You should probably ship it to me for safe storage. I have really, uh, hard floors.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 8:26 AM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wasn't this also in an ask-me about "highly informative sites/posters like the 'how to identify and name bolts' infographic" ? (Since I bookmarked both the bolt graphic and this site at the same time )
posted by k5.user at 8:28 AM on November 16, 2012


Tee hee, sex bolts! /junior high
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:38 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I recently inherited an antique trunk of unknown wood that I've been trying to identify. The "pitfalls" link makes me feel better that I'm probably not going to be successful!
posted by nicebookrack at 8:45 AM on November 16, 2012


Ron Swanson has no need for this information.

He identifies the tree before felling it. With an axe.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 9:18 AM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hot or Knot?
posted by hal9k at 9:22 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can only think that this sentence should be extended to "Got wood for your sheep?"

I've spent too much time on the island of Catan.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 9:34 AM on November 16, 2012


#2: the Larch.
posted by bondcliff at 9:55 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's a really nice site. This is a pretty interesting wood, and now fairly rare as a building material: Port Orford cedar. Port Orford grows only around (guess?) Port Orford Oregon. It was a prized boat-building wood because of the oils which as the site says, smell intensely of ginger/turpentine. It has also been coveted by the Japanese because it is the most similar wood to what is traditionally used for coffins and hot tubs. The very familiar Lawson cedar used in landscaping is a cultivar of Port Orford cedar.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 10:19 AM on November 16, 2012


I love that people exist who proudly proclaim, "I love wood," and don't give a shit what people think.

"Fuck you. I love wood and I'm making a whole website about it. If you don't like it, don't visit it."

Good for this dude (and is there any doubt it's a dude?).
posted by Phreesh at 11:01 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


When I was in Scouts, we had a scoutmaster that was an amazingly talented wood carver. Like, we'd be sitting around the campfire whittling and BS-ing with him, and while we were bleeding all over our crappy pointed sticks he'd be making shit like this. (Not his actual work, but representative of his capabilities, only his stuff was nicer.)

When he left the troop we gave him a large (48" 12" X 6") piece of basswood, which due to its even grain structure is a very fine wood for wood carving. A piece of lumber that size is lot of wood to carve! The gift caught him completely off guard and made this imposing man of few outward emotions genuinely misty eyed, which was sweet.

tl;dr: our scoutmaster will forever remember us for the massive good wood we gave him.
posted by mosk at 11:25 AM on November 16, 2012


The best typo ever:

His widow recently got tenants in her basement that are paying the rent through swear equity.
posted by mule98J at 5:05 PM on November 16, 2012


My dad used to bring me to some specialty hardwood store when I was a kid. All kinds of balsa and ebony and crazy walnuts and stuff. We had lots of samples of these things. (Well, lots compared to a baseline household. Not a large percentage of this database.)

What I wish is for is this same database but for metals and alloys. I've got tons of stuff in my scrap bin that I don't dare attempt to machine because what if it turns out to be harderthandiamondium?
posted by DU at 4:39 AM on November 20, 2012


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