What wood is this?

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Chestnut is often used in the houses around here. While I have poplar on the top two floors, some of the grander houses have chestnut on the floor just above the parlor floor.
Don <www.donwiss.com> (e-mail link at home page bottom).
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wrote:

Hey, fellow Brooklyn row house owner!
It looks like white oak to me, which is pretty ubiquitous in Brooklyn row houses built around this time. My house was built between 1901 and 1906, depending on what reference source you use, and the two lumber types used here were white oak and poplar.
White oak isn't easy to come by in the yards around here but Rosenzweig in the Bronx has it. Because this wood was typically stained dark you could probably use red oak without anyone being the wiser.
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Steve Manes
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Absolutely not. Oak has a distinctive ray-flake figure visible in its quartersawn surfaces. This figure is completely absent in the photograph. The wood in the photograph is ash, not oak.

Pardon me if I'm a bit skeptical, after seeing you mis-identify the photo as white oak. Mistaking ash for oak is easy to do; ash was often used as a substitute for oak in medium-priced furniture because (a) it's cheaper, and (b) most people can't tell the difference, especially after it's stained.

And if he uses ash, he'll have an exact match -- because that's what it is.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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clipped

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I meant, obviously, that he'll have an exact match to the wood, not to the finish. And anything that he might do to try to match the finish won't result in a matching product if he starts out with the wrong wood.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Here is a wood grain site with photos........it may help you out a bit. It takes a bit for all the wood images to appear....but all eventually will. cheers.
http://www.cnr.vt.edu/DENDRO/dendrology/woodgrain.cfm
Dean
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--
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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avid_hiker wrote:

Just for the sake of argument, I don't believe either oak or ash would ALWAYS appear completely distinctively. I'm familiar with the look of oak, but not the terminology. Rays or flakes? I dunno. Oak is more open grained, as I understand, and the photo makes the wood look open grained. Grain is so close together, I don't see how it would be determined other figures should or should not appear? All the old homes I've seen that had "oak" woodwork may well have had ash (or something else), but never seen one with wood identified as ash :o) Ash used more in furniture?
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wrote:

I'm still trying to figure out why OP is trying to make the finial match the finial in his neighbor's house, instead of making it match the post, the railing, or the finial at the other end (if there is one).
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Because my house is one of ten row houses. With the exception of a few things, like fireplace mantles and some extra trellises, all the houses were identical.
The missing finial is on the ground floor. Woods varied by floor. In my house the ground floor is oak. Then the parlor floor is mahogany. The upper two floors are poplar.
At the other end of the railing, and upwards through the house, the finials are simple balls with three engraved strips around them. This one is the only one like this. That is why I used a neighbor's house to photograph and measure it. I got a large caliper and we took very detailed measurements.
As for the recommendation for Rosenzweig to get the wood. Thanks for the suggestion, but my friend lives in Calgary and he says he can easily get either ash or white oak. (He was visiting when we measured it.)
Gee. I wasn't expecting to start such a long and controversial thread!
Don <www.donwiss.com> (e-mail link at home page bottom).
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You're mistaken. :-) Oak does.

Here, look at this:
http://www.standupdesks.com/images/quartersawn.jpg
That's what quartersawn oak looks like. And if the wood in the photo were oak, some of that figure would be visible -- plainly -- at the right-hand side of the photo, where the grain is quartersawn. It isn't, and therefore the wood is not oak.

Figure such as is visible in the image I referenced above will appear in oak, regardless of how close together the grain lines are. It's caused by physical structures in the tree that appear on their edges when the board is flatsawn (whence the short, dark lines between the grain on flatsawn oak), and on their faces when the board is quartersawn (as shown in the image referenced above). These structures are present in all North American species of oak, and are visible regardless of the manner in which the wood is sawn, or the separation between the grain lines, or any other factor. That they are *not* visible in Don's photograph is incontrovertible proof that the wood in Don's photograph is unquestionably *not* oak. And neither are they obscured by the stain: these ray structures do not absorb stain nearly as readily as the rest of the wood, and staining makes them stand out even more.

As I've noted several times before in this thread, they are *often* confused. Ash is frequently used as a lower-cost substitute for oak, because most people can't tell the difference. Both are widely used in furniture making.
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oak - NOT ash - NOT
it is gum wood
many old world turned pieces were gum wood. that is what it looks like.
|I have an 1891 row house in Brooklyn. One of my newel post finials is | missing. But neighbors with identical houses still have theirs. So a friend | of mine that is adept with a lathe has offered to make me a new one. We | have photographed and measured it. But what is the wood? A fellow that I | once was going to hire to make it said white oak. Then my friend thought it | was Douglas fir. But a friend of his that comes from Eastern Canada says it | is definitely yellow pine, and pointed out several features that are | inconsistent with Douglas fir. Now the only pine in my house is the floors. | And the wainscoting near the finial is oak. My friend says oak is easier to | turn. What do you guys think it is? [Warning, this was not reduced in size, | so it is 441MB.] | |
http://donwiss.com/finial.jpg
| | Don <www.donwiss.com> (e-mail link at home page bottom).
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Nope. It's ash.

This isn't in the Old World.

No, it's not.

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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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