Unidentified timber


Hi All, I have a twelve foot length of ships timber rescued from the beach a couple of years ago. I originally registered it with Receiver of Wreck and presented it to my local museum but they have now given me it back.
It has been identified as end of the 18th century by the National Maritime Museum (based on the copper/bronze pins still in place), but of no value historically as there are no identifiable features to ident it to vessel. The NMM cleared me to use it for carving.
I cut into it last week and found that the wood is very hard and completely black with only a faint figuring visible which looks something like Oak. I asked Kew Gardens if they could ident the wood if I sent them a piece - they agreed, if I pay them 100.00 plus VAT.
Can anyone one advise how I could get this timber identified without spending a hundred quid on it please?
IanF
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

<snip>
It would be helpful to post a picture showing the grain from a couple of angles on alt.binaries.pictures.woodworking. From the color and faint grain, it may be ebony (if so buy another lock for the door!<G>). I have no idea what chemical/color changes long immersion would have on any wood, however. Can you estimate its volume/weight? And a Google search will reveal a few sites with photos for the purpose of identifying wood species as well. Sorry I don't have links on this machine. Tom
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

About 90% that it is oak, being a favored northern/western hemisphere shipbuilding wood. Look for the ray figure, along with the ring porous structure, a dead giveaway.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
George wrote:

Thanks for the input. I'll take a pic of the timber over the next couple of days and post it here.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Over time a lot of wood species turn black from oxidation and become unidentifiable by normal means. Contact someone at a University with a maritime archeology dept, very likely someone there could tell you what it is for free.
As mentioned earlier it is probably oak .
Perhaps this fellow could help http://www.bcuc.ac.uk/main.asp?page 29
IanF wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks Icepick, I will mail this guy today.
Ian
Icepick wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

I believe that US citizens can have this done for free (up to 5 pieces / year) by their Forest Products Lab (the people who write the big book that's so useful). Know any Yanks ?
I'd agree that it's probably oak. Most of it was.
This is also a good time to buy a copy of Hoadley's "Identifying Wood". _Well_ worth it, even if it is a bit too American-centric at times..
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 15 Sep 2005 00:45:15 +0100, Andy Dingley

Andy is quite right about Hoadley. And with a microscope (or even a good powerful hand lens) & Hoadley's instructions, you could come up with a definite id, unless it's a weird tropical timber. Of course, between the microscope and the book, it might set you back 100 quid. :-)
Luigi Replace "nonet" with "yukonomics" for real email address www.yukonomics.ca/wooddorking/humour.html www.yukonomics.ca/wooddorking/antifaq.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Woodworking
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

46 quid gets you a really good illuminated Luxo magnifier / lamp from Greenweld. I've just bought a couple to give to my outsourced glass workers who were complaing about lack of light tiring them out..
If you must have a microscope, get a low-powered _stereo_ microsocope (maybe x36) which will cost 40-50 quid off eBay. This is also a useful tool for sharpening. 200-250 quid gets a Russian barrel or zoom stereo microscope which is even more fun. A friend keeps one on his kitchen table, which can get a bit gross when the cheeseboard comes around with the stilton on it.
Hoadley is cheap in Bath at present (10 quid?) The remainders bookshop on Bog Island (back of the abbey, towards the river). Garret Hack's plane book too. I almost bought myself a second copy of both, just because I can't resist a bargain !
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Hoadley is free at http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/fplgtr/fplgtr113/fplgtr113.htm
Most of the illustrations are even the same.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Hi All,Thanks for the help. I've followed ICEPICK's advice and spoken to Dr Andy Pitman at Buckinghamshire Uni. I've just despatched a piece to him so hopefully I'll know more next week.
IanF
George wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ian - Let us know what this mystery wood is .
Have you dried out the wood ? How solid is it ? Got anything in mind for it ?
IanF wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Hi Icepick, I donated the timber to our local museum almost two years ago. Since then it has sat in the Barge Workshops at Helebridge, so by the time they gave me it back (no funding for storing/preserving) a short while ago it was well dried out.
This is the heaviest piece of wood I have ever handled. A three foot section. thick end 10 x 6 inches narrowing to 4 x 4, needed a careful lift, so it is very dense. It is also hard; cutting is difficult and I think that my Foredom will be the the tool of choice. My big problem will be getting it down to useable sizes. Ripping a piece lengthwise with a handsaw yesterday took an awful lot of energy and with the foreign bodies in there, bronze pins and iron nails, I don't fancy taking it to anyone with a big enough bandsaw to handle it.
I'm currently into stylised birds which are initially laminated from contrasting woods before carving. I don't do individual birds at the mo', they are all in groups doing things - trying to put a story into each one. I sold two at our local exhibition last week so well pleased. This wood will be particularly good as very dark and contrasting wings, cheek patches etc.
As soon as I hear back from the Uni I will post details here, hopefully next week as I sent the sample first class at lunchtime today.
Ian
Icepick wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ian - Hmm maybe it isn't oak but some tropical wood with brass and iron no less.... the mystery continues
If you can post a link to some of your bird carvings , I would like to see them.
Best Wishes ! Tom " Icepick " Reiver
IanF wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Sounds like it could be turning into bog oak?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 15 Sep 2005 22:59:59 +0100, Andy Dingley

Correction to that - Greenweld are now supplying a hunk-of-junk Chinese magnifier instead, for the same price. I'm distinctly unhappy about this - the old ones were good, the new ones aren't worth a fraction of this price.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.