Yeah concensus seems to be it is all pine except probably (possibly?)
It matters to me though not in a life-or-death sort of matter.
First, in a "sappy" sort of way, I have really bonded with my house and
take great pride and interest in knowing all the details of its
construction so that I can continue to maintain and restore it.
Second, there are some areas of flooring that I want to eventually patch
and other areas that I might want to match when we do renovations. So,
it would be helpful to know as precisely as possible what type of wood I
am dealing with. Since the wood is old, I would like to be on the
"lookout" for acquiring similar old samples ripped out of other houses
that I would store for future use in my house -- but I can't do that
without at least knowing more about the type of wood actually in my
Thanks again to all for the help here!
There are a lot of resources out there for old growth lumber, especially
flooring. I recently built a house where we bought structural pine from
an old tobacco warehouse in North Carolina through a broker and had
2000sf milled for 5 1/2" flooring for a total cost of just under $11k
(+/- $5.40sf), delivered to the Austin, TX vicinity.
Which in my experience as a builder, is not all that bad considering it
was exactly what the client wanted.
There were a number of similar deals on the web, so there was plenty to
pick and choose from.
A good place to start your search locally is a retailer that specializes
in recycled products of all types, like this outfit in Austin which
brokered the above deal:
The advice to get an up close and personal professional opinion is
sound, and you may find someone through a local resource like the above.
On Jan 31, 6:42 am, firstname.lastname@example.org (Doug Miller) wrote:
The 'elm' hypothesis is unlikely; that wood was notoriously difficult
work, and the time period suggests carbide saws were not in use.
Old hardwood (of this vintage) could be American chestnut; it was
widely used, before the blight took it all away. Or, almost all
are reportedly some isolated stands remaining).
On Sun, 31 Jan 2010 08:50:32 -0500, the infamous Nova
Yeah, with tht exception of the first two, which could have been
hemlock or just VG pine.
Nah, definitely not cherry. It's a vertical grain, but pine again.
All the pics look like softwood. I had pine flooring in my old house
in Vista, CA, so the look was familiar when I saw these pics.
3rd floor looks much newer/narrower, as does half the 2nd floor guest.
The kitchen is newer, too.
Blueman, if you're having work done on them, check with several older
flooring guys who'll have more knowledge about requirements for
blending new wood into old. It's an art. I knew a younger carpetlayer
who was fairly knowledgeable but he always used the older guys for at
least a consult on wood flooring projects, and they always looked
Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire,
you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.
-- George Bernard Shaw
Based on color and grain, I had thought that the 3rd floor hall and 2nd
floor bedroom along with probably the 2nd floor guest room (and maybe
even the stairs) were pine.
But I am surprised that the 1st and 2nd floor hall flooring is also
pine. The grain is so much tighter and straighter and the color so much
more orange (vs. the yellow of the other pine) that I was sure it must
be a different wood. Could the difference all be explained by being
The fact that the first and 2nd floor halls (which are the same as the
dining room, living room, parlor) is a "better" wood and/or cut makes
sense since the old-time Yankees were known to be "cheap" - putting the
best wood in the most public spaces.
Similarly, the (new) kitchen floor looks very different - based on color,
grain pattern, and presence of streaks of sapwood. I had thought maybe
it was fir but that was just a guess. In any case, it looks very
different from all the other woods.
Unfortunately, all the floors are quite soft and susceptible to
scratching and denting... which would be consistent with woods like
And inconsistent w/ SYP which is significantly harder than the white pines.
I couldn't see all the pictures (w/ dialup the resolution was such as
didn't want to wait) but I'd take Swing's take seriously based on what I
did look at.
OK, I did look at the new kitchen just now -- same comment as before
wish could see w/o the glare and the finish. It's outside possible fir;
if so it should be significantly harder than the pine. But, the finish
is such I'd not rule out pine--it's random cut; you can see some are
pretty narrow quarter-sawn while other is face grain. The marked
contrast there is a hint towards the fir I'll grant. Again, there's
quite a lot of glare and the yellow cast is mostly finish/lighting I wager??
It all looks like southern yellow pine, to me. Pretty common flooring in
"common folk" housing straight through to the early 1900's (the 20's or so).
It's harder than most pine and despite the "southern" designation, it grew
up and down the eastern seaboard. The kitchen night be fir but I doubt it.
The only 2 things that stick out about it is they are all even width (3"?)
and there is some sapwood in it. All of the other rooms are all heartwood
and random width.
None of it is cherry, for sure.
All of it appears to be yellow and or white pine, the kitchen baffles
me a bit but I'd hazard to guess that it could be birch. (I have seen
it that tight and that colour.) Second guess would be Douglas Fir in
the kitchen. But it almost certainly isn't cherry.
You have plenty of expert opinions. As someone who is a professional in old
buildings I can tell you there is no way to positively identify a species
from looking at it. Distinguishing between softwoods is especially
difficult. if the timber is really felled in the eighteenth century it will
not necessary fall into the categories of off the shelf building timber that
you get today.
When I last spoke to a specialist in timber in old buildings he told me that
the only judgement he would make with certainty by just looking at timber
was to sometimes declare it 'not oak'. None of your floors are oak.
I'm a little baffled by the construction history. THe guest room and
kitchen were built in the late 1700's, but the main part of the house
in the 1860's?
I'm guessing the "main part" was a significant addition to a much
smaller house. But the wood looks verrrry similar.
But it's OK, I'k often confused.
Your 1st floor is *exactly* what I have the hallway of my in my 1860-built
home in Northern NY.
Yes it is softwood, but significantly tougher than modern (new growth) pine.
Sadly, I don't know what species it is.
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