I noticed a local restaurant is remodeling and they have a dumpster full of
old booths. Always on the lookout for free wood, I browsed it. The booths
are mostly plywood construction with some cheap 2x6 pine trim but they are
internally framed with plenty of this hardwood. I have no idea what it is.
I snagged a few pieces and planed them to take a look. I'm giving links to
pics for some help determining if it is worth the effort required to tear
it all out and pull staples. The manager said I could have all I want.
It doesn't feel dense like oak, it is surprisingly light but still hard.
It is very pretty when planed with long flowing soft grain and it varies
from red to nearly white.
Here are the pics.
I've worked with poplar and this is not as smooth or as lightly colored as
the poplar I'm used to. I'm thinking birch. After someone said that, I
looked at some birch plywood I have and it is pretty close.
The appearance of face grain and the apparent color  is
somewhat similar to pecan, but the end grain does not look nearly dense
enough. Unless the sample is exceedingly hard, I'd rule out pecan.
The point about the weight is a good one. Bruce, what's it weigh and what
are the sizes of the pieces? Pecan averages 3.9 lb/bf. Birch is around
3.6-3.8 lb/bf, and poplar typically weighs under 2.4 lb/bf.
 Digital images generally are not very accurate as to color, and the
human eye sees color in relative, rather than absolute, terms. The
background strongly influences perceived colors.
Well, the large piece is:
3-7/8 x 13/16 x 34-15/32 making it 108.5 CuIn and .75363 BdFt. It weighs
1.6375 lbs making it 2.17 lb/BdFt.
Told you it was light. That does sound more like poplar. It is also quite
a bit lighter than birch or beech. I can't find a weight for alder. The
only problem I have is that there seems to be way too much red and brown in
it to look like the poplar I'm familiar with.
Alder is virtually identical to poplar in density, so that matches well
with your sample.
That's another vote in favor of alder. I've seen a rather large variety
of colors in "yellow" poplar, but they tend more toward the greens and
sometimes even blues than the reds. Red alder is nearly white when cut,
but it soon changes to reddish or yellowish light brown or tan.
As far as use goes, poplar and alder are in the same class. Alder is all
the rage lately in local cabinetry, for the 'distressed' look. Maple is a
lot harder to distress! (G)
Depends on how you value your time, how large the pieces are, and what it
would take to put it to use. Around here (Tucson, AZ), alder is one of
the least expensive woods, and that's despite that it has to be trucked
in. Costs about $2/bf. I'd probably pass, unless I could put them to good
use easily and soon.
Depends on *you*. If there were long, clear bits without staples, I'd
salvage it for sure. If it's got lots and lots of staples every little
bit, like the furniture box pallets I brought home, then you should
probably pass. I wrecked a saw blade on a piece of staple I missed, and I
removed a *lot* of staples. I ended up tossing that stuff.
Depends on how poor you are too. I exploit every source I can for free
materials because it's the only way I can afford to continue making things.
If there were fairly large clear sections, I would salvage those benches
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < email@example.com>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
Well, I'm not poor but I love FREE! I think I'll go back and get a select
few pieces. The staples aren't too bad in the 1x2 stuff, worse in the 1x4
stuff, which is what I really wanted. I can always use it on small
Just my 2 cents.
1st cent. As I recollect, alder is a type of "cottonwood" as is
poplar. The common name pretty much refers to the same tree, same
wood in different parts of the country. Split up by scientific
(latin) names the cottonwoods don't really differ that much as I
2nd cent. I don't think it's birch. If you can't mark the surface
with your fingernail, my guess would be beech.
Not so. Cottonwood and alder are the same genus. Tulip poplar is not. The woods
are different, too, though not as much as red oak and white oak, which are the
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