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Mystery Wood

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by webby3650, Nov 29, 2008.

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  1. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    This wood has stumped me ( no pun intended). I thought it was an oak, after it was dropped I wasn't for sure. It is like no other tree I have ever worked with, I have been unable to have it positively identified locally. I hope someone has split this stuff before. None of this wood actually split, it all ripped. It is very white inside with a nutty smell ( when it was wet). About 24"in diameter 40' tall.

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  2. fallsfire36

    fallsfire36 New Member

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    It looks like it might be ash...what were the small branches like? If they were short, stout, and opposite (making T's at every branch)...it's ash.
  3. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    It's not ash. I burn alot of ash every year. I am familiar with all the common woods around southern Indiana. I think this might be an introduced tree.
  4. Burn-1

    Burn-1 Feeling the Heat

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    It looks like some of the larger cottonwood/poplar type trees I cut down earlier this year. Those were equally white & stringy.
  5. adrpga498

    adrpga498 Minister of Fire

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    I would guess a "gum " ball tree . I hate those tress .
  6. Pagey

    Pagey Minister of Fire

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    Looks sort of like a much larger piece of the sourwood I ran into the other day. Very, very string stuff. Does not split nice at all.
  7. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

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    Possibly white elm
  8. ac900tc

    ac900tc New Member

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    I will also go with Cottonwood. Very stringy, and tough to split when wet.
  9. brisawyer

    brisawyer Member

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    My money is on Gum probably sweet gum. What did the leaves look like?
  10. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    I think you might be on to something with this sourwood. I am not familiar with it, so I googled it, lookes like it could be it. When I split it the grain seemed twisted, came apart in very irregular pieces. I am familiar with all the other wood mentioned and no match. I remembered going back to the site this summer to get a leaf sample, it was single lobed and slightly waxy. Any more experiences with sourwood?
  11. brisawyer

    brisawyer Member

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    I dont think sourwood gets that big but there is always an exception to the rule. May be black gum it has a basic oval shaped leaf did you notice any kind of berries on the tree in the fall. Sweet gum has a star shaped leaf so its not that
  12. Pagey

    Pagey Minister of Fire

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    I have little experience with Sourwood. I was splitting some Red Oak with a friend the other weekend, and we kept coming across an odd piece that was much whiter in the middle, and it was very, very stringy. He said it was some species of Gum, but when I asked dad, he said it was Sourwood. Now, Sourwood might be related to the Gum, as the Wiki entry (as best I can recall) said it had sour leaves that were like chewing "gum".

    EDIT: found this site: http://www.cas.vanderbilt.edu/bioimages/species/frame/oxar.htm

    and this pic: http://www.cas.vanderbilt.edu/bioimages/image/o/oxar--br11624.htm
  13. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    Like I said I am not familiar with sourwood either, but I looked at Black Gum, it seems it may the same. It calls it Black Tupelo and Sour Gum, I don't know if it the same as Sourwood. The leaves look the same from the few pics I found.
  14. Pagey

    Pagey Minister of Fire

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    Well, around here the names could be used for the same thing. I doubt that the names people assign trees in rural TN are based on any scientific nomenclature. ;-) Most of what we know was probably passed down orally as far as the names of some of these trees go. I could show that piece of "Sourwood" to ten different guys and get ten different "my daddy always told us that was _________" answers, each one surely definitive.
  15. Pagey

    Pagey Minister of Fire

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    Found a small split of "Sourwood".

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  16. fabguy01

    fabguy01 New Member

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    Mullberry?
  17. CTBurner

    CTBurner Member

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    I just cut and split a cord of that and around here we call that Ash
  18. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    Pagey, The wood I have does not look much like the sourwood that you have pictured. This had a bit of dark heartwood at first but dissapeared when it dried. Thank you for the pics. I know what ash is, I have about a cord of it right now! It is deffinitly not white Ash. Does anyone know if Black Gum or "Sour Gum" is the same as Sourwood. Thank You all for the help
  19. Pagey

    Pagey Minister of Fire

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    Well, according to Wikipedia, Blackgum is of the Cornaceae Family and Sourwood is of the Ericaceae Family. I'm not a botanist, so I can't say how closely related they are. However, their bark and leaves are relatively similar. You just have have yourself some Blackgum there, sir.
  20. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    No idea what it is, but I know what it is not: ash, no way!
  21. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    Thanks to all for your input and research, I think I have some Black Gum!
  22. johnsopi

    johnsopi Minister of Fire

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    I've had Black Gum before, very hard to splitt and go punky fast. A lot of bark that fall off fast. I have a lot of Sweet
    Gum it is hard to splitt.
  23. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    I burned some of the larger splits for the first time tonight, it burned pretty fast even with my air turned to low, but it was sure hot. It seasoned very well!
  24. Pagey

    Pagey Minister of Fire

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    I burned several Sourwood splits last night. They do burn hot and fast. Pops and crackles a lot like Cedar, too.
  25. polaris

    polaris Feeling the Heat

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    I'm almost positive it's blk. gum. There is an interesting story about black gum here in KY. While at ft. Boonesborough in the early/mid 1700's the folks found themselves under attack by the locals(indians). Some genius remembered the gum log that no one in the FT. could spilt. They hollowed out the log with red hot iron then wrapped it with a couple of wagon wheel bands for good measure, set it on a pivot, loaded it with black powder, rocks, nails and iron scrap. They got a brave soul to fire it at a clump of trees where some of the locals had been firng from and let it rip. Several of the attackers were killed or wounded. It worked so well they tried it again with great success. On the third shot the gum log cannon exploded killing the poor soul who fired it. Just goes to show how tough gum can be to split.
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