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Oak versus maple ID on splits, or?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by gyrfalcon, Oct 30, 2008.

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  1. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    My c/d/s wood is the typical "mixed hardwood"-- a lot of beech, some black birch, some rock maple. But there are some fairly small splits, 4 or 5 inches, that are noticeably heavier, holding onto their bark, with fewer and thinner cracks, and reluctant to burn despite having been stacked (by moi) out in sun and wind for about six months. I don't remember my wood guy saying anything about oak, but is it possible that's what these are? The bark, to my still only semi-educated eye, doesn't look that much different from the maple-- maybe a little flatter, thinner, lighter, but nothing dramatic or definite that it couldn't just be another of the many species of maple, except that it's not as dry as the rest of the wood that's had the same treatment. It's a fair percentage of my firewood supply for this winter, but I'm thinking of picking it out of my shed and putting it right back out on the stacks until next year if I can do without it this year.

    Anybody have any thoughts about ID'ing this wood just from the splits or what it might be? If I can figure out how to do it, I'll post a pic, but that may take me a while.

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  2. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    Pics would help. Does it smell like oak? Oak has a pretty distinct smell. It also takes forever to season, so it very well could be...
  3. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    You described the bark, but what do the guts look like? Oak and maple bark should be different enough (and I do not feel like it sounds like it looks like oak), but the grain and color of the wood will help rule some ideas in or out.
    And smell, yes, you'll know if it's oak!
    Hard to say not knowing, but sounds maybe like ironwood to me. Did you ask your wood guy?
  4. woodburn

    woodburn Member

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    This kind of question definitely calls for some pictures. Can you put any up?
  5. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    Ironwood-- you mean as in hornbeam? I think that's a very real possibility since Googling tells me it's abundant around here and the pix of bark I can turn up look at least plausible, although bark looks so different at different ages, it's hard to be sure. But the bark is fairly flat and a little scaly looking.

    It hardly has any odor at all, and although I'd have to go split a couple pieces further down to say anything definitive about color, it looks to be pretty ordinary, um, wood-color wood. :)

    It just occurred to me this evening that maybe this stuff was really a different species, so haven't had a chance to track down my wood guy and ask, but it certainly seems like a real possibility. I don't remember him mentioning hornbeam, but he may have.

    OK, so if that's what it is, will another year of seasoning be enough for it, do you guess? BLAST. I struggled through last winter with only minimally seasoned wood and I'm not sure I can get through this winter without using this stuff. I was REALLY hoping to have that problem behind me forever.
  6. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    You're entirely right, and I should have waited to post until I had a chance to take some and fiddle around with the camera and software and Web site, yada, yada, yada, but I got impatient. I'll re-post the question when I can get some pix in order.
  7. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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  8. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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