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Tree ID Sugar Maple or Hickory...or something else?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by KingNFM, Oct 18, 2010.

  1. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Kinda like we say while skiing . . . "the last run's when you get hurt"

    For the OP who sounds like he's trying to get his stance figured out, remember this. When you over-shoot, you break wooden handles. When you under-shoot, the handle hits you in the balls. If you glance off to either side, you can literally kill people or animals anywhere near you. Personally, I'm a fan of splitting alone.

    No idea from that pic whether it's Oak or Hickory (I have none of the latter) but as Jay said, if that's Oak, a 12# MonsterMaul should send both halves flyin'

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  2. CountryBoy19

    CountryBoy19 Minister of Fire

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    My thought as well... it's hard to be sure if they are rays or cracks. I think they look more like cracks, that's why I was wanting a good picture of a split too...


    I think he is using a Fiskars Super Splitting Axe. It is definitely made for splitting wood, and it does a very good job at it. It has characteristics of both mauls and axes, and Fiskars calls it a splitting axe. It's much different than a chopping axe. Don't knock his splitting method unless you've also tried the Fiskars splitting axes. They're very good tools, and IMHO, the best money can buy because of the lifetime warranty.

    BTW, I've been splitting Osage Orange with my Fiskars and they're popping right apart fairly well. I think Osage is a nearly perfect wood for the Fiskar's lighter weight. The grain is so strong that rather than absorb the shock it gets transferred through the wood and it splits rather easily. 40% of the time it splits in one hit, 50% in 2 hits, and 10% (mostly really knotty stuff) it takes more than 2. I'm sure a maul could do the exact same thing in this wood, but the best part with the Fiskars is that you don't get fatigued. As a matter of fact, I split a half cord last night after work and I never felt tired, fatigued, or sore from it. I'll split another half cord or so tonight, hopefully I can get a good portion of the remain osage split and stacked, then I'll start hauling more locust.
  3. KingNFM

    KingNFM New Member

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    Here's a picture of a split for you. I'll post pictures of my axe or maul in a minute so you can let me know exactly what it is. It isn't a Fiskars though.

    Attached Files:

  4. KingNFM

    KingNFM New Member

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    Here's my axe or maul. AKA my tool of destruction....

    Attached Files:

  5. CountryBoy19

    CountryBoy19 Minister of Fire

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    I don't see any rays in there... I vote Cherry

    Your eyes in person are better than ours look at pictures, are there any rays in the wood?

    Here are some pictures to help you; you're looking for the rays that go out from the center.

    [​IMG]
    Close-up
    [​IMG]
  6. KingNFM

    KingNFM New Member

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    No, I don't see that in the wood.
  7. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    If it was oak you would definitely see the rays. Very easy to see with the naked eye in oak.

    Again... cherry. Looks just like the stuff I split the other day, only punky. Get it covered from the rain and burn ASAP, it won't be getting any better with age. ;-)
  8. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    I've split many dozens of cords of wood with nothing but an axe. There is a knack to it, but the tool is light and can be accelerated quickly. If the axe wouldn't do it, it got the wedge 'n sledge treatment. I used to be real fast at splitting with an axe, but I've been away from it for some time. A few years ago I found a nice 8# maul head in the crap from my in-laws' estate. I used it enough to like it over the wedge, but then I got the Fiskars and prefer that when it works.

    A good axe is only hardened at the cutting edge, the poll is annealed to make it tougher. Almost every old axe I have is mushroomed out at least a little from somebody pounding on it. Never seen a broken one, but I have seen a lot of deformed eyes, so it's not a good idea. The Fiskars has a very hard edge... too hard, and not tough at all. A cord of locust and several hickory and cherry rounds left the edge so chipped than I had to file off nearly 1/32" of metal to restore it. It still split the wood fine, but I wouldn't want to use it to fell a tree in that condition.

    OTOH my old splitting axe has very little damage and I've never sharpened the edge. The only chips in the edge came from my kids splitting kindling in the basement and hitting the cement floor. Just much better steel in the old tools, no matter what anybody says to the contrary.
  9. KingNFM

    KingNFM New Member

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    Considering that I'm going to have probably a good 2 or 3 cords of this stuff and it will be my sole source of heat for the winter I'm glad to know that I don't have to wait for it to be burnable.
  10. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    I'm startin to wonder about the sanity of some people here :eek:hh:

    That is freakin' Oak all day long! And if you can't split that . . . you must be shorter than the chunk!!!

    Cherry, lol, TFF :coolcheese:
  11. CountryBoy19

    CountryBoy19 Minister of Fire

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    Oh really? Do you mind telling us why you "think" so?

    The op said there are no rays present, which is supported by the lack of rays in the splits. The sapwood to heartwood is very similar to that of cherry and the reddish color of the fresh split pretty much seals the deal. It also seems a bit punky, which we all know that cherry can go punky pretty quick if it's wet. I just cut a cherry a couple weeks ago that had only been down a little over a year and it was already starting to go punky.
  12. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Oak rots from the outside. Look at the OP's pic. Definitive ring of 'punk' around the outside.

    Everyone said it was Oak EXCEPT that the OP had a difficult time splitting it. Now that he has gotten his stance/swing/equipment down, he is splitting it like it's butter to a hot knife.

    Red Oak in Northern Jersey in Mid-October. . .there should be plenty of leaves around, many of which are still partly green, unless it was cut down months ago.

    Perhaps the OP can get some pics of the leaves so you can see what 'cherry' leaves look like %-P
  13. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    LOL, go back and look at the pic of the OP's maul. Note the leaves on the ground. Red Oak.

    And CountryBoy? Not tryin to antagonize ya, but. . . . the pic you posted of the 'rays'? That's not RedOak Dude.
  14. wooddope

    wooddope Member

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    Does the wood have a smell? Try smelling a fresh split
  15. KingNFM

    KingNFM New Member

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    Yes, it does have a smell. Also, don't go by the leaves on the ground. These rounds I'm splitting come from my neighbors yard from trees that he had cut down almost 3 years ago. If you went by the leaves in my yard we'd really be in trouble. I have a crab apple, some maples, one that I think is a beech tree, oak, cherry, and hickory.
  16. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Yeah I better brush up my skill set...
  17. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    Pics of cherry, hickory and oak. Positive ID by yours truly. Which ones have the visible rays? Plenty of end splits in all the wood, but the only light-colored rays visible are in the oak.

    BTW, cherry rots from the outside way worse than oak, but whatever the stuff actually is, IDing wood from pics based on rot and leaves on the ground is pretty insane to me. :roll:

    Attached Files:

  18. wooddope

    wooddope Member

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    So..... Does it have a slightly sweet cherry like odor? Oak tends to smell like swampy mud.
  19. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Well, I AM insane, so of course it does. And I used the pics and info the OP gave us.

    The cherry in YOUR piles is quite identifiable . . . and looks NOTHING like the OP's red oak.

    What's really insane is splitting wood that small and seasoning it that well :lol:
  20. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    Well, it has to fit into the stove. Lot's of the stuff in the photos (not the cherry) was not an easy fit through the top load door.

    And the joke's on you. That wood wasn't seasoned at all, at least in the conventional sense. The cherry was purchased in October, cut and split the day before it was delivered. The oak and hickory were purchased in November in the same condition and stored in my indoor "kiln" for about a month before I started to burn it. Dirty and split ends are no real indication of wood seasoning. Trust me, they were a lot wetter inside than they appear to be.

    Regardless, if there are no visible light-colored rays the wood is not oak. What it is if it ain't cherry, I haven't a clue. I'd like to see a cookie cut off the end of a few of those rounds with a sharp chain, then get a good in-focus shot of the end grain. If there are easily visible rays, it's most likely oak. All I can tell is what I can see from the out-of-focus photo.
  21. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    Oak smells somewhere between propane and cat piss to me.
  22. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    LOL, no problem when the jokes on me. I'm so used to burning big rounds of {mostly Red} Oak that when I see small splits with end cracks, I figure its got lower M/C than mine.

    But, because I can be a prick . . . You say you personally ID' the Cherry/Oak/Hickory, but then you say you bought it?? Tell me the guy who sold you the wood ID' it for ya :zip:

    But anyway , , , I could not definitively ID Hickory, Walnut, Maples, Beech, cause I burn very little of it. As standing timber I could, but not barkless chunks. I gather, cut and handle tons of Red -some white and Chestnut also- Oak every year. And the OP's was Oak, probably Red. As I recall, there were only two people that said Cherry.

    I'm just sayin . . .

    Where the hell is Lee when we could use him anyway??

    Rock on
  23. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    Of course the wood guy ID'd it... I ordered what I wanted and he had to ID it to deliver it. Otherwise, I'd send it back when I saw it wasn't what he said he had. I've already done that twice this season. I can be a prick myself. :lol:

    I'd be clueless standing in front of a lot of trees and telling you for sure what they are, but I've been a woodworker for 40 years give or take. If it's in my hands and it grows around here, it's an instant ID. I don't pay much attention to the bark, it's all about the wood itself to me.

    When you can show me oak without visible rays, I'll add a new one to my life list. %-P
  24. Corriewf

    Corriewf New Member

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  25. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    Who's busted?

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