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Western wood species ID

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by StihlHead, May 26, 2013.

  1. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    OK, here are some photos of some wood I have been splitting here. This is a species native to the western US.

    wood 2.jpg

    wood.jpg

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  2. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    top pic hemlock?
    Bottom pic, I think I see some birch bark showing, & spruce maybe.
  3. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    Both photos are of the same wood from the same tree (old growth). The only difference is that the top wood was split right before the photos were taken and the stacked wood was split a few days before. Hemlock is a good guess though, and split hemlock does look very similar. Actually I thought it was hemlock when I started cutting up the rounds, as there were several western hemlocks in the stand that this wood came from. No birch in there, though the bark does look similar to the photos. The owner of the tree that this wood came from thought it was spruce, but I was able to positively ID it as something other than spruce and other than hemlock. His chatty neighbor thought it was spruce as well.
  4. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Looks like it split up nicely.
  5. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    Alder?
  6. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    almost looks like some kind of ash.....not real keen on the trees up there in your neck of the woods, Stihlhead.....
  7. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    It did, though the knotted stuff had to be cut with a chainsaw. I used an 8 pound maul on most of it. Had a guy out here today pick up some plumbing stuff I posted on CL, and he said he was interested in splitting wood for the exercise, for free. I just finished the 4 cord load I got in March yesterday.... WTF! Man, a free wood splitter? Might cost me a few beers, and I could just sit and watch.
  8. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    That is a good guess from the bark, but no. I would not expect too many locals to get this one, let alone people the other side of the Rockies.
    ScotO likes this.
  9. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    Nope. Alder has a smoother bark, and tends to turn red when it is fresh cut (like cherry).

    OK, a bigger hint to steer you guys closer to home, its a conifer.
  10. steeltowninwv

    steeltowninwv Minister of Fire

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    top pic looks like plywood grain..lol
  11. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Alright, one more stab at it after looking online.......is it a Larch??
    StihlHead likes this.
  12. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like we have a winner......I also thought maybe Doug Fir at first but its not quite the same,more orangish-red color especially the old growth.I have a few century old 5 x 5 & 6 x 6 short pieces,its some of the tightest grained wood I've seen of that species anyway.
  13. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    Buuuuuzzzzzz! Sorry. Not larch. I wish it was though. More heat value in larch. Not much larch on this side of the Cascades. Its more common to the east. Doug fir has white wood like this stuff but it has reddish-brown heartwood. Similar bark though.
    ScotO likes this.
  14. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    Not quite. Another hint is the color of the smooth bark piled in the front of the second photo.... and it is a native only to the PNW (Northern CA up to the very south end of Alaska).
    ScotO likes this.
  15. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    Fir

    Don't look like Sequoia (redwood) :)
  16. MrWhoopee

    MrWhoopee Minister of Fire

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    The Doug fir down here has a reddish color to the heartwood, becomes more pronounced as it cures. The flame pattern grain is also characteristic, that's what give plywood the grain. However, the bark from the upper sections looks like white fir. I'm so confused.

    I vote for white fir.
  17. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    Yes, it is a true fir.

    No, its not giant sequoia. I have not seen any of those up here. Nor is it a coastal redwood. There are several groves of coastal redwoods around here that I have seen, and they do really well here.
  18. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    While 'white fir' is one of several common names for it, along with several other firs in the west, it is not white fir. White fir (Abies concolor) grows at high altitude in the south Cascades, Rockies and Sierras (typically between 4-10k feet). White fir does not naturally grow this far north, even in the Cascades. This was harvested locally in northern western Oregon its native habitat and elevation, at about 60 ft. This species also does not naturally grow in the Sierras. It is commonly planted as an ornamental tree though.
  19. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    The top pic looks like cottonwood bark, but I know you wouldn't cut up a cottonwood so I ruled that out. The bottom pic looks like alder, but you said it was same tree and a fir. . . no idea

    Grand Fir?

    Noble Fir?

    Silver Fir?
  20. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Pine!

    Says the midwest guy.
    StihlHead likes this.
  21. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    I guess the shotgun effect works best... you hit it with the 3rd guess. It is Pacific silver fir (Abies amabilis) . Though it is pretty much identical to grand fir in the photos, I would have accepted that answer as well. Both are commonly called white fir around here. I have felled several hundred grand firs, and they have similar wood, except grand has a ton more sap and completely covers any saw and sawyer with pitch. I had never cut up or burned a silver fir before and this wood had very little sap. I expect it to burn the same as grand with low to medium heat, but the old growth base wood may be denser and burn hotter. While grand fir is used a lot for dimensional lumber and sash woods (and fetches a good price), pacific fir is a true trash tree and not used in lumber, is not that great for firewood, and it is only commercially used for paper making. It is planted in a lot of landscaping, but they need cool damp growing conditions and supposedly they only do well here, in Scotland and New Zealand.

    Silver fir is common up on Mt Hood, and some pockets of them are around here at lover elevation, though most of the low elevation stands were felled for farmland or pastures, or replanted with Doug fir a century ago. This tree was a large one, 5 feet at the base and over 140 feet tall. It was in an old growth forest with bigleaf maples, hemlocks, Doug firs, and western red cedar. What was once a single old growth timber parcel and is now an upscale housing tract with spendy mansions on 3-5 acre lots. The owner had it and some other trees blocked down to put in a lawn for his kids. I hauled out 2 cords of this stuff, having diced the 3-5 foot rounds into quads, 9s and 16s. As I said, the owner thought it was a spruce. I thought it was hemlock until I found a branch growing out of it with the tell-tale silver undersides of the needles.

    slver fir leaves.jpg
    Bigg_Redd likes this.
  22. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    FTW! ! ! ! !
  23. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    Yes, and here is your valuable prize!

    sudan note.jpg
    A Bank of Sudan 25 Piastres note
    Defiant likes this.
  24. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    I love pastries!
    Defiant and StihlHead like this.
  25. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Pasties? Brown chicken brown cow.

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