Need Help Identifying Species

mudfoot

Dave
Senior User
Hello, I came across this log on the side of the road and thought I could use it at some point. However, with only a couple of exceptions, I have a very hard time identifying the species of a tree without leaves as a guide. One side of the wood seems to have a waviness to it; not sure if that’s unique to the species or this particular tree. Anyone have any idea what I have here? Thanks in advance!
 

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mudfoot

Dave
Senior User
It is definitely dry and didn’t split easily. It doesn’t have any particular odor either, which I’m not sure is due to the lack of moisture or a characteristic of the species. I’m hoping to use it to replace the handle on my dad’s old Sears hammer, which I split while using poor leverage to remove a nail. ☹️
 

mudfoot

Dave
Senior User
I don't recommend maple for a hammer handle. Use ash or hickory.
Thanks for the info. That’s kind of what I’d heard/read, but since I found this wood for the nice price and I’ve never made a hammer handle before, I might give it a go anyway just to test my mettle. Perhaps by the time I finish it I will have found a hickory log on the side of the road.
 

creasman

Jim
Staff member
Corporate Member
I'm sure someone around has a stick of hickory firewood you could get. If you're just hoping to practice handle-making, maple is find. You'll probably be making another if you start using the handle, however.
 

mark2

Mark
Corporate Member
I'd go with maple as well - Oaks tend to split with long slivers, maple is shorter grained. Rays may indicate Curly patterns
 

mudfoot

Dave
Senior User
Thanks to everyone who responded. I’m going to assume maple and find an appropriate use for it. I was going to use it to try my hand at making a hammer handle, but I think I’ll heed Jim’s advice above and wait for some hickory.
 

Craptastic

Matt
Senior User
I'm going to say sweet gum based primarily on the coloring variations, but also the bark, and the way it split.
Which begs the question - is sweet gum worth much as a woodworking medium? I have a tall sweet gum growing on my property that I've been thinking about taking down. It's very straight and quite linear in diameter but just not sure I want to buzz it down if it's not going to be usable for projects.
 

creasman

Jim
Staff member
Corporate Member
I like the look of sweet gum. It can have nice streaks in the grain. I've heard it billed as a "poor man's walnut". The look can be similar, especially if stained. The dark wood you see here is sweet gum. Finish is Danish Oil, then 3 coats of wipe on poly.

IMG_2454.JPG
 

Craptastic

Matt
Senior User
I like the look of sweet gum. It can have nice streaks in the grain. I've heard it billed as a "poor man's walnut". The look can be similar, especially if stained. The dark wood you see here is sweet gum. Finish is Danish Oil, then 3 coats of wipe on poly.

View attachment 212407
Beautiful. Is it hard to work? Does it maintain straightness drying or does it tend to curl? How hard and how porous is it?

We had no gum trees up in the cold country. I really just don't have experience with using it.

Guess I could google it too but I like the practical experience that folks here have much more that a random video.
 

creasman

Jim
Staff member
Corporate Member
Beautiful. Is it hard to work? Does it maintain straightness drying or does it tend to curl? How hard and how porous is it?
Thanks. A storm took down several trees, one of them being a sweetgum. I had the lumber milled and let it air dry for several years. It is a soft wood (as far as hardwood trees go). I would not use it for anything that was going outdoors. It rots easily.

From my experience it tends to warp when drying. This is probably due to the amount of water in the wood. Once dry the wood is light and a bit spongy to work -- like white pine. Use sharp chisels. It planes and sands well.

The heartwood has the dark color. If you have a large tree you're taking down, then have some of it milled into lumber. Let us know how it goes and what you make.
 

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