PROTIP: Press ‘i’ to view the image gallery, ‘v’ to view the video gallery, or ‘r’ to view a random entry. Simply knowing what the wood was intended for—when considered in conjunction with where it came from and how old it is—can give you many clues to help identify it. In some applications, certain wood species are used much more frequently than others, so that you can make an educated guess as to the species of the wood based upon the application where it was used.
Bruce Hoadley, a professor of wood science and technology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, provides an overview of the wood identification process; a look at the basic anatomy of woody plants; hundreds of easy-to-use charts and crystal-clear photographs and microphotographs; sources of information and materials, and a glossary of all technical terms used in the book.
That stain and appearance is characteristic of many antiques, and while I am generally opposed to staining wood in most instances, if you stripped it down to bare wood and refinished it a natural color, you may regret it. If the finish itself isn’t in the best shape, there’s other things you can do to refinish that doesn’t involve sanding down to bare wood and removing the stain.
It can be found for very little money (ten bucks new, five bucks used from Amazon), and is a useful reference book that not only discusses a large number of both common and rare varieties, but comments on the physical characteristics of each type of wood, what various names it goes by, what it is most often used for, and how easy or difficult it is to work.
The Center for Wood Anatomy Research does not identify wood specimens for private parties engaged in legal disputes, nor does it identify specimens for individuals or businesses who may be in violation of CITES or Lacey Act provisions, as this would conflict with its role in providing scientific expertise on these matters to other government agencies.
It assesses the role played by increasingly accessible scanning electron microscopes and complex optical microscopes, and whether these, on the one hand, provide exceptional opportunities for high-quality imaging and analysis of difficult samples, but, on the other hand, might be misleading the novice into thinking that advanced technology can be a substitute for specialized botanical training in wood anatomy.
For example, if the cells are large then the texture of the wood will be slightly rough or open. Look for growth rings—formed by the yearly growth of a tree—which will be a dead-giveaway that the wood sample in question is a solid, genuine chunk of wood taken from a tree. I have been an occasional carpenter for more than 40 years and I really would enjoy getting my hands on such a book.
Please note that the distinct color differences shown in these pictures are NOT a reliable way to distinguish these wood species. Several woodworking projects are also detailed in this guide, including how to build a solar kiln to season wood and how to build storage racks. I do not know what kind of wood it is. I an not sure if it is to scoop water, or if it is used to hold bananas. I have worked with wood all my life but I had never looked at it through a magnifier and never really understood how the grain worked. The sides could be the same wood too, though it reminds me more of something like Koa or Australian Blackwood.