Help me ID this wood

LinelleMay 4, 2013

I have had a dining table set since 1981. It was a hand-me-down from my MIL so it was old even then. I refinished it when I got it (first time refinishing wood, so that tells you what kind of job it was), and have treated it sans kid gloves ever since. Hot plates, wet glasses, etc. There are some dings and scratches, but it just keeps coming back for more.

I have always told people it was maple, but I honestly have no idea what it is. My guess is either maple or cherry, judging from the era and style. I call it Early American, but, again, it's something I made up and I really have no clue. I've been meaning to replace it for years because the style bugs me. But the wood is awesome and I'd like to find something that can take a bit of life's abuses without looking like crap.

So, first of all, what kind of wood is this:

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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

The style of the chair and legs screams maple. JMHO.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 4:02PM
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Fori is not pleased

The grain on the table is a perfect match for my grandma's hutch that I always--like you--assumed was maple. Like mine, the grain on your table is more dramatic than you see on maple nowadays. So I dunno! Ask the woodworking forum if you don't find out here.

Maybe you can replace the legs and keep the top. Toss them in the closet with the chairs (yeah right!) for when the style returns.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 4:13PM
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palimpsest

It looks like maple to me, and it's Early American or Colonial Revival.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 4:20PM
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Linelle

Thanks everyone. I think I started doubting it being maple because, as fori mentioned, it's got a lot more going on than much of the bland maple you see today.

I guess what I love about the wood is its hardness and ability to withstand daily use as a dining table, desk, craft center, etc. and still look good. Hazy patches from liquids just go away. I clean it with 409. I hate to say it, but the hideous chairs are comfortable with contoured seats and little arms that curve around.

As for its durability...does most solid maple hold up this well, or do they just not make them like this anymore? I'm not crazy about its size/configuration: round with drop leaves and two removable leaves for the middle.

I've had pictures of this table/chairs ready to post on Craigslist, but I can't seem to find anything else that doesn't get iffy reviews.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 4:44PM
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annkh_nd

It looks a lot like an old desk I have that was ID'd by a furniture refinisher as ash.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 4:47PM
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Linelle

Mystery solved. I dug out the extra leaf from deep in a closet because I'm having some people over for lunch next week. Stamped on the bottom is "Rockport Maple." Hate the style, but love love love the wood.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 12:55PM
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deedles

Ha! I had the same set about 30 years ago although yours is higher end as I had a wood look formica top, but I do remember that those chairs were quite comfy. Except on mine the finish on the arm rests was sticky.... ew. All the useful things that I can't remember but I do remember the sticky arms on chairs from 3 decades ago... 8>/

I think the top of your table is quite pretty! Nice grain.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 1:22PM
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Linelle

deedles, the wood on the table top is luscious. I can't say the same for the chairs and all those Early American spindles and turned legs. So not my style. I refinished this table over 32 years ago, my first refinishing project ever and I had no clue (zero!) what I was doing. The extra leaf has been in a dark closet most of this time. Today, it is the same color as the rest of the table and feels exactly the same in a blind touch test. So, despite cats, kids, wet things, hot things, scissors and glue, the stain (Watco) and finish (Varathane) have been remarkably unaffected by the ravages of time.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 2:13PM
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romy718

Top is pretty. Paint the legs?

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 2:21PM
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Linelle

romy, you know, I was just wondering if I could do something about the legs and then simply look for new chairs. I just don't like the turned legs and I think painting them would make them stand out even more. The table top has a patina of scratches and dings, yet it's silky and lovely.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 2:28PM
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bookworm4321

My oak table is 200 years old. I replaced the chairs with some from Pottery Barn. Your table is quite lovely; I would keep it, but replace legs. Your chairs are much nicer than the ladder back chairs I replaced.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 5:18PM
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