Help in identifying 120y/o wood

iamsblackApril 27, 2014

I'm resurrecting a building which dates back to the late 1800s. There is a lot of beautiful wood that we have to carefully remove and de-nail. There appear to be two main species used at first glance. One, I'm almost sure is red oak but I'm not sure what the other one is. I suspect some type of pine. I'll call them a hardwood and a softwood. Most of the hardwood is rough cut to 1-7/8" x 9-1/2" or thereabouts. The majority of the softwood is 2" x 5-1/.2" When sawmarks are visible they are radial and some string and math tell us the blade was 4-5' in diameter. I've included some nails in one photo to show the vintage of the original fasteners. The building is in Southwestern Ontario.

I did some calcs on some dry samples and the densities check in at 41 lb/cuft and 24 lb/cuft

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Not sure if I can attach two photos to one post but I couldn't see how. Here's the hardwood. I forgot to mention that the thing that puzzles me with the softwood are the pink and yellow hues that I see in several pieces.

Both these pictures were a combination of several view of the same piece of wood if it wasn't evident.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 10:05PM
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I would say you are right on the money. The softwood is very hard to pinpoint a variety with photos. The density you found is in line with eastern white pine. The oak looks like red oak. Bear in mind, if your objective is to match them with material available today, it's a challenge, as both woods were slow-grown in a forest; the farmed stuff you get today, even were it a scion of the original, it will have grown under very different conditions.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 11:44PM
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Thanks for the reply. The pine is really gorgeous in person and the rusty nail holes give it a ton of character. I was doing some reading on densities and did a double-check on all my calculations. I screwed up on the hardwood somehow. It's 51.4 lb/cuft. The softwood was accurate at 24.3

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 8:31AM
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the softer wood could be Fir as well.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 10:55PM
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Can't be fir with that density. Fir far denser.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 10:02AM
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In that time, the framing was usually local, so you can look at what is or was harvested locally and eliminate imports. Eastern White pine (which is itself several botanically distinct species) is a good guess.

Trim was often shipped in from "elsewhere".

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 5:43PM
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