Oak, Gum or Tupelo?

      Another wood identification problem. January 29, 2009

I just got a few logs back from the mill and have one that I thought for sure was oak until it was cut. Can someone help me in the ID of this wood? Below is an image of the other half of the log (uncut) and an image of the wood after I got it back. It has no smell that I can detect. This small piece seems much lighter than red/white oak, has no detectable grain pattern and does have some slightly darker "blotches" in the wider pieces of lumber. Is it some type of maple?

Click here for full size image

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From the original questioner:
Here is a small piece of one of the boards - sorry for the poor quality. My camera won't pick up a lot of detail that is probably needed.

Click here for full size image

From contributor R:
It looks similar to Bay or Magnolia.

From contributor C:
It looks like it could be basswood. What part of the country?

From the original questioner:
It was cut in middle Tennessee. Below is another image from a better camera.

Click here for full size image

From contributor L:
My guess is black gum. If you have any round log left, try to split it. If it is gum, it should be cross-grained like elm.

From contributor J:
It looks just like some basswood I have on hand.

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
I also think tupelo, black gum is likely.

From contributor S:
I'll venture an uneducated guess, based on the bark, of blue ash. Black gum in this area has a deeper more defined lighter shade of bark.

From contributor T:
Here's a shot of a black gum one for comparison.

Click here for full size image

But the bark does vary some. Contrast the deeper furrows on the next shot.

Click here for full size image

From the original questioner:
I have shown it to a few people and their consensus was some type of poplar because of its very light weight and lack of grain pattern. I have had to order something (can't seem to find anything around town) that would magnify the end grain enough to compare it to the book I have of known types.

From contributor L
Try to split a piece. If you have any left in log form or any that is thick and about 18 inches or so. If it won't slit cleanly it is black gum.

The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor B:
The piece of wood looks exactly like the Southern Magnolia below that was cut north of Atlanta, GA in Acworth a few months ago (June).

Click here for higher quality, full size image

Click here for higher quality, full size image

Click here for higher quality, full size image

Click here for higher quality, full size image

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Lumber and Plywood

  • KnowledgeBase: Lumber & Plywood: Wood Identification

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing: Sawmilling

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2016 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article