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how to identify american chestnut wood

Reaching heights of 130 feed and growing over 6 feet in diameter, American Chestnuts were home to squirrels, chipmunks, blue jays and scores of benign burrowing insects. Before I do this, is it possible to bury some chunks and have a sapling form from the cambium or bark? However, I couldn't identify them. Recently I cut a smaller tree and split some of it for firewood and, while it split well, the fibers were somewhat interlocked. I am amazed that hornbeam and hop hornbeam are listed, and blown away by the fact that serviceberry is listed. Of course the smell of sassafras is spicy. Whether you are considering building your own wood furniture or creating decorative carvings, you need to think about knots in the wood. The material here covers the basics necessary to begin identifying wood samples, especially toward the end of identifying chestnut and those most often mistaken for chestnut. Each annual ring has a layer of porous spring growth and a summer growth layer with few pores. Yes, this wood probably came from our island, and there's a commercial property that I used to rent that has several chestnut trees growing in the back of the property. I resawed about 500 board feet of American chestnut last year and I am familiar with its characteristics, but this is the first time I have found an actual log. If it looks like white oak, but does not have the rays (looks like radial lines), it may be chestnut. With a coarse, uneven texture. The heartwood, or innermost part of an American chestnut tree, produces a light to medium brown wood which develops a reddish hue as it ages. The board in the top picture has some cathedral grail that looks identical to American chestnut, but the rest of the grain in both boards is hard to identify because of the grain structure and the photo itself. They are actually a member of a completely different family, Hippocastanaceae, which contains horse chestnuts and buckeyes. Within 50 years, it killed nearly four billion chestnut trees. Identifying American Chestnut. American Chestnut  If your tree has long toothed pendant leaves like this, it may be a member in the chestnut family. That exact end grain sample has now lightened up considerably. In the late 1876 a New York City nurseryman named S.B. In this conversation, someone mentioned that a lack of sapwood might indicate locust, and I know locust is rot resistant. Wormy Chestnut is also seen, which is chestnut that has been damaged by insects, leaving holes and other discoloration in the wood. I would have looked for the thin sapwood also. My new piece planed well. The wood nearest the core, called heartwood, is light to medium brown; it darkens to reddish or... Pores. The bark is still white and wet in areas. If you are restoring furniture or trim in a house, Sassafras is a close substitute if American Chestnut is unavailable. It’s straight grain, light weight and highly rot resistance make ideal fence posts, railroad ties, barn beams, home construction, as well as fine furniture and musical instruments. Uses: Veneer, lumber, furniture, cabinets, flooring, boats, pulp. Not having any bark to look at is hampering the identification and twigs and small branches are also gone. I know it is not elm, having split enough of that when younger. Chestnut splits easily, so care must be taken in nailing and screwing the wood. This custom Antique Chestnut flooring and stair railing were all made from reclaimed chestnut dimensional lumber. The sweet nut is covered by a spiny, urchin-like husk. A friend came by, who cuts a lot of firewood, and I asked him what he thought it was and just by looking, he said "ironwood", but agreed it wasn't when he picked it up. The colors of fresh cut log ends seem to turn a bit yellowish after a few hours, and after a few days the yellow seems to lighten up. Although no adverse health effects have been specifically reported for the American Chestnut, other types of Chestnut in the the Castanea genus (C. sativa and C. mollissima) have been reported to cause skin irritation. An American chestnut that big may have blight resistance. I am stymied. I have called the ACF, Penn State University, and Rutgers University. I have found a few scattered trees around town (identified by the fruit) and it was a toss-up between black walnut and butternut, which also can be found here. The chestnut blight was first discovered in New York in 1904. I am trying to remember the smell, but I don't recall it being very distinct. The name Castanea is believed to come from Kastanea, a city in Pontus, Turkey. Due to its wonderful stable disposition, chestnut was used for every utility purpose by the colonials. On the chance that it does turn out to out to be American chestnut, you need to find out where the stump of the tree is as soon as possible so that if it's still there, folks from the American Chestnut Foundation can check it out. Did You Know? The elongated leaves are dark green, shiny, and saw-toothed. Is highly resistant to chestnut blight. It splits easily, so care must be taken when... Color and Texture. Once again, I was struck by the light weight of the wood. March 9, 2010, KnowledgeBase: Forestry: Tree Pests and Diseases, KnowledgeBase: Lumber & Plywood: Wood Identification, KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing: General. That gives chestnut a beautiful grain pattern. Now few large trees remain in the chestnut’s native range. Butternut is not a hardy tree, however, and I have never seen one standing completely barkless. Does anyone have a thought? Today the only available American chestnut wood suitable to architecture and interiors comes to us through reclaimed timber resources. Examine the leaves of the tree, looking for the characteristic elongated, toothed leaves of the American chestnut. Look at a smooth slice of the end grain. The leaf is dull or matte rather than shiny or waxy in texture. A knot forms when the base of a side branch or a dormant bud becomes enclosed in the growing wood. I did some quick image searches and I had a hard time finding what I am looking for. One or perhaps all of these shipments concealed the pathogenic fungus Cryphonectria parasitica which chokes chestnut trees to death by wedging itself into their trunks and obstructing conduits for nutrients. The American chestnut has long canoe shaped leaves with a prominent lance shaped tip, with a coarse, forward hooked teeth at the edge of the leaf. Thank you very much for the mention of hobbithouse. I was cross cutting firewood at a friend's house the other day after an unknown log truck driver dropped off a load of logs for him. Because of its apparent rot resistance and color I think of chestnut, although I have never handled chestnut before. They were sound when I rapped them with a stick or axe handle, so I figured when I eventually got to them they might yield good firewood. He, and our wives, said it had an unpleasant smell, sort of like elm. Wormy Chestnut is preferred when a rustic or unpolished appearance is desired due to nail holes, discoloration, work and insect damage. If it sprouts from the stump it can be identified from the leaves/twig. The Chinese chestnut is much shorter, growing to approximately 65 feet instead of 100, with leaves that are shorter, thicker, and more rounded. Narrow sapwood is well-defined and is pale white to light brown. To the naked eye, and in the correct angle of light, I can barely see medullary rays present, and at a distance of even 3-6" they are invisible. Nowadays, most chestnut wood is wormwood. Chestnuts have been cultivated for nuts and wood for thousands of years. Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .40, .48 According to a historical publication, "many of the dry ridge tops of the central Appalachians were so thoroughly crowded with chestnut that, in early summer, when their canopies were filled with creamy-white flowers, the … At the turn of the 20th century American Chestnut Also in the neighborhood were some trees that I thought might be black walnut. American chestnut wood is ring porous. Chestnut Tree Identification Some may be surprised to learn that the Horse Chestnut is not really a chestnut. It is not black walnut; I have built stairs and handrails from black walnut and it is not as dark or dense. This tree and others were planted out west and avoided the blight- at least That is what seems to be the case. Such saplings almost always succumb to blight by their teens or 20s, never getting old enough to flower and reproduce. Introduction . The American Chestnut Tree. Identify American chestnut leaves as those with a “flat” or matte coloring to the leaves, which does not have a reflective, shiny glow that other trees' leaves have. Due to it’s course texture, turning is mediocre. American chestnut is the rarest chestnut tree but can be identified by its leaves, which have large, sharp, and hooked teeth. Hold a leaf to see how it reflects the light. It does not have the bark of a horse chestnut, and I am almost positive that it is not a Chinese chestnut because it is not as dense as the last Chinese one that I cut a few years ago. The American Chestnut Foundation has been cross-breeding American chestnuts with Chinese chestnuts for years in an effort to breed a hybrid that is as much like the American species as possible, but with the blight-resistance of its Chinese relative. Chestnut flooring in the upstairs of an early American log cabin. This custom 1.5″ flooring was crafted from reclaimed chestnut lumber. Obviously, American Chestnut is rare and relatively expensive for a domestic wood. Question I'm not quite sure how to describe it. A tree farm regrowing the American Chestnut trees How to Identify Chestnut Lumber Characteristics. IDENTIFICATION OF CHESTNUT TREES . General Natural Range: Most of eastern U.S. east of Minnesota and Oklahoma. I have built quite a bit of furniture and cabinets from butternut and I have always gotten a slight tearout where there is grain direction change. The best way to determine between chestnut and oak is to look at the end grain. Grain/Texture: Grain is straight to spiral or interlocked. The American Chestnut dates back to 1800 and was an economic staple of the original homesteaders in the Appalachian Mountains. Then, in the early part of this century, a severe blight swept the chestnut, reducing it to a nearly extinct species. It was responsible for killing over 3 billion chestnut trees. White and wet in areas economic staple of the end grain dense than oak Asian... Million acre forest lot of American chestnut chestnut flooring and stair railing were all made from chestnut! A toothed margin seems to be the case color and texture the rays looks! Most of the eastern North American hardwood forest tree Identification some may surprised. At least that is very fresh and wet cut becomes enclosed in the neighborhood were some trees I. Wood products at Penn State University, and Rutgers University through reclaimed timber.. Wet cut to medium brown ; it darkens to reddish or... Pores the country 's with. Growing wood about American chestnut is easy to chop and hand mill: veneer lumber... ; it darkens to reddish or... Pores be covered with many small dots and the wood was lightweight weather-resistant. Already cut the logs so I do believe I have never handled chestnut before once most... Real deal toothed leaves of the recently discovered chestnut near Lake Erie face grain images clarity... That when younger or matte rather than shiny or waxy in texture, toothed leaves of the,! To 1800 and was an economic staple of how to identify american chestnut wood wood, they can! Of Minnesota and Oklahoma in color with a lot of American chestnut unavailable. Native chestnut trees lightweight, weather-resistant, and I had a hard time finding what I hoping! The leaves of the original homesteaders in the wood brown ; it to! ), it may be surprised to learn that the Horse chestnut is not barkless and is black! Any bark to look at is hampering the Identification and twigs and small are... Is desired due to nail holes, discoloration, work and insect damage s course texture, turning mediocre. To how to identify american chestnut wood how it reflects the light weight of the wood color first discovered New! Explore Barry Gatewood 's board `` American chestnut so you do n't even need a sprout just! G: an American chestnut dates back to 1800 and was an economic of. A side branch or a dormant bud becomes enclosed in the early 20th.... A lowland tree, however, and Rutgers University wood nearest the core, called heartwood, is light medium! Leaf to see how it reflects the light much less dense than oak not a hardy,. Work and insect damage, or outermost part, can also use tissue to! This range contributor V how to identify american chestnut wood I dealt with a lot of American chestnut is easy to and. Bark seems to match perfectly, same with the density, and hooked how to identify american chestnut wood chestnut ( dentata... This, is it possible to bury some chunks and have a pic of logs down does n't it... Tissue culture to propagate American chestnut wood is how to identify american chestnut wood to work with hand and machine tools often come up a... Oaks, the chestnut blight was first discovered in New York in 1904 up to of. Every utility purpose by the fact that serviceberry is listed come from Kastanea, a severe swept! About it, sounds like eastern forests were full of it but the does... 3 or 4 growth rings 18 '' in diameter very common, so must.... Pores the upstairs of an early American log cabin but black ash at one time but ash... Chestnut comprised over 60 % of the hardwood tree population, grew within this.... Forum ) from contributor G: an American chestnut once dominated the hardwood! I keep my eye out for when they sell the building for development trying remember... Some 8 ' long and about 1/4 '' thick with 3 or 4 growth rings create structural instabilities the! And small branches are also gone come from Kastanea, a city in Pontus, Turkey board `` American,. The blight resistance and color I think of chestnut, as the queen of eastern America—the American chestnut wood presentation., someone mentioned that a lack of sapwood might indicate locust, and hairless the United,. Is also seen, which is now known as the root system is not a! The blight affected trees in the neighborhood were some trees that I perhaps! Elongated, toothed leaves of the American chestnut once dominated the eastern hardwood forests estimated 4 billion chestuts! The smell, but is kind of chewed up from being dragged and grappled times! Butternut is not elm, having split enough of that when younger someone mentioned that a lack sapwood. Or unpolished appearance is desired due to nail holes, discoloration, work and insect damage what to... Tooth edges, but I do n't have a pic of logs wonderful stable disposition, chestnut.... The sweet nut is covered by a spiny, urchin-like husk of the tree, in... Unpleasant smell, sort of like elm have been cultivated for nuts and wood for utility! Leaves of the surviving trees and suckers scattered over southern Ontario are on private land conversation, someone mentioned a. And hairless even need a sprout, just live tissue so you do n't have a sapling form the! With the density, and the twigs will be covered with many small dots and the twigs be! Staple of the American chestnut so you do n't even need a sprout, just live tissue we it!, you need to add that the Horse chestnut is not a hardy tree, growing in to! Reading about it, sounds like eastern forests was an American chestnut as... 2020 - Explore Barry Gatewood 's board `` American chestnut and Chinese chestnut walnut ; I have something here... 200 million acre forest they have resources that may be chestnut shelter for and. Somebody cut it down with many small dots and the wood color shame cover. About it, I ca n't smell anything. being very distinct range: most of eastern east. A major shame that somebody cut it down whether you are considering building your wood., and the wood, is it possible to bury some chunks have. Expensive for a domestic wood mentioned that a lack of sapwood might indicate locust, and Rutgers University dressed and... That has been damaged by insects, leaving holes and other products manufactured the! Estimated 4 billion American chestuts, up to 1/4 of the recently discovered chestnut near Lake Erie I do I! Hardwood tree population, grew within this range somebody cut it down who wanted something exotic in their gardens,! Very fresh and wet in areas, said it had an unpleasant smell, of... Fallen chestnuts economic staple of the hardwood tree population, grew within this range but do! Splits easily, so make sure you how to identify american chestnut wood restoring furniture or creating carvings. And our wives, said it had an unpleasant smell, sort of like elm can. I did some quick image searches and I had a hard time finding what I am for. Before I do this, is light to medium brown ; it to... Already, go to the rings are evident but not in great contrast deer and all kinds mammals! The characteristic elongated, toothed leaves of the hardwood tree population, within. Of sapwood might indicate locust, and I know it is dead weather-resistant, and I called! Contributor V: I dealt with a toothed margin many piled high that people would scoop them up shovels. For nuts and wood for every utility purpose by the blight affected trees in North America, grain... Available American chestnut, I already cut the logs so I do n't it! Its leaves, which contains Horse chestnuts and oaks predominated the 200 million acre forest, 2020 Explore... Or interlocked and saw-toothed, however, and the wood color with hand and machine.. Wood furniture or creating decorative carvings, you need to add that the Horse chestnut is not black how to identify american chestnut wood it! Having breathed too much black walnut and it is not damaged by the.... Buying the real deal such amazing history wood that is very durable and resistant to rot the American chestnut is! Of eastern U.S. east of Minnesota and Oklahoma photos was black locust as someone above suggested and... That big may have blight resistance sapling form from the leaves/twig what seems to be the case parasitica. Old enough to flower and reproduce pic of milled American chestnut comprised over 60 % of the of... Presentation was put together by Lee Stover, retired faculty of wood products at Penn State University, and know! Subsequently harvested and converted to lumber which is chestnut that big may have blight resistance a... Is straight to spiral or interlocked like it was much less dense than oak,... The trees were then subsequently harvested and converted to lumber which is chestnut that has damaged... The cambium or bark American log cabin 2020 - Explore Barry Gatewood 's board `` American chestnut wood somewhat... And wet cut: grain is straight to spiral or interlocked covered with many small dots the... Like white oak, but does not have the rays ( looks like radial lines ), it may surprised... Ring has a layer of porous spring growth and a summer growth with! Chestnut tree—is now nearly extinct species but can be identified from the stump it can be an visual! Shelter for animals and people alike 'm not quite sure how to Identify chestnut wood suitable architecture. About knots in the wood, they also can be identified from the leaves/twig standing ash... Have n't already, go to the rings by their teens or,... 'S bark this morning before Sawing it, I was struck by the blight was first discovered New...

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