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Ii Woods With Pores--broadleaf, Or So-called "hardwoods"

A. Ring-porous.

1. Woods with a portion of the rays very large and conspicuous.

Oak. The wood of all of the oaks is heavy, hard, and strong. They may be

separated into two groups. The white oaks and the red or black oaks.

(a) White oaks. Pores in early wood plugged with tyloses, collected in

a few rows. Fig. 146. The transition from the large pores to the

small ones in the late wood is abrupt. The latter are very small,

numerous, and appear as irregular grayish bands widening toward the

outer edge of the annual ring. Impossible usually to see into the

small pores with magnifier.

(b) Red or black oaks. Pores are usually open though tyloses may

occur, Fig. 147; the early wood pores are in several rows and the

transition to the small ones in late wood is gradual. The latter are

fewer, larger and more distinct than in white oak and it is

possible to see into them with a hand lens.

The wood of the oaks is used for all kinds of furniture, interior

finish, cooperage, vehicles, cross-ties, posts, fuel, and

construction timber.

2. Woods with none of the rays large and conspicuous.

(a) Pores in late wood small and in radial lines, wood parenchyma in

inconspicuous tangential lines.

Chestnut. Pores in early wood in a broad band, oval in shape, mostly

free from tyloses. Pores in late wood in flame-like radial white

patches that are plainly visible without lens. Color medium brown.

Nearly odorless and tasteless. Chestnut is readily separated from

oak by its weight and absence of large rays; from black ash by the

arrangement of the pores in the late wood; from sassafras by the

arrangement of the pores in the late wood, the less conspicuous

rays, and the lack of distinct color.

The wood is used for cross-ties, telegraph and telephone poles,

posts, furniture, cooperage, and tannin extract. Durable in contact

with the ground.

(b) Pores in late wood small, not radially arranged, being distributed

singly or in groups. Wood parenchyma around pores or extending wing-like

from pores in late wood, often forming irregular tangential lines.

1. Ash. Pores in early wood in a rather broad band (occasionally

narrow), oval in shape, see Fig. 148, tyloses present. Color brown

to white, sometimes with reddish tinge to late wood. Odorless and

tasteless. There are several species of ash that are classed as

white ash and one that is called black or brown ash.

(a) White ash. Wood heavy, hard, strong, mostly light colored except

in old heartwood, which is reddish. Pores in late wood, especially

in the outer part of the annual ring, are joined by lines of wood


(b) Black ash. Wood more porous, lighter, softer, weaker, and darker

colored than white ash. Pores in late wood fewer and larger and

rarely joined by tangential lines of wood parenchyma.

The wood of the ashes is used for wagon and carriage stock,

agricultural implements, oars, furniture, interior finish, and

cooperage. It is the best wood for bent work.

2. Locust. Pores in early wood in a rather narrow band, round, variable

in size, densely filled with tyloses. Color varying from golden

yellow to brown, often with greenish hue. Very thin sapwood, white.

Odorless and almost tasteless. Wood extremely heavy and hard,

cutting like horn. Locust bears little resemblance to ash, being

harder, heavier, of a different color, with more distinct rays, and

with the pores in late wood in larger groups.

The wood is used for posts, cross-ties, wagon hubs, and insulator

pins. It is very durable in contact with the ground.

(c) Pores in late wood comparatively large, not in groups or lines.

Wood parenchyma in numerous fine but distinct tangential lines.

Hickory, Fig. 149. Pores in early wood moderately large, not abundant,

nearly round, filled with tyloses. Color brown to reddish brown;

thick sapwood, white. Odorless and tasteless. Wood very heavy, hard,

and strong. Hickory is readily separated from ash by the fine

tangential lines of wood parenchyma and from oak by the absence of

large rays.

The wood is largely used for vehicles, tool handles, agricultural

implements, athletic goods, and fuel.

(d) Pores in late wood small and in conspicuous wavy tangential bands.

Wood parenchyma not in tangential lines.

Elm. Pores in early wood not large and mostly in a single row, Fig. 150

(several rows in slippery elm), round, tyloses present. Color brown,

often with reddish tinge. Odorless and tasteless. Wood rather heavy

and hard, tough, often difficult to split. The peculiar arrangement

of the pores in the late wood readily distinguishes elm from all

other woods except _hackberry_, from which it may be told by the

fact that in elm the medullary rays are indistinct, while they are

quite distinct in hackberry; moreover, the color of hackberry is

yellow or grayish yellow instead of brown or reddish brown as in


The wood is used principally for slack cooperage; also for hubs,

baskets, agricultural implements, and fuel.

B. Diffuse-porous.

1. Pores varying in size from rather large to minute, the largest being

in the early wood. Intermediate between ring-porous and diffuse-porous.

Black Walnut. Color rich dark or chocolate brown. Odor mild but

characteristic. Tasteless or nearly so. Wood parenchyma in numerous,

fine tangential lines. Wood heavy and hard, moderately stiff and

strong. The wood is used principally for furniture, cabinets,

interior finish, moulding, and gun stocks.

2. Pores all minute or indistinct, evenly distributed throughout annual


(a) With conspicuously broad rays.

1. Sycamore. Fig. 151. Rays practically all broad. Color light brown,

often with dark stripes or "feather grain." Wood of medium weight

and strength, usually cross-grained, difficult to split.

The wood is used for general construction, woodenware, novelties,

interior finish, and boxes.

2. Beech. With only a part of the rays broad, the others very fine, Fig.

151. Color pale reddish brown to white; uniform. Wood heavy, hard,

strong, usually straight-grained.

The wood is used for cheap furniture, turnery, cooperage,

woodenware, novelties, cross-ties, and fuel. Much of it is


(b) Without conspicuously broad rays.

1. Cherry. Rays rather fine but very distinct. Color of wood reddish

brown. Wood rather heavy, hard, and strong.

The wood is used for furniture, cabinet work, moulding, interior

finish, and miscellaneous articles.

2. Maple, Fig. 152. With part of the rays rather broad and conspicuous,

the others very fine. Color light brown tinged with red. The wood of

the hard maple is very heavy, hard and strong; that of the soft

maples is rather light, fairly strong. Maple most closely resembles

birch, but can be distinguished from it through the fact that in

maple the rays are considerably more conspicuous than in birch.

The wood is used for slack cooperage, flooring, interior finish,

furniture, musical instruments, handles, and destructive


3. Tulip-tree, yellow poplar or whitewood. Rays all fine but distinct.

Color yellow or brownish yellow; sapwood white. Wood light and soft,

straight-grained, easy to work.

The wood is used for boxes, woodenware, tops and bodies of vehicles,

interior finish, furniture, and pulp.

4. Red or sweet gum. Rays all fine but somewhat less distinct than in

tulip tree. Color reddish brown, often with irregular dark streaks

producing a "watered" effect on smooth boards; thick sapwood,

grayish white. Wood rather heavy, moderately hard, cross-grained,

difficult to work.

The best grades of figured red gum resemble Circassian walnut, but

the latter has much larger pores unevenly distributed and is less

cross-grained than red gum.

The wood is used for finishing, flooring, furniture, veneers, slack

cooperage, boxes, and gun stocks.

5. Black or sweet birch, Fig. 151. Rays variable in size but all rather

indistinct. Color brown, tinged with red, often deep and handsome.

Wood heavy, hard, and strong, straight-grained, readily worked. Is

darker in color and has less prominent rays than maple.

The wood is used for furniture, cabinet work, finishing, and


6. Cottonwood. Rays extremely fine and scarcely visible even under lens.

Color pale dull brown or grayish brown. Wood light, soft, not

strong, straight-grained, fairly easy to work. Cottonwood can be

separated from other light and soft woods by the fineness of its

rays, which is equaled only by willow, which it rather closely

resembles. The wood is largely used for boxes, general construction,

lumber, and pulp.

How to judge the quality of wood: To know the name of a piece of wood

means, in a general way, to know certain qualities that are common

to all other pieces of wood of that species, but it does not explain

the special peculiarities of the piece in question or why that

particular piece is more suitable or unsuitable for a particular

purpose than another piece of the same species. The mere

identification of the wood does not explain why a particular piece

is tougher, stronger or of darker color than another piece of the

same species or even of the same tree. The reason for these special

differences lies in the fact that wood is not a homogeneous material

like metal. Within the same tree different parts vary in quality.

The heartwood is generally heavier and of deeper color than the

sapwood. The butt is superior to the top wood, and the manner in

which the wood was sawed and dried will affect its quality. Knots,

splits, checks, and discoloration due to incipient decay are defects

worth considering. Wood that looks lusterless is usually defective,

because the lack of luster is generally due to disease. Woods that

are hard wear best. Hardness can be determined readily by striking

the wood with a hammer and noting the sound produced. A clear,

ringing sound is a sign of hardness. The strength of a piece of wood

can be judged by its weight after it is well dried. Heavy woods are

usually strong. A large amount of late wood is an indication of

strength and the production of a clear sound when struck with a

hammer is also an evidence of strength.

Tree Studies

How To Identify Trees
Group I The Pines
The White Pine (pinus Strobus)
The Pitch Pine (pinus Rigida)
The Scotch Pine (pinus Sylvestris)
Group Ii The Spruce And Hemlock
The Norway Spruce (picea Excelsa)
Hemlock (tsuga Canadensis)
Group Iii The Red Cedar And Arbor-vitae
Red Cedar (juniperus Virginiana)
Arbor-vitae; Northern White Cedar (thuja Occidentalis)
Group Iv The Larch And Cypress
The European Larch (larix Europaea)
Bald Cypress (taxodium Distichum)
Group V The Horsechestnut, Ash And Maple
The Horsechestnut
The White Ash (fraxinus Americana)
Sugar Maple (acer Saccharum)
Silver Maple (acer Saccharinum)
Red Maple (acer Rubrum)
Norway Maple (acer Platanoides)
Box Elder (acer Negundo)
Group Vi Trees Told By Their Form: Elm, Poplar, Gingko And Willow
American Elm (ulmus Americana)
Lombardy Or Italian Poplar (populus Nigra, Var Italica)
Gingko Or Maidenhair Tree (gingko Biloba)
Weeping Willow (salix Babylonica)
Group Vii Trees Told By Their Bark Or Trunk: Sycamore, Birch, Beech,
Blue Beech, Ironwood, And Hackberry
The Sycamore Or Plane Tree (platanus Occidentalis)
Gray Or White Birch (betula Populifolia)
American Beech (fagus Americana)
Blue Beech Or Hornbeam (carpinus Caroliniana)
Hackberry (celtis Occidentalis)
Group Viii The Oaks And Chestnut
White Oak (quercus Alba)
Black Oak (quercus Velutina)
Red Oak (quercus Rubra)
Pin Oak (quercus Palustris)
Chestnut (castanea Dentata)
Group Ix The Hickories, Walnut And Butternut
Shagbark Hickory (hicoria Ovata)
Mockernut Hickory (hicoria Alba)
Black Walnut (juglans Nigra)
Group X Tulip Tree, Sweet Gum, Linden, Magnolia, Locust, Catalpa,
Dogwood, Mulberry And Osage Orange
Tulip Tree (liriodendron Tulipifera)
Sweet Gum (liquidambar Styraciflua)
American Linden (tilia Americana)
The Magnolias