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Thread: What do I have and why so much ?

  1. #11
    Senior Member jmabuse's Avatar
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    That is probably lauan, genus Shorea, sometimes called "Philippine mahogany," although it isn't real mahogany -- genuine mahogany comes (came) from the Americas. This stuff would come from East Asia, probably the Philippines or Malaysia. It's made into thin plywood typically and sold in home centers, so lots of people call any thin dark plywood with a surfaced side "luan." The reason that stack of lauan plywood at HD was stickered with it is that it probably comes from the same timbers used to make the plywood.

    There are lots of different species in the genus (like, over a hundred identified) and they have different qualities for working. The plywoods have a reputation for being made from soft wood, but you might have gotten something like dark red meranti, which is fairly durable and not as soft as some other varieties (although none of them are really hard).

    What you have is beautiful wood, with a cool grain pattern and color. If I had it, I wouldn't use it outdoors and I wouldn't expect great strength or hardness. I'd cut 4/4 or 8/4 planks and let them stabilize indoors for a few weeks, check moisture and then plane and work with it. Boxes, razor scales, picture frames -- but not a cutting board. Shorea is kind of soft and there are so many species, you just don't know what you have there. Probably whatever the mill could get cheap.

    Genuine mahogany (like from South America) is difficult to get hold of these days, and it's critically endangered. I have only ever dealt with it when repairing old furniture, but it's well-documented to be wonderful stuff, exceptionally stable, durable, workable. I don't think you would find it in a home center and if you did they would probably be violating some laws at the source.
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  2. #12
    'with that said' cudarunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmabuse View Post
    Genuine mahogany (like from South America) is difficult to get hold of these days, and it's critically endangered. I have only ever dealt with it when repairing old furniture, but it's well-documented to be wonderful stuff, exceptionally stable, durable, workable. I don't think you would find it in a home center and if you did they would probably be violating some laws at the source.
    Thank you very much for the information. :

    Now I have to wonder what it was that had such an open grain and we were told was Mahogany when I was in High School Wood Shop from '68 to 71'
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    Senior Member jmabuse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cudarunner View Post
    Thank you very much for the information. :

    Now I have to wonder what it was that had such an open grain and we were told was Mahogany when I was in High School Wood Shop from '68 to 71'
    That was probably real mahogany from Brazil or Peru! Brazil didn't stop exports until 2001 and there is still a lot of illegal logging in Peru.

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    The Great & Powerful Oz onimaru55's Avatar
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    On my screen the top pic shows a purple hue on the cube. Could be purpleheart ?
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    Senior Member jmabuse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onimaru55 View Post
    On my screen the top pic shows a purple hue on the cube. Could be purpleheart ?
    Seems unlikely to me -- purpleheart is an American wood, and the grain is pretty regular and straight unlike this stuff. I don't think it would show up being used to sticker Asian plywood at a home center.

  6. #16
    NZ's okayest dad 1997 Grazor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10Pups View Post
    So I noticed this wood getting tossed out. Hard and heavy. Hmmm nice brush maybe? Now I am in no hurry to start up another project but I grabbed a ton of it anyway. My second thought and why I grabbed so much was I also want a cool butcher block. A big one. Started thinking this wood may not be the best choice after all. I have taken it to Rocklers and the guys there were stumped and told me to come back when so and so was working. Of which I found out , no one knew when that would be. Then it dawned on me I have some pretty smart friends around here :<0)

    Attachment 272074

    Attachment 272075

    What do you think ? Is it going to kill me to cut beef jerky or make a sandwich on it ? In trying to ID it on my own I come up with mahogany or walnut. Not sure if it came from South America or Washington. It is sticker material from a lift of Luan at HD store which makes me think mahogany. I cut off a piece and ran it across the belt grinder with 80 grit to see what's inside better. The crack/inclusion will take a paring knife all the way through. That was a small surprise.
    Looks like mahogany, but I doubt it considering what it was being used for.
    Should turn out nice if seasoned correctly, 2 years per inch minimum.
    Would make a very nice end grain butchers block if there is enough without the void.
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    Incidere in dimidium Cangooner's Avatar
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    That looks exactly like a pile of boards I got from a friend when he moved several years ago. I never did identify it for certain. The stuff I had came from the decking that made up the floor of rail boxcars. Seems a terrible waste of what turned out to be beautiful wood. I too thought it was mahogany at first, but can't imagine they would use something that expensive for decking. So I like the suggestion of an alternate mahogany-like hardwood. I found it a bit splintery to work with, and just in case it had the same potential dangers as mahogany (I heard its dust could be pretty nasty stuff), I always made sure to use a mask when working it.

    I made a table out of it and will attach a couple of pics. It has been quite a while, but I think this was finished with tung oil.

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  8. #18
    Senior Member jmabuse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cangooner View Post
    That looks exactly like a pile of boards I got from a friend when he moved several years ago. I never did identify it for certain. The stuff I had came from the decking that made up the floor of rail boxcars. Seems a terrible waste of what turned out to be beautiful wood. I too thought it was mahogany at first, but can't imagine they would use something that expensive for decking. So I like the suggestion of an alternate mahogany-like hardwood. I found it a bit splintery to work with, and just in case it had the same potential dangers as mahogany (I heard its dust could be pretty nasty stuff), I always made sure to use a mask when working it.

    I made a table out of it and will attach a couple of pics. It has been quite a while, but I think this was finished with tung oil.

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    That is a really nice piece!
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    Senior Member blabbermouth 10Pups's Avatar
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    Harry -
    Teak was another guess I was making. The color had me toss that idea. Soooo maybe ? The color looks exactly like a redwood. The texture oak. And it is VERY heavy.
    You know when you pick up a piece of wood and think " oh this stuff is solid". It's like that x2 .

    JMAbuse -
    I read all that on a search and gave it much consideration. I use a Diablo blade on a circ saw and have cut everything from concrete , metal , balsa, and tons of other woods with it. This stuff is very hard. I think the part about it being a different species in that particular forest is dead on. I was also thinking if the company cutting tremendous amounts of lumber had a certain tree they could not sell it would easily go in the cull and be made into stickers. Illegal to sell, endangered, make stickers out of it.

    It will make a great brush and lots of other cool stuff. Even if I make a block out it I will have plenty of left overs. I will take some more pics under different light and maybe spin some on the lathe. I thought this was going to be easy for you guys :<0)
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    Senior Member blabbermouth 10Pups's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Cangooner;1767736]That looks exactly like a pile of boards I got from a friend when he moved several years ago. I never did identify it for certain. The stuff I had came from the decking that made up the floor of rail boxcars. Seems a terrible waste of what turned out to be beautiful wood. I too thought it was mahogany at first, but can't imagine they would use something that expensive for decking. So I like the suggestion of an alternate mahogany-like hardwood. I found it a bit splintery to work with, and just in case it had the same potential dangers as mahogany (I heard its dust could be pretty nasty stuff), I always made sure to use a mask when working it.

    I made a table out of it and will attach a couple of pics. It has been quite a while, but I think this was finished with tung oil.

    Nice table and great save of some cool wood. There are lots of woods used for decking and you might do a search for such woods. I mean it is used for that and not much else. IE apitong which os another wood mine might be. Lots of different grain patterns in this species and although once plentiful, not so much anymore.
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