Author Topic: What wood are these doors?  (Read 2913 times)

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Offline Deke

  • Posts: 236
What wood are these doors?
« on: May 18, 2018, 06:32 PM »
Here are pics of two doors in the house we bought last year. The big pocket door is missing some trim, but even without that to match, I am curious what wood this is. I am usually pretty good with this. Everyone says oak. I say no. The house was built in 1900 and the people who owned it were doing pretty well (for the time - we are more modest). If it was oak, I think we would be seeing quarter sawn, but I'm still not seeing oak. It is very dark and even flat sawn oak would't look quite like this - I think? One person suggested it could be chestnut. House is near Philly.

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Offline RustE

  • Posts: 342
Re: What wood are these doors?
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2018, 09:11 PM »
That’s not oak.  My first thought is pine or relative species.  Haven’t seen chestnut (that I recall).

Offline johntheoak

  • Posts: 12
Re: What wood are these doors?
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2018, 10:41 PM »
Rails and stiles look like Pine. Panels look like Ash.

Offline Peter Halle

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  • Posts: 11594
Re: What wood are these doors?
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2018, 03:46 AM »
My guess would be elm.

Peter

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 3602
Re: What wood are these doors?
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2018, 09:10 AM »
Plain sawn Chestnut with a dark stain and a lot of grain filler. A disease felled the chestnut trees around the time your house was built.

Offline Rip Van Winkle

  • Posts: 301
Re: What wood are these doors?
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2018, 11:32 AM »
The last photo looks like pine.

The grain on the middle photo looks like Ash, but it would have had to be stained.

Offline jobsworth

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Offline Deke

  • Posts: 236
Re: What wood are these doors?
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2018, 07:26 AM »
Thanks everybody. Was older growth pine heavy? These doors sure are. Unless someone has a DNA wood test I may never know for sure. :-) Elm is interesting too.

The real issue (ad what I should have asked) is there is a piece of trim missing on the pocket door. Some day I want to match that. The species may not be as tricky as getting the color stain. Given this mystery, what wood would you use?

Offline Dogberryjr

  • Posts: 116
Re: What wood are these doors?
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2018, 10:13 AM »
Unless someone has a DNA wood test I may never know for sure. :-) Elm is interesting too.

Here's a quick test to see if it's elm: Hit it full force with an 8lb maul. If the maul bounces off the wood, it's elm.

*Sorry, still feeling salty about the elm I had to split recently.

Offline Deke

  • Posts: 236
Re: What wood are these doors?
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2018, 10:45 AM »
Unless someone has a DNA wood test I may never know for sure. :-) Elm is interesting too.

Here's a quick test to see if it's elm: Hit it full force with an 8lb maul. If the maul bounces off the wood, it's elm.

*Sorry, still feeling salty about the elm I had to split recently.

I'll pass! :-)

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 5147
Re: What wood are these doors?
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2018, 11:42 AM »
Thanks everybody. Was older growth pine heavy? These doors sure are.

I know old growth Douglas fir is. I have some that's 60+ years old and you have to drill it for nailing, other wise the nails just bend.

Offline Dane

  • Posts: 354
Re: What wood are these doors?
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2018, 04:49 PM »
Chestnut.  I had a rowhouse in DC from the same era- all the doors and frame and panel wall details were in chestnut.  Looked just like that.

Offline Deke

  • Posts: 236
Re: What wood are these doors?
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2018, 05:52 PM »
Chestnut.  I had a rowhouse in DC from the same era- all the doors and frame and panel wall details were in chestnut.  Looked just like that.

I have been looking at pictures of chestnut online and with your reply, I'm going with Chestnut too. A local carpenter thought the same. In person pine, oak or ash don't quite seem right. Hard to explain. Thanks! Now, can I actually find some to make that missing trim?

Here's an article on the demise of Chestnut
https://www.interiorsandsources.com/article-details/articleid/8/title/american-chestnut-a-most-popular-american-tree-logged-no-more-

« Last Edit: May 21, 2018, 07:52 PM by Deke »

Offline Knight Woodworks

  • Posts: 223
Re: What wood are these doors?
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2018, 06:14 PM »
Chestnut. I own a similar vintage house not too far from you in NJ. The doors have the same raised panels, sticking and are the same color.

Chestnut can be hard to find, maybe give Willard Brothers in NJ a call.

John

Offline Deke

  • Posts: 236
Re: What wood are these doors?
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2018, 10:20 AM »
Thanks everyone. With all this, I have learned a lot more about Chestnut. As a supposed woodworker and old house owner, I can't believe I didn't know about this tree. They say there were 4 billion in the US. The old saying about a squirrel being able to go from Main to Georgia without touching the ground was based on the Chesnut tree. The wood was useful for many things and being rot resistant was the choice for log cabins too. The trees grew very quickly and the trunks were massive. Then in 1900 or so an imported Japanese variant brought the blight. By 1940 they were all gone and to this day new Chestnuts will grow to a few feet, then the blight hits them. I know we are facing something like this with Ash and the beetle, but Chestnuts were far more widespread. It's almost like today our having oak or maple wiped out. It's crazy to think about. I saw this article - it could be that genetic engineering can bring back the Chestnut.

https://www.acf.org/our-community/news/new-genetically-engineered-american-chestnut-will-help-restore-decimated-iconic-tree/

Online Tinker

  • Posts: 3665
Re: What wood are these doors?
« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2018, 03:58 PM »
I think it's Chestnut. I have a coffee table (gift from a good friend) that has flat panel that looks like that, but in natural color. He was working in a furniture mill when a large chestnut beam came into the shop. He made the table from cut off scraps from a large chest that was being made out of the beam. The grain looks like that.

I have a funny/sad story about a friend who had saved about 6 30 foot 6x6 beams that he was going to be using in remodeling his recently purchased barn.  He was remodeling into a house for living. I was building a fireplace and chimney for the project.  The house (from here, we will call the barn as a house) was on a level lot except the end where we were building the chimney had a very steep drop of about 6 feet elevation in about 8 feet.  That presented a problem with scaffolding requiring we build a level deck to set my steel staging frames onto. Not an unusual situation in Connecticut. I had brought in a pile of 6x8 ties (beams) to built the deck, but had dumped the pile at the edge of the driveway at the far end of house from the chimney. I had already constructed the base of the chimney out of concrete blocks up the the top of the house foundation. I had moved in side and was working on the fireplace construction and had told my helper the build the scaffolding deck while I was doing the firebox. He had done the deck thing on other jobs. I had dumped enough beams for the job and in such situations, we often had to cut beams to fit the grade or for bracing, or whatever the need.  I paid no atrtention when I heard the chainsaw reving thru wood.  That was a usual sound.

As I was finishing up inside, the owner showed up and voiced his approval of the job I was doing. After a short chat, he continued on to check the goings on out side.  All of a sudden, I heard a very loud exclamation, "OH NO!!!"  Silence. 

I ran out side and there was my friend, Sam, leaning against his arm against a tree.  He was saying nothing.  Sam has always been a very jolly type person. He has been a smart business man who is always ready to pounce on a good deal which seems always to turn into a great deal.  I had known him for more the a dozen years at the time. I had never heard a pessimistic remark from him.  The sort if you gave him a lemon, he would make lemonade. I looked around to see what had upset my friend.  My helper looked confused.

I did not have far to look. Sam had shown me his latest "deal" a few days before.  He had shown me a pile of Chestnut beams at his father's house. He had rescued them from a demolition and was going to use in his own house. The beams were each 30 feet in length and hand hewed to 6x6 or 6x8.  A valuable find. 

Sam had delivered those beams to his own house the nite before and had taken the time to lug them to where I had my bricks and sand piled.  I had not known, nor had my helper known of Sam's delivery. I had delivered my constuction beams in the dark of the nite AFTER Sam had made his delivery. My helper had looked at Sam's beams piled alongside of our bricks and sand and thought those were meant for the deck construction. Neither one of us had looked before I started my inside work.  I had gone over the outside work the afternoon before with my helper and told him I would be delivering the construction beams for him to work with afterdark. He knew what to do.

Sam, as I have mentioned, was, and still is, a happy guy. He was unhappy for little while, but we are still good friends nearly 50 years later. My helper is still my friend altho he now lives about 200 miles away. None of the three of us have ever made the same mistook again, I assure you.
Tinker
Wayne H. Tinker

Offline Deke

  • Posts: 236
Re: What wood are these doors?
« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2018, 10:49 AM »
...
Sam, as I have mentioned, was, and still is, a happy guy. He was unhappy for little while, but we are still good friends nearly 50 years later. My helper is still my friend altho he now lives about 200 miles away. None of the three of us have ever made the same mistook again, I assure you.
Tinker

Oh man! That's a great story. Glad the friendship survived!