View Full Version : Mystery Wood
05-31-2011, 08:36 PM
I posted earlier on this, but apparently the wood "Camberrra" doesn't exist, yet I bought it as camberra, australian teak.
Someone on here suggested that I try Garrapa.
Got a sample of garrapa, and it's definately not the same. It's not luan, it's not spanish cedar, it's not mahog, sapiele, iroko, braz cherry, or bubinga....
It's a nice wood to work with, no bad smell, reddish, open poored, storied medulary rays, but a larger structure than mahog or Sp. cedar. It is not as heavy as garappa. It turns silvery grey with age and exposure.
It can have wild grain that catches the light differently and planes fuzzy in spots. The only wood that I can compare it to in terms of workability and density is black walnut, though the poores are much bigger and the color is redder.
What could it be?
05-31-2011, 08:43 PM
Shane's head? The "age and exposure" part put him in mind...:p
05-31-2011, 09:10 PM
How about a photo? Even then it is notoriously difficult to identify wood based on a picture. Additionally, provenance, etc, would help to provide some clues.
06-01-2011, 08:45 PM
Here it is.
06-01-2011, 09:09 PM
Looks like cumaru. Although cumaru felt heavy and hard to me.
06-02-2011, 01:11 AM
Cambera certainly exists. I've built a bunch of decks with it. House dacks, not boat decks. Your pic looks like it could be Cambera.
06-02-2011, 01:38 AM
There is a Cambara Mahogany
but it looks a little differently grained than what you have??
Looks like good old Mountain ash (AKA gum tree)to me, can be pinkish when fresh, quickly turns gold with light exposure.
06-02-2011, 07:24 AM
Like I said, it is hard to identify the wood on the intertubes, and the guesses are all over the place. :)
I will say that I think your sample is some kind of khaya ssp, which can tend to be pinkish. There can be tremendous variation due to differing growing conditions. I have some wood that looks very much like what you posted, and matches very closely the properties that you describe. which was sold as African Mahogany.
Lots of good info on this site, here is their page on 'mahogany":
06-02-2011, 12:41 PM
Yes, just from the fotos, it could easily be some Shorea species.
Also, it would be helpful (at least to me) if we would (if possible) include the latin names of the species we're discussing. The common names can be quite confusing - esp. on an international forum, where common names vary between localities.
06-03-2011, 07:48 AM
Thanks to everyone that is trying to help solve this. I bought this wood about 6 yrs ago from a company that is no longer in business, Rawls Aden of petersberg Va. It was not terribly expensive. It was sold as residential decking, 5/4 x 6, actually measuring 1"x 5 1/4 with rounded edges. I built some outside steps for a church with it and it has held up very well, although the (cabot) "australian timber oil" recommended for it did not stay on it very long. I re-coated about 3 years ago and it didn't work any better than the first coat.
However, it has a nice silvery grey color to it, shows no sign of decay, and hasn't warped or split anywhere. It is not so smooth as to be slippery, even when wet, and doesn't have many splinters.
The reason I'm looking for the same kind of wood is, I have 10 pieces of it left. If I could find about 12/ 14 more, I'd have enough to cover the floor ( where I come from, it's a ceiling) of my boat.
What I want to do is- build small removeable sections of floor, that could be lifted out when needed. The boards on the surface would be attatched to wooden cleats underneath, not the floor timbers of the boat. each piece would be spilled, leaving about 1/4" gap in between. The edges rounded over, and the whole thing left to its own, no oil or finish whatsoever. All of which could be easily removed in the off-season for inspection, cleaning, painting, etc.
So, I don't really need 5/4 by 6, I'd prefer 3/4 stock, just random/rough width, since I'll be cutting/ shaping every single piece. None of the pieces will be longer than 4 feet, either.
I've looked at so many species of wood on the Wood Database, and I can't match it. And, yes, latin names are probably a good thing to have at your disposal.
So, my search continues.... I'd sure like to find this stuff in the next few weeks. I've got a good sourse for Sp. Cedar, but Man... I hate the smell.
06-03-2011, 11:45 PM
Well, it's not cumaru then, because that splinters like crazy. Your description that it silvers and is not slippery when wet makes me now think it is some kind of teak?
06-04-2011, 07:51 AM
I checked out the hobithouse wood site in post #9, and it does look like the Red river gum, Eucalyptus camaldlensis. Now I just need to get a sample of some. It also looks like the Cambara Mahog shown in post #7.
I swear, the hardest part of building ANYTHING is just getting your hands on the stuff to build it out of !!!!
06-05-2011, 09:16 PM
I realized this weekend, that it probably doesn't need to be any more than 5/8" thick, maybe I could find some 6/4 stuff and re-saw it.
06-05-2011, 09:34 PM
Having grown up making stuff from red gum (Eucalyptus camaldlensis), it's not something that I'd have picked as a match - going on your photo anyway. It was the most common timber where I grew up on the Murray River and we made house stumps and floor joists, fence posts and pickets, garden seats, steps, furniture and all sorts of things from it.
06-07-2011, 12:22 PM
I'm no wood expert but my reasearch indicates that "Cambera" = "Cambera Philippine Mahogany" = any one of a bunch of species (mostly Shorea) commonly sold as 'Philippine Mahogany", "Meranti" or 'Luan".
It's commonly used for decking and plywood. The wood color can vary from dark red (i.e. "Red Meranti") to light yellow (i.e. "Luan") depending on the true species. The working properties of the various species are pretty much the same although rot resistance is supposedly greater in the darker colored species than the lighter. It weathers to silver-gray. In general (and this is a generalization based on my personal experience with "Meranti", "Philippine Mahogany" and "Luan"), "Meranti" and "Philippine Mahogany" are darker in color and appear to be closer to what you have than "Luan".
Since your wood could be any one of a dozen or so species and since lumber dealers don't sort by species but only by generic categories, I think the only way you're going to get something that matches what you have is to go to a place that deals in "Philippine Mahogany" or 'Cambera Decking" or "Meranti" and sort through the piles until you find something close. Based on the wood I've seen in person and the pictures I've seen online, I think that the "Meranti" category is closest to what you have but given the non-specific and non-standardized nature of these categories and naming systems, it's impossible to be certian. Inany case, you're not going to be able to order it and have something pretty consistent in color and grain they way you would with white oak, rock maple or other woods that come from a single species or a very limited number of similar species
06-07-2011, 12:53 PM
The apearance and characteristics are very similar to the wood we used for my son's deck. It sold under the name Epe. It's quite heavy and oily, very tough and doesn't seem to warp much. After 6yrs with little maintainance it shows no wear and has the silver gray appearance of teak. Garold
06-07-2011, 01:15 PM
It's definately not Ipe/Epe. I've worked with a lot of Luan, and it's not that either. Typical that something so easy to get 6 yrs. ago is now like hens teeth.
06-07-2011, 02:17 PM
Well, if it really is "australian Teak", then it's Flindersia australis - also known as Australian Teak, Crow's Ash, Flindosy, Nutwood, Colonial Tea
Info here: http://www.woodsolutions.com.au/Wood-Species/crows-ash
and here: http://www.thewoodexplorer.com/maindata/we546.html but the descriptions (color, greasy feel) and photo doesn't sound like/look like what you have
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