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Postby RRD2 on Wed Oct 05, 2005 10:36 pm

Tank:

I don't see any rust or metal fragments. There are a couple of small holes that may have been made by nails, but they are small. There doesn't appear to be any rust there either, but I didn't dig the soil out of them to check deep inside.

I looked at the piece through a stereoscope and there is a lot of soil, clay, and other particulates imbedded in the grain. It appears to be rough hewn, but with what, I can't tell. The center hole looks to have been cut by hand and is quite irregular.

The wood weighs 215 grams, and isn't especially dense or heavy for the size.

This is about all I can see with my untrained eye. Hopefully, we will have an idea of what type of wood it is soon...

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Postby acdonah on Wed Oct 05, 2005 11:29 pm

Just a guess....OAK
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Postby Mad Davy Kidd on Thu Oct 06, 2005 2:54 am

RRD2,

I had thought... I have a book which gives densities for many types of woods. It is hiding in a box somewhere, I may have to do some digging to find it.

As you've already determined the weight of your sample and posted measurements, we should be able to estimate the density, in LBS/SQFT, which is what my book gives. Have to subtract the hole of course!

Given that we could compare both the appearance and the density, and perhaps narrow the possibilities down some.

I haven't done the math yet and am not sure if my brain is up to it tonight (the Leafs lost, so I'm somewhat depressed!) - if anyone is good with numbers and wants to figure it out, go for it!

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Postby acdonah on Thu Oct 06, 2005 10:42 am

RRD2, Davey:

Well.....does the wood float or sink? If it has a Density less than 1g/cm3, it will float. If it has a Density greater than 1g/cm3, it will sink. Water has the Density of 1g/cm3. I think that will give us a direction. You would have to submerge the piece of wood to get the Volume anyway due its unusal shape. Let me know when you get the Volume.

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Postby acdonah on Thu Oct 06, 2005 6:44 pm

One other solution would be to cut a 1cm square block from the larger piece wood. This would settle the volume part of the equation. The internet is great resource for the densities of different kinds of wood.

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Postby Keeled_over on Thu Oct 06, 2005 8:58 pm

acdonah,

I don't believe testing the density of the wood will give accurate results.
Woods natural density will change with its environment, climate and age. Wood will absorb/lose minerals and moisture depending on its location and how long its been in that environment. Imagine a piece of driftwood for example, its as light as a feather. The density will change under these conditions.

This species of this sample can be identified either by grain pattern or at a cellular level using a microscope and comparing it to known specimens.

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Postby Ishmael on Thu Oct 06, 2005 9:50 pm

This species of this sample can be identified either by grain pattern or at a cellular level using a microscope and comparing it to known specimens.


Let's not forget we could simply take a small sample and extract the DNA and then compare it to a known panel of different wood genomes, if such exists. The DNA extraction part is the easy part, and requires very little sample. But yes, by and large the type of wood can probably just be determined by an expert looking at the grain, etc. I would think its provenance is more important, though...

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Postby acdonah on Fri Oct 07, 2005 12:27 am

Well...many types of wood can be eliminated just by looking at it. It is obviously light color, so Mohagany is eliminated. We could come down to a very short list pretty fast. I'm sure Mad Davy could just look at the sample and give a short list of under 5 types. I would think Oak would be at the top of the list. It looks light colored to me.

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Postby Mad Davy Kidd on Fri Oct 07, 2005 1:10 am

Well I'm no expert, but the problem at this point is the quality of the picture - Oak that I'm familiar with typically has fairly obvious grain, but I can't make any out in this photo.

As well, the conditions and age of the sample could have affected it's colour, so it may not be safe to make assumptions based on that.

Hopefully RRD2 will be able to get us a better picture, although I agree that WHAT it is is at least as important as what it's made of.

Dave
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Postby Keeled_over on Fri Oct 07, 2005 1:16 am

acdonah,

I agree that oak would be at the top of the list. I also feel that it also could be fir, as fir is a popular construction material. Considering where this sample was found, I would place oak and fir as my top 2 picks. But without a clearer picture of the sample, I can't identify it. In the age of sail, oak, elm and beech were popular construction materials. All had similar properties and would even look similar to the untrained eye. I believe the list of possible species for this sample is small.

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