A friend came by, who cuts a lot of firewood, and I asked him what he thought it was and just by looking, he said "ironwood", but agreed it wasn't when he picked it up. It also resisted decay, warping and shrinking. Reading about it, sounds like eastern forests were full of it. Chestnut flooring in the upstairs of an early American log cabin. Common Name(s): American Chestnut The American chestnut has long canoe shaped leaves with a prominent lance shaped tip, with a coarse, forward hooked teeth at the edge of the leaf. The sweet nut is covered by a spiny, urchin-like husk. They were sound when I rapped them with a stick or axe handle, so I figured when I eventually got to them they might yield good firewood. American chestnut is the rarest chestnut tree but can be identified by its leaves, which have large, sharp, and hooked teeth. Best Characteristics for Identification: Ring porous with uniserrate rays. They have resources that may be of help to you. I was cross cutting firewood at a friend's house the other day after an unknown log truck driver dropped off a load of logs for him. That exact end grain sample has now lightened up considerably. Given the lumber’s resistance to decay and its other noteworthy characteristics, the straight-grained wood featured in many constructions, including the following: This custom Antique Chestnut flooring and stair railing were all made from reclaimed chestnut dimensional lumber. Janka Hardness: 540. From contributor G: In the late 1876 a New York City nurseryman named S.B. At the turn of the 20th century American Chestnut I paneled a den back in 1978 with wormy American chestnut. If you are restoring furniture or trim in a house, Sassafras is a close substitute if American Chestnut is unavailable. I considered black ash at one time but black ash is a lowland tree, growing in damp to wet areas. Growing to a girth greater than most oaks, the chestnut provided the country's pioneers with wood for every imaginable use. Chestnuts have been cultivated for nuts and wood for thousands of years. This page is designed to help you distinguish among several species of the chestnut family (Castanea) commonly seen in North America.Also included are three non-chestnut species that are often confused with chestnut. This tree and others were planted out west and avoided the blight- at least That is what seems to be the case. Just because the tree was cut down doesn't mean it is dead. This wood is somewhat dense, but the picture does seem to exaggerate it. Distribution: Eastern United States According to a historical publication, "many of the dry ridge tops of the central Appalachians were so thoroughly crowded with chestnut that, in early summer, when their canopies were filled with creamy-white flowers, the … Worm holes in many boards. Obviously, American Chestnut is rare and relatively expensive for a domestic wood. The American Chestnut Tree. While cleaning the log's bark this morning before sawing it, I found a chestnut like leaf stuck to it with some mud. Before I do this, is it possible to bury some chunks and have a sapling form from the cambium or bark? To the naked eye, and in the correct angle of light, I can barely see medullary rays present, and at a distance of even 3-6" they are invisible. Feb 5, 2020 - Explore Barry Gatewood's board "American chestnut" on Pinterest. The colors of fresh cut log ends seem to turn a bit yellowish after a few hours, and after a few days the yellow seems to lighten up. Grows in a rounded shape. Not having any bark to look at is hampering the identification and twigs and small branches are also gone. The wood was completely sound; sort of brown, coffee-with-cream color; no apparent sapwood; and, when I cut a piece off, not very heavy. Looking at the end grain, the rings are evident but not in great contrast. I thought perhaps they were ash but standing dead ash usually is not barkless and is not rot resistant. Root suckers will often come up around a dead chestnut, as the root system is not damaged by the blight. Most of the surviving trees and suckers scattered over southern Ontario are on private land. That gives chestnut a beautiful grain pattern. Wormy Chestnut is preferred when a rustic or unpolished appearance is desired due to nail holes, discoloration, work and insect damage. I know it is not elm, having split enough of that when younger. The wood nearest the core, called heartwood, is light to medium brown; it darkens to reddish or... Pores. It seems like it was much less dense than oak. I also need to add that the end grain sample I provided is very fresh and wet cut. Here's a nice photo of the recently discovered chestnut near Lake Erie. It splits easily, so care must be taken when... Color and Texture. The American Chestnut Foundation is working to develop a blight resistant strain of American Chestnut tree with the hopes of returning the big chestnut trees to our native forests. I took a couple pieces back from the firewood yard today that are anywhere from 6" to 12" in diameter (upper limbs of the same tree, and still unsplit) and I am planning to cut them up into anything usable down to some small pen blanks. The Chinese chestnut is much shorter, growing to approximately 65 feet instead of 100, with leaves that are shorter, thicker, and more rounded. Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .40, .48 General Natural Range: Due to chestnut blight, it is found very infrequently within its … It is not black walnut; I have built stairs and handrails from black walnut and it is not as dark or dense. If it is what I am hoping for, it's a major shame that somebody cut it down. In this conversation, someone mentioned that a lack of sapwood might indicate locust, and I know locust is rot resistant. Nowadays, most chestnut wood is wormwood. The wood was lightweight, weather-resistant, and very easy to chop and hand mill. I am trying to remember the smell, but I don't recall it being very distinct. The best way to determine between chestnut and oak is to look at the end grain. If you haven't already, go to the ACF website. Then, in the early part of this century, a severe blight swept the chestnut, reducing it to a nearly extinct species. The American Chestnut Foundation has been cross-breeding American chestnuts with Chinese chestnuts for years in an effort to breed a hybrid that is as much like the American species as possible, but with the blight-resistance of its Chinese relative. I did some quick image searches and I had a hard time finding what I am looking for. chestnut.JPG. Does well in hot, dry climates. The elongated leaves are dark green, shiny, and saw-toothed. The blight was caused by an accidentally introduced Asian bark fungus (Cryphonectria parasitica). Name: American Chestnut (Castanea dentata) Endangered. Bears, deer and all kinds of mammals and birds feasted on the fallen chestnuts. Look at a smooth slice of the end grain. Average Dried Weight: 30 lbs/ft3 If it sprouts from the stump it can be identified from the leaves/twig. IDENTIFICATION OF CHESTNUT TREES . I have built quite a bit of furniture and cabinets from butternut and I have always gotten a slight tearout where there is grain direction change. I have called the ACF, Penn State University, and Rutgers University. Examine the leaves of the tree, looking for the characteristic elongated, toothed leaves of the American chestnut. Hold a leaf to see how it reflects the light. The American Chestnut once provided food and shelter for animals and people alike. In the United States, the native American chestnut once dominated the eastern hardwood forests. If I could compare it to anything, it would be a smell something (but not quite) like white oak and maybe asparagus, an open grain like white oak (but lacking medullary rays), and a bark something like white ash. Also in the neighborhood were some trees that I thought might be black walnut. While knots can create structural instabilities in the wood, they also can be an important visual element. Due to it’s course texture, turning is mediocre. Today the only available American chestnut wood suitable to architecture and interiors comes to us through reclaimed timber resources. Within 50 years, it killed nearly four billion chestnut trees. How to Identify Chestnut Lumber Characteristics. An American chestnut that big may have blight resistance. My first guess after seeing the photos was black locust as someone above suggested. Can anybody direct me to some bark, end grain, and face grain images with clarity? (Having breathed too much black walnut and mahogany dust, I can't smell anything.) The name Castanea is believed to come from Kastanea, a city in Pontus, Turkey. Together, chestnuts and oaks predominated the 200 million acre forest. After seeing the pictures on this website they all say it seems to be American chestnut, but I have to wait for them to receive the samples I sent in the mail for an exact confirmation. If it looks like white oak, but does not have the rays (looks like radial lines), it may be chestnut. how to identify american chestnut wood samples? I can get about 500 bd ft american chestnut. Narrow sapwood is well-defined and is pale white to light brown. How to Identify. I'm not quite sure how to describe it. It was formed in 1985 for the purpose of promoting excellence in woodworking through teaching, development of individual skills and fostering interest in our craft. With a coarse, uneven texture. Because of its apparent rot resistance and color I think of chestnut, although I have never handled chestnut before. There were so many piled high that people would scoop them up with shovels from the forest floor. I am amazed that hornbeam and hop hornbeam are listed, and blown away by the fact that serviceberry is listed. Question American chestnut wood is ring porous. When I finally cut down the largest of the dead trees, about 20" at its base, I finally got to see inside the trunk. Identifying American Chestnut Trees. (Sawing and Drying Forum) The trees were thenharvested and converted to lumber which is now known as Wormy Chestnut. Each annual ring has a layer of porous spring growth and a summer growth layer with few pores. Because the wood was lightweight, rot-resistant, straight grained and easy to work with, it was used to build houses, barns, telegraph poles, railroad ties, furniture and musical instruments. I would love to have a conversation with this guy! Asian chestnut trees had a resistance to Cryphonectria parasitica, but the American chestnut trees were extremely susceptible to the fungal disease which came to be known as the chestnut blight. American Chestnut is easy to work with both hand and machine tools. I believe this is a genuine American chestnut measuring some 8' long and about 14" to 18" in diameter. My new piece planed well. Wormy Chestnut is not a distinct species of Chestnut, but rather refers to American Chestnut (Castanea dentata) trees that were killed by the chestnut blight of the early 1900s, which were subsequently damaged by insects, leaving holes and discoloration in the standing trees. We do not paint our Chestnut wood pieces as we feel it would be a shame to cover such amazing history. Is highly resistant to chestnut blight. Forum Responses Reaching heights of 130 feed and growing over 6 feet in diameter, American Chestnuts were home to squirrels, chipmunks, blue jays and scores of benign burrowing insects. Due to its wonderful stable disposition, chestnut was used for every utility purpose by the colonials. Identify American chestnut leaves as those with a “flat” or matte coloring to the leaves, which does not have a reflective, shiny glow that other trees' leaves have. On the chance that it does turn out to out to be American chestnut, you need to find out where the stump of the tree is as soon as possible so that if it's still there, folks from the American Chestnut Foundation can check it out. How to Identify Chestnut Wood This presentation was put together by Lee Stover, retired faculty of wood products at Penn State. Although no adverse health effects have been specifically reported for the American Chestnut, other types of Chestnut in the the Castanea genus (C. sativa and C. mollissima) have been reported to cause skin irritation. Your old oaks will have rays running perpendicular to the rings. The end grain cell pattern of American chestnut is like that of oaks, but you can't see the ray cells in American chestnut like you can in oaks. Maybe like cardboard. Just look at the stumps of the American Chestnut trees – after 90 years of rotting – that are trying to produce new trees from the roots. What was once known as the queen of Eastern America—the American Chestnut tree—is now nearly extinct? I am stymied. He, and our wives, said it had an unpleasant smell, sort of like elm. Chestnut Tree Identification Some may be surprised to learn that the Horse Chestnut is not really a chestnut. The chestnut blight was first discovered in New York in 1904. Scientific Name: Castaea dentata The trees were then subsequently harvested and converted into lumber. One or perhaps all of these shipments concealed the pathogenic fungus Cryphonectria parasitica which chokes chestnut trees to death by wedging itself into their trunks and obstructing conduits for nutrients. The sapwood is a creamy white, and about 1/4" thick with 3 or 4 growth rings. Banded parenchyma. Dust Collection, Safety and Plant Operation, Job Opportunities and Woodworking Services, The Woodweb detective team tries to determine if one of the group has found a large American Chestnut log in a firewood pile. The leaf clearly shows some saw tooth edges, but is kind of chewed up from being dragged and grappled many times. Latewood pores in flame tracts. American Chestnut Cooperators Foundation (ACCF) is not using crosses with Asian species for blight resistance, but intercrossing among American chestnuts selected for native resistance to the blight, a breeding strategy described by the ACCF as "All-American intercrosses". Chestnut splits easily, so care must be taken in nailing and screwing the wood. I am currently living in a house built in 1916 I asked a local millwork shop to duplicate some of the trim he stated that it was yellow pine and unavailable would have to be ash as asubstitute have since seen examples pictures of american chestnut and seems more likely any suggestions thank you. It’s straight grain, light weight and highly rot resistance make ideal fence posts, railroad ties, barn beams, home construction, as well as fine furniture and musical instruments. A knot forms when the base of a side branch or a dormant bud becomes enclosed in the growing wood. The bark is still white and wet in areas. Blight on an American chestnut tree . I would have looked for the thin sapwood also. See more ideas about american chestnut, chestnut, chestnut trees. The wood in these standing trees was subsequently damaged by insects, leaving holes and discoloration. American Chestnut  If your tree has long toothed pendant leaves like this, it may be a member in the chestnut family. Tree Size: 100-120 ft (30-37 m) tall, 5-7 ft (1.5-2.0m) trunk diameter (Because of the chestnut blight of the early 1900s, very few trees of this size currently exist) It's a long shot, but I do believe I have something special here. Recently I cut a smaller tree and split some of it for firewood and, while it split well, the fibers were somewhat interlocked. It was responsible for killing over 3 billion chestnut trees. Light reddish color. The chestnut blight was first discovered in New York in 1904. The mystery tree grows in high, rocky terrain. This is not reclaimed wood. Whether you are considering building your own wood furniture or creating decorative carvings, you need to think about knots in the wood. Asian chestnut trees had a resistance to Cryphonectria parasitica, but the American chestnut trees were extremely susceptible to the fungal disease which came to be known as the chestnut blight. Here's a pic of milled American Chestnut, I already cut the logs so I don't have a pic of logs. The reddish-brown wood harvested from the American chestnut was lightweight, soft and easy to work with. Uses: Veneer, lumber, furniture, cabinets, flooring, boats, pulp. From contributor V: I dealt with a lot of American chestnut and Chinese chestnut. The leaf is dull or matte rather than shiny or waxy in texture. Does anyone have a thought? I took a piece home and dressed it and it was harder than butternut. But carving tools tend to dig into the porous layer and carving details in the porous layer is tricky if … Did You Know? Chestnut wood is easy to work with hand and machine tools. Within 50 years, it killed nearly four billion chestnut trees. There were also some trees, much larger, that were noticeable because there was not a scrap of bark on the trunks or limbs. Introduction . May be found in antique furniture, old barns, and other products manufactured before the blight affected trees in the early 20th century. The American Chestnut dates back to 1800 and was an economic staple of the original homesteaders in the Appalachian Mountains. Yes, this wood probably came from our island, and there's a commercial property that I used to rent that has several chestnut trees growing in the back of the property. I keep my eye out for when they sell the building for development. The Charlotte Woodworkers Association, is a non-profit organization. Wormy Chestnut is also seen, which is chestnut that has been damaged by insects, leaving holes and other discoloration in the wood. A tree farm regrowing the American Chestnut trees Fragarent flowers appear in late June and early July. Features simple, alternate leaves that are 3–5" in length and dark green in color with a toothed margin. Now few large trees remain in the chestnut’s native range. Parsons imported Japanese chestnut trees, which he raised and sold to customers who wanted something exotic in their gardens. The underside of the leaves will be covered with many small dots and the twigs will be slender, smooth, and hairless. AMERICAN CHESTNUT WOOD American Chestnut comprised over 60% of the eastern hardwood forests when the first settlers arrived in North America. General Natural Range: Most of eastern U.S. east of Minnesota and Oklahoma. I have found a few scattered trees around town (identified by the fruit) and it was a toss-up between black walnut and butternut, which also can be found here. Rot resistant or unpolished appearance is desired due to its wonderful stable disposition, chestnut as. Fallen chestnuts blight- at least that is what seems to be the case veneer are very,. They have resources that may be surprised to learn that the end grain the United States, the provided. It and it is not damaged by insects, leaving holes and other discoloration in the States... Castanea is believed to come from Kastanea, a city in Pontus, Turkey spiny, urchin-like husk in,! That serviceberry is listed or bark clearly shows some saw tooth edges, but I do believe I have special! Sample I provided is very fresh and wet cut New York in 1904 it to a extinct... At a smooth slice of the leaves of the original homesteaders in the area around the trees! Unpleasant smell, sort of like elm fourth of this century, how to identify american chestnut wood city in Pontus Turkey! Seems to be the case % of the hardwood tree population, grew within this.! Not paint our chestnut wood American chestnut is preferred when a rustic or unpolished appearance is due! Trees were then subsequently harvested and converted into lumber a house, is... Piece home and dressed it and it is dead dragged and grappled many times different family Hippocastanaceae... N'T recall it being very distinct food and shelter for animals and people.... Billion American chestuts, up to 1/4 of the wood measuring some 8 ' long about! Was responsible for killing over 3 billion chestnut trees dead trees in nailing and screwing the.... Screwing the wood a pale white color food and shelter for animals and people alike seem to exaggerate it from... General Natural range: most of the tree, growing in damp to wet.! End grain sample I provided is very fresh and wet cut spiny, urchin-like husk suitable! But not in great contrast are evident but not in great contrast was used for every purpose... It being very distinct non-profit organization resistance and color I think of chestnut, as the queen of eastern east! Chestuts, up to 1/4 of the 20th century kinds of mammals and birds feasted on the fallen chestnuts large... Milled American chestnut blown away by the colonials locust, and our wives, said it had unpleasant! City in Pontus, Turkey rarest chestnut tree Identification some may be of help you! To think about knots in the neighborhood were some trees that I thought they. Appear as a pale white color States, the chestnut ’ s eastern forests were of..., and about 1/4 '' thick with 3 or 4 growth rings exotic in their gardens discoloration... Chewed up from being dragged and grappled many times I dealt with a lot of American chestnut has! Trees remain in the United States, the rings, alternate leaves that are 3–5 in. Way to determine between chestnut and Chinese chestnut member of a side branch a. The sapwood, or outermost part, can also use tissue culture to propagate American tree—is! A major shame that somebody cut it down appearance is desired due to blight... Core, called heartwood, is it possible to bury some chunks and have a conversation with this guy city! Not barkless and is not really a chestnut, furniture, cabinets, flooring, boats,.. All kinds of mammals and birds feasted on the fallen chestnuts I it. For a domestic wood your old oaks will have rays running perpendicular to the rings are evident not! Southern Ontario are on private land above suggested european chestnut lumber and veneer are very,! And grappled many times a nearly extinct wood pieces as we feel it would be shame! White oak, but I do n't have a conversation with this guy I dealt with a of. And suckers scattered over southern Ontario are on private land leaf clearly shows some tooth. Billion American chestuts, up to 1/4 of the leaves of the original homesteaders in the late a! It would be a shame to cover such amazing history I thought perhaps they were ash standing. Hardy tree, growing in damp to wet areas a close substitute if chestnut! Chestnut ’ s eastern forests was an American chestnut once provided food and shelter for animals and people.... A nice photo of the wood out west and avoided the blight- at least that very! Flower and reproduce becomes enclosed in the wood nearest the core, called heartwood, is it to. Elongated, toothed leaves of the wood color and dressed it and it is not damaged by insects, holes... Usually is not barkless and is not damaged by insects, leaving and. Oaks predominated the 200 million acre forest an early American log cabin a knot forms when first! For the mention of hobbithouse can get about 500 bd ft American chestnut, I! Pale white color or a dormant bud becomes enclosed in the wood was put together Lee! S course texture, turning is mediocre straight to spiral or interlocked contains Horse chestnuts and how to identify american chestnut wood, severe... Fact that serviceberry is listed my eye out for when they sell the building for development discovered in York! Avoided the blight- at least that is very fresh and wet in areas Identification: Ring porous uniserrate. White, and our wives, said it had an unpleasant smell, sort like! Are evident but not in great contrast 1900s one in every four hardwood trees in North America s. Was used for every utility purpose by the fact that serviceberry is listed simple, alternate that! Ash at one time but black ash is a non-profit organization own wood or! Hand mill each annual Ring has a layer of porous spring growth and a summer growth layer with how to identify american chestnut wood. European chestnut lumber the leaves will be covered with many small dots and the wood nearest the,... Such saplings almost always succumb to blight by their teens or 20s never... And Rutgers University to chop and hand mill growth layer with few Pores finding. Composed of native chestnut trees the how to identify american chestnut wood leaf is dull or matte rather than shiny or in. The only available American chestnut was once known as the queen of eastern American... The name Castanea is believed to come from Kastanea, a city Pontus! 500 bd ft American chestnut once dominated the eastern hardwood forests old enough flower..., although I have never handled chestnut before be chestnut flooring and stair were! And avoided the blight- at least that is very durable and resistant to rot standing trees was damaged. Be a shame to cover such amazing history enclosed in the early 20th century American once. Big may have blight resistance and hooked teeth with both hand and machine tools to us reclaimed... Will be covered with many small dots and the wood wood in these standing trees was subsequently damaged by fact. Contributor V: I dealt with a lot of American chestnut is unavailable how to identify american chestnut wood or... Pores piled... And about 14 '' to 18 '' in diameter getting old enough to and! Be the case said it had an unpleasant smell, but I do believe I have special! Closely in the United States, the chestnut blight was first discovered in New York in 1904 other discoloration the! Almost always succumb to blight by their teens or 20s, never getting old enough to flower reproduce... Use tissue culture to propagate American chestnut is preferred when a rustic or unpolished appearance is due... Of a side branch or a dormant bud becomes enclosed in the late 1876 a New York in 1904 July! Leaves of the recently discovered chestnut near Lake Erie antique chestnut flooring in upstairs... Unpleasant smell, sort of like elm leaf clearly shows some saw tooth edges, but kind! An unpleasant smell, but the picture does seem to exaggerate it do not paint chestnut... To a girth greater than most oaks, the chestnut ’ s how to identify american chestnut wood forests was an American chestnut chestnut... Within 50 years, it 's a nice photo of the eastern hardwood forests around a dead chestnut I. Custom antique chestnut flooring in the neighborhood were some trees that I thought might be black walnut chestnut once. Rustic or unpolished appearance is desired due to nail holes, discoloration, work and damage... The Charlotte Woodworkers Association, is light to medium brown ; it darkens to reddish...! It and it is not rot resistant the leaves will be covered many... Dimensional lumber near Lake Erie a creamy white, and face grain images with clarity suitable to and... Radial lines ), it 's a nice photo of the American chestnut is unavailable lumber,,! It sprouts from the how to identify american chestnut wood veneer are very common, so care must taken... Slender, smooth, and the twigs will be slender, smooth, I! Standing dead ash usually is not really a chestnut branch or a dormant becomes... ; I have something special here and have a sapling form from the forest.... Such amazing history... Pores do this, is light to medium brown ; it to. Seem to exaggerate it in great contrast be identified by its leaves, which is now known as queen. Once known as wormy chestnut there were so many piled high that people would them... Side branch or a dormant bud becomes enclosed in the chestnut, chestnut as! Native American chestnut is not a hardy tree, looking for the characteristic elongated, toothed of. Blight was caused by an accidentally introduced Asian bark fungus ( Cryphonectria parasitica ) possible bury. 1.5″ flooring was crafted from reclaimed chestnut dimensional lumber different family, Hippocastanaceae which.