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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm going to show my complete ignorance when it comes to lumber species...

I was offered a stack of what is supposed to be rough cut cherry boards (free). Only problem is that the guy that said it was cherry, in my opinion doesn't know any more than I do about types of lumber and he didn't purchase it, so he is going off of looks alone.

I am going to try to get down to look at it some night this week, but really don't even know if I can tell what it is. I can ID a few different species, but never worked with cherry. Can anyone give me any particulars to look for that may help me determine if it is indeed cherry? I'll be bale to tell if it's oak, maple, walnut, ash....some of the other popular ones, but other than process of elimination, I'm clueless.
 

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I've never bought it in the rough. Will any be planed to look at or all in the rough?

I've got 6-7 boards here about 5-6 wide I don't know what to do with..

Buddy was going to trade me Red Grandis for it, but never happened..
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I was told it's all rough cut. I'm assuming that means it hasn't been planed, but don't know that for sure.

I'll probably get it regardless, unless it's all beat to hell or split and cracked.
 

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I'm going to show my complete ignorance when it comes to lumber species...

I was offered a stack of what is supposed to be rough cut cherry boards (free). Only problem is that the guy that said it was cherry, in my opinion doesn't know any more than I do about types of lumber and he didn't purchase it, so he is going off of looks alone.

I am going to try to get down to look at it some night this week, but really don't even know if I can tell what it is. I can ID a few different species, but never worked with cherry. Can anyone give me any particulars to look for that may help me determine if it is indeed cherry? I'll be bale to tell if it's oak, maple, walnut, ash....some of the other popular ones, but other than process of elimination, I'm clueless.
Cherry is easy to identify. Surface or sand a piece of it and lay a coin on it and set it in the sun for an hour. Remove the coin and if there is a light spot where the coin was it's cherry.
 

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here are a few pics...cherry is prone to a few things. pic one shows how the sapwood takes on a much lighter color than the heartwood. also, black cherry (here in pa) is prone to pitch pockets and pitch lines. the pockets are small voids, the pitch lines (along the grain) are typically solid wood, but dark lines which sometimes are mistaken for cracks. all can be seen in the rough sawn condition, but come out more after planing. sorry pics are a little blurry. this wood has been kiln dried. if it was air dried, esp in the elements, it may have taken on a slightly grey(er) color.
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You get the idea. Pitch pockets are a dead giveaway, but you can't see them in rough.

Most will look like the pics posted, but be aware it can vary in color quite a bit, all the way down a salmon color.

It can also have some curl or figure, which is nice when you find it.

It wouldn't be a bad idea to carry a block plane or electric planer just to skip plane a little area.

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Pitch pockets are a dead giveaway, but you can't see them in rough.
Sorry Dr, i was too quick to respond. after more consderation, i realized that you likely have experienced the (very typical) end result - when you start out with what appears to be a clear cherry board, run it through the planer a few times, and darn, there they are!
 

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If you are not sure after looking at it, consider that free is a good price. If it is not all warped, split, and or knotty, take it and worry about verifying the species later. Most any lumber can be resold for more than you are paying, if it comes to that.
 

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Right, you can't beat free lumber. Just make sure it's not filled with powder post beetle holes, unless you're in position to treat the lumber. Not sure if you could tell if the lumber is from a lightening struck tree (spalting marks evident?), but if recently struck, the lumber would not show spalting and is likely in some reasonable good shape for use. Long term lightening struck is not so desirable and would likely show evidence of spalting, though might be hard to see on rough cut lumber.

Either old or newly cut lumber is not too different in looks and neither is the looks of kiln dried or air dried. Cherry is fairly distinct, compare to other local species that you mentioned.
First 2 pics is planed, kiln dried 30-40 yrs ago. The dark "lines" are water marks, the wood got wet (rain) at one time, long ago.
Second 2 pics is air dried, rough cut 30-40 yrs ago.

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'm still not confident it is going to be worth getting, but I am at least going to check on it (hopefully within the next couple nights). I have roughly 1500 bf of maple that is stacked and dry that I haven't even touched yet. So I don't really "need" the wood, but can't seem to pass up good wood.
 

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I'm still not confident it is going to be worth getting,

Don't let my somewhat negative comments deter you, if that is contributing to your latest comment. A good quantity of cherry lumber is worth it if the only investment is traveling to pick it up. Part of your learning curve in evaluating lumber is not only finding a good deal, but also taking a few hits along the way. Once you get there and, if he has other lumbers, evaluate the care he has with respect to his other lumbers and surroundings. Good care may equate to good cherry lumber. I happen to have lots of storage space for lumber, that's why I have an old and fairly large cache of goods. If you have the space, even though you don't have immediate use, collect what you can when you can, especially when the price is right.

Sonny
 
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