Simple Tools to Identify Softwood and Hardwood Lumber in Franklin County, MA

So, you have in your possession a beautiful piece of wood that you are just dying to transform into something for your home. The only problem is that you have absolutely no idea what species it is! Adding to the mystery is your knowledge that there are thousands of tree species in the world, and that some lumber looks the same in color and grain. In order to do woodworking and care for and maintain your wood products, it’s good to know the type of wood you’ve got.

Of course, you’ll have to use your eyes to make a visual confirmation of a specific wood species, but what things do you need in hand to conduct a thorough, closer inspection? With this question in mind, here are the two simple tools you will need to identify softwood and hardwood lumber in Franklin County, MA—all you need is a hand lens and a cross section of end grain.

Hand lens

Wood identification can be conducted with pretty simple tools, and a hand lens is one of those tools. This is typically owned by professional and beginning woodworkers and lumber suppliers. If you are not familiar with a hand lens for wood identification, never fear—let’s talk about it now.

A hand lens is a practical, yet powerful tool used to identify wood, and it must be used the right way if you want to get a solid answer. Hand lenses for wood identification are made of two pieces: a lens and a body. The lens piece is for magnifying the section of wood in question, while the body acts as a housing unit to protect the lens. They are for looking at clear, sharp images of objects up close, and the user can usually view through either end of the tool.

Cross section of end grain

The second tool you will need—and a very important piece to the puzzle—is a cross section of the end grain of the wood you would like to identify. The end grain is seen when the wood piece is cut across the growth rings. This is the grain of wood to examine under the hand lens. To get a usable cross section of end grain for species identification purposes, the plank of wood has to be cut at a 90-degree angle to the grain. The cut will expose the unique characteristics of the wood graining and rings, which is why end grain cuts are agreeable and aesthetically pleasing.

Not everyone is a pro at wood identification. In fact, since most people who are not lifelong woodworkers—who are equipped to do a lot of the research and work on their own—still like to take on wood projects from time to time, the best thing to do is consult an expert. Whether it’s softwood you need, or you’re in the market for hardwood lumber in Franklin County, MA, make sure your first stop is Forest Products Associates’ lumberyard and wood store. Contact us today with any questions you may have!