Identifying Wood: Accurate Results With Simple Tools

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by: R. Bruce Hoadley

Topics include: latewood pores, outer latewood, earlywood pores, terminal parenchyma, radial multiples, dentate ray tracheids, longitudinal parenchyma cells, banded parenchyma, spiral checking, pores solitary, marginal parenchyma, zonate parenchyma, fine tangential lines, confluent parenchyma, abrupt transition from earlywood, nestlike groups, procumbent cells, gum defects, storied rays, growth ring boundary, ray fleck, vasicentric parenchyma, widest rays, longitudinal resin canals, aliform parenchyma

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Excellent! --
I've had this book for almost 2 years and it is the best I've seen. It is very well written and very thorough. It begins with an explanation of the structure of wood at the cellular level, in some cases, in rather great depth. There are chapters on techinques for obtaining and preparing wood samples as well as a description of some of the necessary instruments (hand lens, microscope etc). The sections on identification are divided up into softwoods, hardwoods and tropical woods. I will agree that the section on tropical woods is not as deep as the other two sections, but I would say its in proportion to the chances of you happening up on a piece of rare tropical wood and having to identify it. I have sucessfully indentified dozens of woods using this book. Be advised that a microscope is definately needed when using this book, in my humble opinion. It doesnt have to be a megabuck model, but 100-250x would be very helpful. I would highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to go beyond the "if its brown, its walnut, if its white its maple" level, and get deeper into wood identification. ID-ing a chunk of wood is very satisfying and this book makes it possible!

A steal! --
For those interested in identifying wood this book is a steal! This is not the only introductory text on the topic, but it sure is the most readable and the most accessible. The color pictures of the end grain are unparalled in any other book. The text is crystal clear and well paced. If this book has a flaw it is the focus on North American woods, at the cost of tropical woods, but you cannot have everything.
Actually I began with an understatement: this book would be a steal at twice the price!

Fairly recently a new imprint of this book was made, at a slightly smaller size and with a new cover (including a new cover picture). Internally the book appears unchanged except that the errata (supplied on a separate sheet with the first imprint) have been corrected. Not corrected (likely still unnoticed by the author) was the wrong picture on page 170 of sipo / utile / Entandrophragma utile. Nor the picture of sapele on page 169 that is upside down (as are those of a few other woods here and there).

Identifying Wood
R. Bruce Hoadley
Accurate results with simple tools
With just the naked eye and a hand lens or elementary microscopy, you will be able to identify over 180 domestic and tropical hardwoods and softwoods by following the straightforward techniques in this book.

Bruce Hoadley, a professor of wood science and technology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, provides:
. an overview of the wood identification process
. a look at the basic anatomy of woody plants
. hundreds of easy-to-use charts and crystal-clear photographs and microphotographs
. sources of information and materials, and a glossary of all technical terms used in the book


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