Domestic and Tropical Wood Sample Kits
As of 9/2020, over 400 kits sold to individuals, schools and businesses
Learn the Wood Identification Method of Professionals
**Also see** Tropical Wood Sample Kit (see page)
**New Item** "Hardwood Identification Key " (see page)
**New Item** "Softwood Identification Key " (see page)
How often have you wondered, what wood is that?
"Rick, Wanted to tell you I'm really enjoying your wood kit I bought last month. Took a couple trys to get used to the end grain method, but now I feel much more confident identifying woods I come across. Your Primer really helped explain the method and the hardwood key was also a big help. ... Last week I showed a local dealer they had misidentified an oak board, it was coffeetree! Why doesn't everyone use this method? ... I've even added a couple new local woods to my collection. I think I've found a new hobby! Thanks. – P.S. Hoadley's book and your Tropicals Kit will be on my Xmas list. " JD in OH (8/13)
"Rick, ... You're right! I'd been trying to use a
magnifying glass I used for coins. But when I tried the 16X lens, WOW!
Now I can see the details. ... And it also works for coins!! Thanx." MO in NC (7/07)
"I just wanted to take a moment to compliment you
on the high quality and helpfulness of your wood sample kit. It is the
best investment I’ve made to date in my newfound quest to study
wood and wood anatomy. Your text is well-written and clear. I’ve
been a woodworker for quite some time and am coming to this fascination
a little late in life – but again, I have found your kit to be the
most helpful of anything aside from Bruce Hoadley’s book. It was such a pleasant surprise to receive such a complete primer; and
I was thrilled too at the quality of the hand lens [16x] you included.
Again, thank you for the time and care you’ve put in to such a quality
study guide." from artist
Mary Lake, Augusta, ME (3/5/2006)
You can answer the following questions from a small, 1" x 1" sample.
|Is that table cherry, or just yellow poplar stained to look like cherry?||Is that old barn beam white oak or red oak; or have you perhaps found a rare piece of old American chestnut?|
In order to answer questions like these, you need a bit of knowledge of how to go about identifying wood species and a set of authentic samples for comparison.
Firewood Treasures offers a practical sample kit to aid the woodworker in identifying most common native American hardwoods (and a few softwoods). This kit contains samples of 50 hardwood species plus 7 softwood examples. Included with the samples is a high quality hand lens and a starter supply of single-edged razor blades.
Sample kits costing much more and containing many fewer species are available from several reputable dealers. While these kits contain good quality, large (typically 1/2" x 3" x 6") samples of the woods, most purchasers will not use them to full advantage in learning to identify woods. Why?
End-Grain Analysis: The best way to identify most wood species, as illustrated above, is by observing the end-grain structure with a hand lens of at least 10x (16x is better). To do so, you have to cut a small section** of end grain of the sample with a razor blade. Problem is, the samples in those expensive kits look so nice and cost so much (about $2.50 each) that most of us hate to cut them up. So we rarely get the learning benefit for which the kit was purchased.
Not so with our kit. The samples it contains are intended to be cut. And while our samples vary in shape and size (generally 1/4" x 1" x 1" or larger), each contains more than enough wood for repeated trails at cutting and observing. It is a practical kit, intended to be used, not just looked at. And it comes in a box large enough for you to add some samples of your own. No artisan who works with wood directly from trees should be without a kit like this.
Included with each kit is a copy of our popular Wood Identification Primer. Old-timers may be able to identify many common woods just with the naked eye, but such skill requires many years of experience. And they can be fooled! Staining and weathering can dramatically alter the appearance of wood. Less common woods are often misidentified and mislabeled.
A more foolproof approach is end-grain analysis of a clean, razor-cut surface with a good handlens. Our Primer gives you a step-by-step introduction to preparing, categorizing, and analyzing wood samples. Identification by this method is relatively easy to learn and much less prone to error. Coupled with a good set of authentic samples for comparison, even a novice will find wood identification quick, reliable, and fun. Our new hardwood and softwood identification keys will also help you greatly.
Note: this kit would be a great start on a Boy Scout Merit Badge in Forestry, and the beginning of a lifetime skill in wood identification. Learn to do it the right way!
Domestic Hardwood Identification Sample Kit
X 5x/10x loupe*Discontinued*
Kit contains everything shown above, including
a 16x (Kit #2) loupe (hand lens shown above). Plus an
instruction guide to get you started.
RECOMMENDED: We strongly recommend this kit. The price on this magnifier is well worth the investment. You need 16x magnification to properly identify samples.
Shipping cost for 1 kit: We routinely use USPS Priority Mail (delivery estimate: 2-5 days US, 4-8 days international)
(NOTE: check your actual Paypal cart before you finally place the order. There could be a small Paypal shipping increase beyond the amounts noted here.)
International: Canada $30; UK $45; Australia $42
Note: We can also ship First Class International at a lower rate (and slower delivery). If you want that
option, order by Paypal (which will charge the higher rate), then immediately email us and we can tell
you the First Class shipping cost and, if you choose that option, we will refund the difference to you.
Notice to our International customers: It is possible that you might also be charged an additional customs or delivery fee on your end. This has happened on occasion, but the USPS has no idea why this would be the case. Nonetheless, we thought you should be aware of this possiility.
Returns Policy: Shipping charges will not be refunded on returned items
Wood Sample Kit #2 (with 16x loupe)   $62.00
If you already have a high quality loupe, then order the kit without a magnifier.
Note: a standard hand magnifying glass is not a good substitute for
a quality eye loupe.
Wood Sample Kit #0 (without magnifier)   $48.00
Add $2.00 and we'll include a sample of the Maryland
Wood Sample Kit #0w   (without magnifier)   $50.00
Wood Sample Kit #2w   (with 16x loupe)   $64.00
MG-16x     16x loupe   $20.00
Extra Razor Blades:
SRB-20    Single-Edged Razor Blades (20)   $6.00
Express and International Shipping
require additional shipping and handling costs. Contact
us for the exact amount that will need to be added to your order. To
remit the extra postage, use the links at the bottom of this page, or go
back to PayPal and use "Send Money" to email@example.com.
List of wood samples in kit:
1 ailanthus - Ailanthus altissima
2 American chestnut - Castanea dentata***
3 American elm - Ulmus americana
4 American holly - Ilex opaca
5 apple - Malus domistica
6 "aspen" (actually, white poplar) - Populus alba
7 basswood - Tilia americana
8 beech - Fagus grandifolia
9 black (red) oak - Quercus rubra
10 black ash - Fraxinus nigra
11 black cherry - Prunus serotina
12 black gum, black tupelo - Nyssa sylvatica
13 black locust - Robinia pseudoacacia
14 black walnut - Juglans nigra
15 black willow - Salix nigra
16 butternut - Juglans cinerea
17 catalpa, southern - Catalpa speciosa
18 chestnut oak - Quercus prinus
19 cucumber magnolia - Magnolia acuminata
20 dogwood - Cornus florida
21 English walnut - Juglans regia
22 hackberry - Celtis occidentalis
23 hawthorn - Crataegus douglasii
24 hickory, shagbark - Carya ovata
25 hophornbeam (eastern) - Ostrya virginiana
26 Kentucky coffeetree - Gymnocladus dioicus
27 magnolia - Magnolia grandifolia
28 maple - Acer spp
29 mesquite - Prosopis juliflora (glandulosa)
30 mulberry, red - Morus rubra
31 osage-orange - Maclura pomifera
32 pear - Pyrus spp.
33 pecan - Carya illinoensis
34 persimmon - Diospyros virginiana
35 plum - Prunus
36 princess tree - Paulownia tomentosa
37 sap (red, sweet) gum - Liquidambar styraciflua
38 sassafras - Sassafras albidum
39 silver maple - Acer saccharinum
40 slippery elm - Ulmus rubra
41 staghorn sumac - Rhus typhina
42 sugar/hard maple - Acer saccharum
43 sycamore - Platanus occidentalis
44 white ash - Fraxinus americana
45 white birch - Betula papyrifera
46 white oak - Quercus alba
47 white willow - Salix spp.
48 yellow birch - Betula alleghaniensis
49 yellow poplar - Liriodendron tulipifera
50 zelkova - Zelkova serrata
51 Douglas fir - Pseudotsuga menziesii
52 eastern hemlock - Tsuga canadensis
53 larch - Larix sp.
54 Norway spruce - Picea abies
55 white cedar - Chamaecyparis thyoides
56 white pine - Pinus stroba
57 yellow pine - Pinus echinata
NOTE: When you receive your kit, each sample will be numbered, but in case you want to try your hand at identifying the samples first, the sample numbers will not correspond to those listed above. Included with your kit will be a second list, the key, in a sealed envelop.
For those who want detailed information on how to identify wood samples,
we strongly recommend that you consider purchasing R. Bruce Hoadley's Identifying
Wood, available on line from amazon.com. Our new hardwood and softwood
identification keys will also help you greatly.
And we encourage you to explore www.hobbithouseinc.com/personal/woodpics. It has an incredible number of detailed end-grain analysis pictures. Unfortunately they're sanded, not razor cut, but these plus authentic samples will greatly aid you in identification.
* Note: new kits contain a chestnut oak (Castanea dentata)
sample, which replaces peach (temporarily unavailable) in earlier kits.
** Here's a hint on cutting samples for observation.
***For kits ordered in 2007-2010, this sample was Japanese chestnut (Castanea mollissima), inadvertently noted as American chestnut and now included in the Baker's Dozen #2 supplementary set.
Extra Shipping (Do not click on the following links unless we instruct you by email to do so. When given the extra amount by email, use the appropriate button(s) below, changing the quantities as needed in your Paypal shopping cart.)
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Rick Smith is a member of the International Wood Collecting Society