Bob Evans would be grateful if anyone could identify this wood found as part of the restoration work on the Newport Transporter Bridge. 

20170321 110015 576x1024The wood appears to be a tropical hardwood and would normally be described as "Mahogany". This is a generic description and it would be really helpful tob e able to establish whether it has an African origin (as did the bulk of timber used in mahogany furniture in the 19th Century) or whether it has an East Asian or even South American origin.  Having previously worked on a project where  19th Century oak doors turned out to be a varietyof teak, I am well aware of the dififculties of identification.....

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One of the interesting products of the work to restore the Newport Transporter bridge is the variety of wood which was used in its construction and in building the surrounding wharves. The river has offered up mahogany, elm and even a wall made of billets of Lignum Vitae. 


#1 AndyT 2017-03-24 14:57
Thinking about the context, my first thought was Greenheart, as it is the timber of choice for piers, jetties and similar watery uses. Looking at pictures on the excellent Hobbit House website - I found that Ipe is a similar looking timber, also used in large sections where a very durable timber is needed. Some of the photos there look quite close to your sample, but I'm not a timber taxonomist and this is only guesswork.
#2 John Weston 2017-05-11 04:51
A good candidate would be Australian Karri. The end grain pore clusters look right and Karri has been used around the world in the construction of bridges, piers and wharves. It would help if I could examine the balk pictured. Perhaps Bob would let me know if it is possible for me to call over one day.
#3 Ted Cole 2017-06-11 14:38
I'm gonna plump for it being Jarrah.
#4 John Weston 2017-06-11 17:15
Yes, I think Ted is right. Jarrah is probably a better bet than Karri. I wonder if the sample dates from the building of the bridge (1906 I think). Both timbers were enjoying an export boom in the early 1900s.
#5 Ted Cole 2017-06-11 20:55
I know that an awful lot of the railway sleepers throughout the British Isles were of Jarrah. ..

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