WOOD ID POSTER:
co-created by, and sponsored by, HobbitHouse


240 woods on a poster (24"x36")


www.woodposter.com

open main page here



CATALPA

Catalpa spp.

Catalpa spp. of the family Bignoniaceae. Includes at least Catalpa bignonioides and Catalpa speciosa and that is for the species in the USA. Worldwide, there are numerous other Catalpa species.



my samples: --- colors are accurate throughout





both sides and both ends of a sample piece --- the color in these pics is slightly more yellow/green than the wood, which is a light tan with a tiny hint of red


end grain closeup and END GRAIN UPDATE of the piece directly above


sample plank and end grain listed as Southern catalpa / Catalpa bignonioides


end grain closeup of the piece direct above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


sample plank and end grain listed as Northern catalpa / Catalpa speciosa


end grain closeup and END GRAIN UPDATE of the piece directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Northern catalpa / Catalpa speciosa --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Northern catalpa / Catalpa speciosa --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Haitian catalpa / Catalpa longissima --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.

NOTE: although this sample vendor is reliable, I find it hard to believe that this is actually of the genus Catalpa because it has no strong grain lines and the end grain update shows clearly that it is not strongly ring porous the way all the other catalpa on this page are, including all the web images down below, particularly the turned objects at the bottom of the page, all of which are clearly strongly ring porous. Also, on this sample, the rays are much stronger than on all other catalpa. I asked him about this and he tells me he personally cut this piece from a tree that was salvaged from wind damage at a botanical garden and it was labeled, so he is confident that it was a catalpa tree. The sample directly below has the same issues and since he presents that sample as a different species (although, from the same botanical garden recovery), it must have come from a different tree. I don't know what to make of all this so I have left these two samples here on the catalpa page but I will not use the end grain updates in my article on wood identification through anatomy unless I find further evidence that some catalpa is not strongly ring porous. Possibly these two species ARE significantly different than the rest.

Later note: The LUNA website of microscopic wood anatomy at the North Carolina State University DOES seem to confirm (it's not definitive) that this species is in fact not strongly ring porous AND has stronger rays than other catalpa's, SO ... apparently this IS catalpa despite my initial reservations.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above. I note that the growth rings are very thin and vague compared to all the other catalpa samples I have.


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of catalpa / Catalpa punctata --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. See the notes with the previous sample, which is from the same vendor. This species is not on the NSCU site so I couldn't confirm it even partially as I did with the one above, but given the information on the one above, I'm now much less doubtful about this being catalpa.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


turning stock --- end grain is sealed with Anchorseal, but the enlargements do a good job of showing the grain. Color is very accurate


turning stock and end grain closeup --- this is the smaller of the two pieces directly above but cleaned up and sanded




This section has pieces all from the same tree.


This is the batch. This pic has a bit too much yellow and all of the following pics should have a bit MORE yellow.


I was using a not-very-sharp saw to cut these and you can see how readily the end grain is crushed on this very light and grainy wood.


face grain shots


two surfaces of one of the pieces


side grain shot of a piece from right at the outside of the tree showing the transition from heartwood to sapwood to bark


face and side of a particularly swirly piece.


three surfaces of the piece directly above


side grain shots of several pieces


face grain closeups


end grain closeups --- the pores would be much more prominent if I had used a razor-cut instead of sanding these surfaces.


END GRAIN UPDATE from one of the pieces above


The Wood Book pics


flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
catalpa (Catalpa bignonioides, aka bean tree and cigar tree) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for all 3 views

Seems to be another case where the wood samples that these images were take from had darkened quite a bit over time and I don't know for sure but I'd guess that the purple color is more an effect of the photography than it is true wood color.



web pics:


slabs


planks


turning square and closeup


bowl blanks and end grain


bowl blanks and end grain


curly catalpa bowl blanks


pen blanks made from crotch wood


bowl turning blank


Northern catalpa bowl blank


turning stock from a moderately dishonest vendor who makes all of her wood pics far more red than the wood really is.


interesting crotch area --- this is where a branch was cut off or broke off and then smaller branches grew out in and around the area. These pics were contributed by William Bachtel whom I thank.


table top with really beautiful grained catalpa


slab bench and closeup


bowls


catalpa bowls turned and photographed by Tom Pleatman, whom I thank for these pics and other contributions to the site. Big enlargements are present.


shaped bowl with highly unlikely color


platter


mug (with a maple handle)