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NOTE: there is rarely any "standard" or "typical" look for a wood so take what's in this table with a grain of salt
the REST of the pictures on this page will give you a better overall feel for this wood

CHESTNUT (and chinkapin)
Castanea spp. and Castanopsis spp.


3" x 3" flat cut, 3" x 3" quartersawn, 3/4" wide end grain, and a 1/4" x 1/4" end grain closeup.

Ring porous with large earlywood pores in a line 2 to 4 pores thick, dropping off to dendritic groups of small pores throughout the latewood (chinkapin has V shaped groups; see below). Rays are present but generally hard to see even at 10X. Sometimes at 10X you can see diffuse-in-aggregates parenchyma in the latewood



Chestnut and chinkapin are often lumped together and sold as one or the other (usually chestnut) and they have pretty much identical characteristics and appearances and so I lump them together on this page. There are two genera involved and those CAN be distinguished if you cut or fine-sand the end grain, you'll see that while they are both ring porous, and both have dendritic groups of latewood pores, the Castanea species (whether called chestnut or chinkapin) have a solid line of somewhat sparse and large earlywood pores while the Castanopsis species have a very sparse line of earlywood pores, each of which expands in a V-shaped dendritic group of latewood pores. Some of the Castanopsis species are ALSO called by both names, but there are several Castanopsis's that are only called chinkapin.


chinkapin / Castanopsis spp. with a single row of sparsely spaced earlywood pores and V-shaped dendritic groups and then chestnut / Castanea spp. with relatively plentiful earlywood pores several rows thick and a more normal dendritic pore distribution.

my samples:
NOTE: these pics were all taken in very bright incandescent lighting ("soft white" at 2700K)
colors will vary under other lighting conditions


both sides of a sample plank of American chestnut / Castanea dentata --- 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 American chestnut / Castanea dentata --- 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 reclaimed American chestnut / Castanea dentata --- HUGE enlargements are present.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


first face and the end grain of a sample of chestnut / Castanea dentata. This part of a collection which is discussed here: COLLECTION B


the second face, before and after slicing off 1/8" showing how the patina from aging is only surface deep.


end grain closeup and END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above.


both sides of a sample plank of chinkapin / Castanopsis chrysophylla --- 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 chinkapin / Castanopsis chrysophylla --- 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


first face and the end grain of a sample listed as just chinkapin but it is clearly Castanea spp. (chestnut), not Castanopsis spp. (chinkapin) because of the end grain characteristics. This part of a collection which is discussed here: COLLECTION B


the second face, before and after slicing off 1/8" showing how the patina from aging is only surface deep.


end grain closeup and END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above.


both sides of a sample plank of American chestnut / Castanea dentata --- the crappy quality of this wood sample was fairly common in samples I obtained from the IWCS.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of European chestnut / Castanea sativa --- 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


two planks and a closeup.


the other sides of the two planks above, and a closeup.


both sides of a small plank cut from one of the larger ones above. NOTE: both faces and the end grain update pics have too much yellow. The end grain and end grain closeup show the correct color.


end grain and end grain closeup of the plank directly above --- pics have just a shade too much green in them


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


plank and closeup --- this was at a woodworking store and just labeled chestnut, but I'm sure it is wormy American chestnut --- very large enlargements are present


plank and end grain


end grain closeup of the piece directly above, although I see I got it upside down


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


sample plank and end grain listed as Spanish chestnut / Castanea sativa


end grain closeup of the piece directly above




both sides of a sample plank of Chinese chestnut / Castanea mollissima. NOTE: the color on this set of pics is too dull due to a problem with color correction and a loss of the original images. There should be a noticeable light red/orange tint.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Chinese chestnut / Castanea mollissima --- 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 Chinese chestnut / Castanea mollissima --- 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 Chinese chestnut / Castanea mollissima --- 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 Chinese chestnut / Castanea mollissima --- 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 Japanese chestnut / Castanea crenata --- 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 sweet chestnut / Castanea sativa --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by Mark Peet whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. NOTE: the vendor of this piece had it as "Castanea glabra" but that is a non-existent name and Mark stated, without explanation, that I should replace it with Castanea sativa.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


wormy chestnut veneer --- this is a particularly fragile veneer. I don't know whether that's true in general or just of the lot I bought, but this a lot of this stuff just falls apart in your hands.


burl veneer


burl veneer


This chestnut burl veneer sheet was loaned to me by John Koehn whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.




The pics in this section are "mine" only in that they were taken specifically for me by Ruth Ryan, whom I thank profusely for having taken the time to do this and also for her excellent photography, because of which HUGE enlargements are present for all of the pics in this section. These were sold to Ruth as giant chinkapin / Chrysolepis chrysophylla (which is a synonym for Castanopsis chrysophylla) and I have no reason to question that identification. The occasional white streak is likely white rot, not spalting, since chestnut gets black-line spalting.


a set of planks, moistened but with tenons on each end that are dry, and a single plank moistened.


the following sets are all dry/wet of the same pieces:










misc giant chinkapin planks shown both dry and wet. Don't know what Ruth used to moisten these but the color seem a bit too rich on a couple of them ( that next to last one in particular).

end of the giant chinkapin section


The Wood Book pics


flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
chestnut (Castanea dentata) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for all 3 views


flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
California chinqepin (Castanea chrysophylla, also listed as evergreen chestnut) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for all 3 views


flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
chinkepin (Castanea pumila) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for all 3 views

web pics:


end grain


log end listed as American chestnut --- both levels of enlargement are present


plank with wet and dry sections


beam listed as American chestnut


slabs, all from the same vendor


slabs


wormy planks


wormy plank with a color that is just a hoot --- even for the internet, this sets a new level of ridiculousness


wormy bowl blanks


wormy scales


clear planks


planks


reclaimed planks


plank and closeup


plank specifically listed as American chestnut



both sides and a closeup of two American chestnut planks --- interesting how all 3 pics have sigfificantly different colors


planks listed as chestnut or sweet chestnut but in all cases as Castanea sativa


planks listed as sweet chestnut


curly plank


fiddleback chestnut pic sent to me by Dana Nishimura. When I got it, the pic was solid yellow-green so I changed the color to be more like what I think the wood probably is but I cannot attest to the color-correctness of this pic.


crotch


chestnut listed as "chinkapin" --- both sides of a plank and a closeup


chestnut listed as "chinkapin" --- both sides of a plank and a closeup


chestnut listed as "chinkapin" --- both sides of a plank and a closeup


chestnut listed as "chinkapin" planks


"chinkapin" planks from the BogusColorVendor so I have no confidence in the color


listed as "golden" chinkapin


American chestnut burl pieces, moistened for the pics


veneer


veneer sheets and closeup --- these are from a vendor whose pics make many woods look green regardless of the actual color of the wood, so the green color is highly unlikely


fiddleback veneer --- I've never encountered fiddleback chestnut myself and this is the only pic I've ever run across


wormy chestnut veneer


wormy European chestnut veneer, all from the same vendor


wormy chestnut veneer --- my wormy chestnut samples above are from the lot that these pictures were taken of and as you can see, the vendors pics shown here are WAY off in color (mine are corrected and accurate)


burl veneer


burl veneer from a vendors whose pics make many woods look green regardless of the true color --- the actual wood is certainly more tan than green, although it could well have a noticible green tinge


listed as "flamed" burl veneer


american chestnut


american chestnut reclaimed planks --- very old which probably accounts for the deep brown color


American wormy chestnut --- 3 views of the same board


more American wormy chestnut planks


wormy chestnut planks and closeup; the closeup has both levels of enlargement and shows the grain very clearly


flooring made from reclaimed chestnut planks


wormy chestnut pen blanks --- yellow/orange color is very unlikely


european chestnut planks


planks listed as European chestnut / Castanea sativa


European chestnut veneer


European chestnut veneer, all from the same vendor


European chestnut veneer sheet closeups with both levels of enlargement. These are all from the same vendor as the lot directly above


curly English chestnut veneer, including two bookmatched pairs. These are presumably Castanea dentata


veneer listed as wormy chestnut / Castanea dentata


two views of a big block of spalted chestnut. The listing said "sweet" chestnut. Personally, I've never eaten any chestnut trees, so I couldn't tell you whether this is really sweet or not.


veneer listed as sweet chestnut


spalted


a batch of spalted chestnut turning sticks. The listing said "sweet" chestnut.


scales


American chestnut scales, moistened for the pic


pen blanks


wormy chestnut pen blanks


flooring


wormy barn wood


bowl listed as just chestnut and a vase listed as American chestnut