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HOPHORNBEAM

Ostrya virginiana

Ostrya virginiana of the family Betulaceae. There are at least 6 or 7 other Ostrya species that also have hophornbeam as a part of one their common names, but Ostrya virginiana is the only one that uses the name hophornbeam all by itself. Ostrya virginiana is also known as hardhack, American hophornbeam, Eastern hophornbeam, Virginia hophornbeam, and leverwood among others.

Like its close relative hornbeam, this wood is very hard and tough (supposedly this one is a bit more so than hornbeam) and in addition to the names listed above, it is also (like hornbeam) known as ironwood in the USA. Ironwood is one of the most useless common names in existance in terms of actually identifying a wood --- I have what I'm sure is an incomplete list and it shows 180+ different species that have ironwood as one of their common names.

Anyway, hophornbeam IS very hard and is rarely used for items such as furniture because it's difficult to work. It is used a lot for things like tool handles and mallets where its strength and hardness are virtures.



my samples:


both sides of a sample plank of Eastern hophornbeam


end grain and end grain closeup of the sample plank directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Eastern hophornbeam / Ostrya virginiana --- HUGE enlargements are present


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Eastern hophornbeam / Ostrya virginiana --- 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 Eastern hophornbeam / Ostrya virginiana --- 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


both sides of a sample plank of Knowlton hophornbeam / Ostrya knowltonii --- 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


set of planks with heartwood and sapwood


closeup of the planks directly above


crotch section of one of the planks above showing a small section of "angel step" figure


set of planks with heartwood and sapwood


closeup of the planks directly above


small plank, cut from one of the larger ones above and sanded for the pic, and an end grain shot. The color is very accurate. I don't recall whether the lowering of the red tint in these pics comparted to the ones above is because I left too much red in the ones above or because the sanding took of a slight veneer that contained some red tint. Probaly it was an error in my color correction on the ones above.


end grain closeup and END GRAIN UPDATE of the piece directly above --- despite the obvious scratches on the left side, the update shows the fine grain detail quite nicely so I'm not going to redo it


both sides and end grain of a plank contributed by Chris Arvidson, whom I thank for this and other contributions. I mistakenly thought that Chris had called this "desert ironwood" so had it on that page for a while with a note that I didn't think that's what it was and then recently I did an end grain update and that showed me it was hophornbeam and I checked with Chris and sure enough, he had told me in the first place that it was hophornbeam.


same plank as directly above but moistened with water. I had left this just sitting out in my house for about two weeks after sanding it and taking the dry pics. When I picked up the piece to moisten it for the new pics, I noticed, and you can seen this pretty well in the end grain enlargements, that it had cupped quite noticeably.


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


The Wood Book pics


flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for all 3 views



web pics:


log sections that have been moistened for the pics


planks and a closeup


plank


plank from a vendor whos pics I know to frequently be far more red than the wood itself and I'm sure that's the case here.


slab listed as hophornbeam root stock (and moistened for the pic)


Eastern hophornbeam


Eastern hophornbeam turning stock end grain


two views of a set of bowl blanks


two views of a bowl blank