WOOD ID POSTER:
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240 woods on a poster (24"x36")


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MULBERRY

Morus spp.

In the USA, mulberry is generally Morus citrifolia of the family Moraceae but there are several others including:

M. alba = white mulberry, weeping mulberry
M. bombycis/bombysis = Korean mulberry, Japanese mulberry
M. intermedia = white mulberry
M. lactea = African mulberry
M. macroura = Asian mulberry, yellow mulberry
M. mesozygia = African mulberry
M. microphylla = littleleaf mulberry, Texas mulberry, mountain mulberry, Mexican mulberry
M. nigra = black mulberry, English mulberry
M. notabilis = Chinese mulberry
M. rubra = red mulberry, black mulberry, silkworm mulberry
M. serrata = mulberry (an Asian variety)

A medium density hardwood with a closed, straight grain. Color is a bright yellow sapwood with a light tan heart wood. Color tends to turn brown with exposure to sunlight --- see the bowl example near the bottom of this page. To the uninitiated, this wood can be confused with osage orange, but differences in the wood structure are trivially easy to spot, most particularly in the end grain. The late growth in mulberry is full of open pores, much like ash, whereas the late growth in osage orange is solid. Also, the rays and general structure are different but that's harder to detect. See the end grain closeups of both on this site. Another thing that makes them very easy to distinguish is that mulberry is about 40 pounds per cubic foot where as osage orange is about 55.



my samples:


both sides of a sample plank of red mulberry / Morus rubra --- 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 quartersawn red mulberry / Morus rubra --- 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 quartersawn red mulberry / Morus rubra --- 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 that this piece is NOT acutally true quartersawn, it is quarterCUT and would more properly be called rift sawn not quartersawn.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of white mulberry / Morus alba


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above --- the pores have been filled in with fine dust but the fine-grain detail is much more clear


both sides of a sample plank of white mulberry / Morus alba --- 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 white mulberry / Morus alba --- 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


plank and end grain --- plank contributed by Chris Arvidson, whom I thank for this and other contributions. The end grain shot makes this look remarkably like a color-faded osage orange, but the plank up close and in person doesn't really look all that much like osage orange.


same plank as directly above but moistened with water



both sides and both ends of a sample piece


end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above --- NOTE: this was taken 8 years after the original and the wood has turned substantially more brown even though it's been tucked away in a cardboard box all that time.


both sides of a sample plank listed as mulberry / Morus spp. --- the darker color of the 2nd pic is due to poor color correction; the pic on the left has accurate color. There is some black-line spalting in the sapwood.


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


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


another mulberry block and an end grain closeup which is a little too green


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above --- in addition to the natural darkening due to the update process, the piece has darkened somewhat, as mulberry does, from green to more brown. This pinkish tint is weird but it really is there in the wood


small sticks and end grain closeups


HIGH GRIT END GRAIN CLOSEUP of the piece directly above --- in addition to the color being darker because of the fine sanding, this piece is now quite a bit older than it was above and it has begun the process of turning brown.


plank and end grain --- the color of this plank in a strong light is a brighter yellow than I have been able to reproduce here. It's almost as bright as osage orange.


end grain closeup of the piece directly above.


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


mulberry bowl blank; this is the larger of the three pieces directly above --- color is a shade too orange; should be more yellow, no orange


closeup of the flat cut face of the bowl blank directly above but cleaned up and sanded --- color is a shade too orange; should be more yellow, no orange


closeup of the quartersawn face of the bowl blank directly above --- color is a shade too orange; should be more yellow, no orange


end grain closeup of the bowl blank directly above --- color is a shade too orange; should be more yellow, no orange


two planks and a closeup --- these and the set directly below are all from the same lot and they were sold to me as osage orange by a vendor whom I currently assume to be merely ignorant, not dishonest. If you're not experienced, they can be a little hard to tell apart, although with any experience at all it is trivially easy to do so.

Note that in both sets, the upper plank has some nice ray flakes, best seen in the closeup since the distance pic is just a tad out of focus and the enlargements do not show the sharp detail that they should.


two planks and a closeup


these are the web pics of the "osage orange" that I bought (shown directly above) --- the closeup is way too washed out and the distance pic is a little washed out --- my pics colors are accurate


both sides of a rough plank


closeups of the plank directly above


small piece with a coat of lindseed oil ... pic provided by Iain Rankin, whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain closeup sent to me by Miles Hember, whom I thank for this and other contributions


a face plate that Miles made from mulberry --- he hasn't decided yet whether the light will be permanently on or permanently off, but since he neglected to put in a hole for the switch, it will have to be one or the other. :-)


white mulberry plank


pair of white mulberry planks and closeup


white mulberry plank and end grain --- this was cut from one of the larger planks above and the washed-out color of the face grain is correct; the piece has been fine sanded and reflects the light in a way that makes it appear less yellow than it did before sanding.


end grain closeup of the piece directly above


white mulberry slab


closeup of the slab directly above --- lots of cracks in this but marvelous grain. Lighter color of closeup is due to bright light up close.


smaller section of the slab above, sanded down for the pic, and an end grain shot.


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


white mulberry plank and closeup


The Wood Book pics


flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
red mulberry (Morus rubra) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for all 3 views


flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
white mulberry (Morus alba) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for all 3 views

Clear, for both of these pieces, it's a case of the wood darkening with age and although I can't say for sure, I think it likely that the purple tint is an effect of the photography, not a true wood color.



web pics:


planks --- the 2nd one is 8 feet long and was listed as European mulberry


log cross section --- this has been moistened for the pic --- you can see dry (and much lighter) areas at the upper and lower edges


flat cut, quartersawn, and end grain


slab just listed as mulberry


planks


both sides of a plank (I think these were shot in different lights)


plank with very accurate color


set of mulberry planks --- pic on left is wet, on right is the other side dry


planks and a closeup, all listed as European mulberry / Morus nigra


both sides of a set of small planks


slab moistened for the pic


turning blocks


turning blocks with cluster burls


turning blanks with a brilliant color that is not believable as a raw wood color for this species ... either the pics have been doctored or possibly the wood is moistened with mineral spirits


turning stock, all from the same vendor and listed as mulberry / Morus nigra


several views of a couple of pieces with a crotch area at one end


pen blanks


red mulberry plank and 3 closeups


pen blanks, all listed as American red mulberry


red mulberry scales


three views of a piece of red mulberry


red mulberry, bookmatched planks with bark


turning stock listed as red mulberry --- I suspect the orange color is incorrect although possibly it is an effect of waxing


turning stock listed as red mulberry / Morus rubra


turning stock and end grain, just listed as mulberry


mulberry bowl blank


two pices of red mulbery from the same branch but the one on the left was exposed for about 30 years and the one on the right is freshly cut. Pics submitted by Iain Rankin, whom I thank. Great example of how this wood will darken with long exposure to UV.


listed as white mulberry --- I bought this and as you will see in my pics of it, the color is not as dark as shown here --- this is probably moistened for the pic


listed as white mulberry --- I bought this and as you will see in my pics of it, this pic is a little too orange


planks listed as Bulgarian mulberry, Morus nigra (black mulberry)


listed as carpathian mulberry burl


bookmatched pair listed as mulberry burl, but it should have said CLUSTER burl, not full burl





planks from the BogusColorVendor so I don't have a clue whether the color is anything like the real wood, but I would guess not, considering both the source and how ridiculous it looks.


turned mulberry items by artist Melissa Bishop (bowl, paperweight, vase)


bowls


potpourri bowl


bowl listed as mulberry / Morus citrifolia


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


bowl with color that does not appear real --- it's just TOO neon yellow


bowl listed as Russian mulberry


plate


turning with unusually rich color


one of my segmented bowls shown just after a UV-blocking finish was applied (11 thin coats) and then again after it had been sitting on a shelf for about a year, with only mild indirect sunlight hitting it. Although I couldn't quite get the color adjustments to match between the two pics, the darkening of both the mulberry and the bocote is pretty accurate.