Historical Question

Well in advance of my kayak build, I decided to make use of an interesting sample of wood given me by a friend, who once owned a woodworking factory. I turned two carring toggles on my lathe. Talk about starting at the end!

Now the interesting part: Bonnie claims that the sample was salvaged from one of the U.S.S. Constitution refits! She said it was teak, and while it has the weight, density, and tool-murdering properties of teak, but the color really looks like rosewood to me. I can't think of where rosewood might have been used in the ship, except perhaps for some kind of fancywork in the Cabin.  Does any  variety of teak have a reddish color?

I  hope its authentic, because it would be really exciting to have a bit of Old Ironsides in my kayak!

6 replies:

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RE: Historical Question

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RE: Historical Question

I have teak with a reddish color sitting in my garage right now.  It usually turns a bit darker brown as it ages or gets exposure to sun, but it's definitely got a red/orange tone to it. 


RE: Historical Question

I'm not sure how much of the wood you have, but I wonder if, with a good scale, you could calculate the density accurately enough to get some idea?

Rosewood should have a greater mass per unit volume than teak, around: 750 to 900 kg/m^3,

teak is around: 630-720 kg/m^3

At least according to the interwebs.



RE: Historical Question

Ogata, I suspect you'll find that varies greatly from species to species and I think there is even some overlap between certain species of rosewood and certain species of teak.  I may be wrong about that, but I know the teak I have is very close to the rosewood I've used as far as density.


RE: Historical Question

I brought the sample to a local store that sells many varieties of tropical hardwoods. They all agreed that it is not teak. The consensus was divided between Indian Rosewood and Cocobolo. It visually compared the best to thier Cocobolo, but they said they'd never seen a sample with such tight, straight grain, which suggests to me that the sample is very old.

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