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Wood identification - Taste

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Wood identification - Taste

Postby Mark Wybierala » Thu Sep 19, 2019 2:02 pm

Again,... i'm confused. I may be even posted this before for a different reason. I like the folks at my local mill and I'd like to trust them. I bought what they told me was mahogany. Its that typical reddish light brown and I know that the same species can be lighter or darker with a lot of variation. The wood I have is not as open grained as I'm used to. But a few years ago I purchased some what I was told was Spanish cedar. When I put it on my table saw, the dust gave me a very foul taste - bitter and yucky. I'm getting that same taste from this "mahogany" that I'm using. So many species lately that look a bit like mahogany but aren't. Anyone ever get this bad taste from mahogany.
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Re: Wood identification - Taste

Postby Aaron Helt » Thu Sep 19, 2019 3:22 pm

I’m no help with this. Every wood tastes terrible to me.
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Re: Wood identification - Taste

Postby Bob Gramann » Thu Sep 19, 2019 4:37 pm

Perhaps how it feels when you chew might be a more reliable indicator? Other than that, may be you scratch some known mahogany and taste it? As much as I liked to work it, I had to ban Spanish Cedar from my workshop. It made my nose run so badly, I couldn’t be near it.
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Re: Wood identification - Taste

Postby Chuck Tweedy » Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:12 am

Spanish cedar has a very strong cedar aroma (along with the bitter taste).
If it didn't smell like cedar, then is may just be another bad-tasting mahogany look-alike.
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Re: Wood identification - Taste

Postby Clay Schaeffer » Fri Sep 20, 2019 3:55 pm

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Re: Wood identification - Taste

Postby John Clifford » Fri Sep 20, 2019 9:15 pm

I would generally avoid buying wood that is just labeled "mahogany." What that tells you is the seller doesn't know what kind of wood it is. Usually it's so-called "African Mahogany" (Khaya), but it could be just about any sort of brownish wood.
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Re: Wood identification - Taste

Postby Jo Dusepo » Sun Nov 03, 2019 11:46 am

It's very unlikely to be real mahogany. All true mahoganies are endangered species so very expensive and often reclaimed, if available at all.

Khaya, Meranti, Sapele and various other species are commonly sold as 'mahogany' but are unrelated.

I've no idea what any of those taste like, since I've never eaten any! I could tell you what each smells like though...
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Re: Wood identification - Taste

Postby Mark Wybierala » Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:13 am

I was working with it again last night on the bandsaw. It certainly isn't mahogany and the taste in the air is enough the make you gag. There is no cedar smell. But is works well, isn't damaging my blades, and blanks that I cut for sections of neck 3 months ago are still true. I usually reserve a dust mask for sanding but this stuff is so offensive that I'm going to become a bit better at protecting my lungs. I'm not at all exaggerating about the taste in the air. Its bitter to the point of nearly turning your stomach.
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Re: Wood identification - Taste

Postby Bob Francis » Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:27 pm

Just don't taste anything! For some weird reason I did that with something and had a BAD reaction.
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Re: Wood identification - Taste

Postby Peter Wilcox » Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:11 pm

From comments on the wood database:

Does anyone know what kind of wood literally smells like a dirty diaper? My husband bought me a small wooden bowl from Amazon and I should have returned it. I used paint stripper to remove the lacquer finish, soaked it in vinegar, baking soda (twice each) and left it in the sun for days. It still stinks. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


Many years ago the company I work for had some helicopters shipped back from Brazil. The crates were made of mahogany and smelled like dog poo! It was fresh cut and untreated and we couldn’t get it out of the building fast enough. The woodworkers in the crowd were glad to take it.


That is the textbook written smell of E. Coli. Bacteria
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Re: Wood identification - Taste

Postby Clay Schaeffer » Sun Nov 10, 2019 12:59 pm

Some interesting reading about Spanish Cedar - it mentions that until it is thoroughly dried it has a disagreeable odor, rather than the more pleasant smell we associate with it.

https://books.google.com/books?id=gDk_A ... la&f=false
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