Glens Falls (NY) Online Book Discussion Group discussion

Topics Other Than Bks-Pics-TV. > An easy site for sharing photos temporarily: "Temporary Image Storage" (TIS) (See link.)

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message 1: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Feb 02, 2012 10:09AM) (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 15423 comments Here's an easy way to post a photo online for temporary viewing. The site is called: "Temporary Image Storage" (TIS)

I found the link at a newsgroup. Below is what it said:
"For those who can't be bothered faffing about with drop box when all you want to do is quickly share a photo online then try this service.
Dead easy: Go to
Click on "Upload new photo select a file on your pc and it will upload and then tell what the url link is. The photo will be available for a period you specify from 2 minutes to 28 days and will then be deleted."

At the site, it says:
Temporary Image Storage (TIS) is exactly what name says. You can upload image that becomes available to anyone who knows image key. Key is told to you after image is uploaded. There is no public listing of images uploaded.

Uploaded images will automatically expire after desired time from 1 minute to 28 days. After that image can't be accessed anymore throught this site.

A maximum of 5 files can be uploaded per day per computer.

I tried it. Below is the link to the pic I uploaded:

message 2: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 5417 comments Neat idea, Joy. Thanks for sharing it.

message 3: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Feb 02, 2012 12:00PM) (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 15423 comments You're welcome, Jim.
Say, I see you changed your profile pic. I miss the old one, but it's nice to see pretty Lily.

My mother's name was Lilly. Here's a pic of my mom which I just uploaded to TIS:
The pic was taken in the early 1960s. My mom was around 62 years old then.

message 4: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 5417 comments That's a cool end table next to her, Joy.

I've had the same profile picture for the 4 years I've been on GR. Seemed like time for a change. Now, instead of the hat, folks can see my bald spot thinning hair.

message 5: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Feb 02, 2012 05:39PM) (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 15423 comments Jim wrote: "... Now, instead of the hat, folks can see my bald spot thinning hair. ;-) "

Jim, I never noticed. Honest!

As for the table, it was my mom's teak table. I'm so glad I happend to have a photo of it. My sister has it now. When I toured Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, I saw a similar table and snapped the pic at the following link:
It's more decorative but seems to be of the same type.

You might appreciate the following as well:

Below is a marquetry table my mom had:
(NOTE: The above pics of the table are the same pic from my computer but you can see that the TIS pic comes out too large for the screen.)

Here's the same table close up:
(Couldn't use TIS because I had reached my quota for the day.)

Here's the chair which goes with the table:
(NOTE: Both the above are the same pic of the chair, but you can see that the TIS version is again too large for the screen.)

So now we know a disadvantage of TIS as opposed to PictureTrail.
Besides, PictureTrail will give you thumbnails:

Free Image Hosting at

Free Image Hosting at

Free Image Hosting at

Interesting differences in the picture websites!

I have these same pics in a Picasa album, but Picasa allows the viewer to browse the entire album after the viewer accesses the selected pics. So privacy is lost. You can see how that works if you look at the Yaddo pic again. (Click on the title above the Yaddo pic at the Picasa web page and you will be able to see the entire album.)

message 6: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 5417 comments I thought they looked familiar & pretty. I've seen them in your Picassa album. Teak is so expensive that I've never worked with it much. 20 years ago it was running $8/board foot & then you got random lengths & widths usually only ranging up to 4" wide & 6' long.

I try to work only with local woods, anyway. Not only are they just as pretty & less expensive, but I know the economy they come from & don't promote clear cutting the rain forests or anything.

message 7: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 15423 comments I had a vague feeling you had seen them before.

About teak, I went to Wiki just now, out of curiosity. I found the following about "over-maintaining" teak on boats:
"Teak is used extensively in boat decks, as it is extremely durable and requires very little maintenance. The teak tends to wear in to the softer 'summer' growth bands first, forming a natural 'non-slip' surface. Any sanding is therefore only damaging. Use of modern cleaning compounds, oils or preservatives will shorten the life of the teak, as it contains natural teak-oil a very small distance below the white surface. Wooden boat experts will only wash the teak with salt water, and re-caulk when needed. This cleans the deck, and prevents it from drying out and the wood shrinking. The salt helps it absorb and retain moisture, and prevents any mildew and algal growth. People with poor knowledge often over-maintain the teak, and drastically shorten its life."
I wonder if my son, the sailor knows that. Probably.

message 8: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 5417 comments I'm not sure that Wikipedia entry is completely correct. The 'summer' growth band bothers me. It may be right, but it is misleading or unclear. Trees grow pretty much all year, but during low water or cold periods, they grow much slower & create smaller cells, a denser grain. That's what gives growth rings, often mistakenly called annual rings, in our local trees. Tropical trees often don't have them if they have fairly constant temperature & water.

Teak grows best in pretty tropical climates with a minimum of 50" of rain per year. Maybe the summer is when they get most of their rain, I don't know. I do know that on woods like oak, which is similar in grain, the softer bands are usually formed in the spring when the tree grows very fast. They tighten up as the dry summer comes along (you can often see a slight widening if it is a warm, wet fall) & trend to very dense winter cells.

Teak does have a natural oil in it & shouldn't be painted any more than cedar. The natural oils will just push most finishes off. But it will turn gray if it isn't kept clean, just like barn siding or fence boards. That's just the nature of wood, the natural oil is evaporated & worn out, dirt gets in to the grain. I'm not a sailor & have no idea what strange rituals some of them may perform, but they all like their boats pretty & I don't think just salt water scrubbing is enough to maintain the beauty of teak. Maybe Jackie knows & can tell us for sure.

I have dealt with teak patio furniture. Generally, if it is really dirty & gray, it is power washed to get the dirt out, dried, & lightly sanded. Old wood that has the oil baked out tends to get splintery. Once clean & prepped teak oil is applied to protect the wood & keep further dirt out. If it is washed (just regular washing with a mild detergent) & oiled regularly, there isn't a problem. It's a super wood, as strong as oak & more durable than cedar.

message 9: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Feb 03, 2012 08:28AM) (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 15423 comments Thanks for the info, Jim. I'll pass it on.

What would you advise for cleaning fingerprints and such from old-fashioned pinewood kitchen cabinet doors? They probably have a varnish-finish but they're not shiny.

Would a simple re-varnishing be advisable?

Here's a pic of the cabinets taken before we moved in:
(Click on it to make it larger.)
NOTE: This is a different image storage site which our son told me about today. This is my first time trying it.

PS-"Imgur is pronounced like image-er; imager."

message 10: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 5417 comments I couldn't tell from the pictures, but if you mean knotty pine cabinets, they may well have a shellac finish, which is alcohol based. Often a lacquer or polyurethane is used to top coat it for both protection & a fake 'French Polish' look, but it's hard to tell even seeing them up close.

I like Simple Green for cleaning anything I'm not sure of. It's good at picking up dirt, gentle on most everything else. It won't even kill plants if you use it on the siding of the house.

I've never cared much for shellac as a finish, but some people think it's cool. It comes in clear or orange, typically the orange was used on knotty pine. It was one of the fastest drying, easiest finishes back when knotty pine was in, too. It was great to keep around because you can buy it in dry flakes & store it forever, mixing up just what you need, when you need it, with alcohol. If it dried up, you just crushed it up & added more alcohol. Nowadays, the chemists have found all kinds of cheap, faster drying, & more durable finishes, but there's still a big following for shellac.

Normally, a second coat of shellac doesn't work. It winds up all spotty & horrible as the alcohol in the new coat dissolves most of the old & smears around what's left - the orange dye. A French Polish is actually multiple coats of shellac, sort of. It's done by finishing once with shellac & then adding other layers by rubbing them on with a cloth & just a bit of linseed oil. You do this until it gets tacky, then wait a day or three until it dries, then do it again umpteen times until you're looking into a deep, satin finish. It is one of the most work intensive finishes I know of &, while it is pretty, one highball glass or drop of scotch can ruin it. So not worth it, IMO. I've done it a couple of times just to learn how. I just can't see the attraction, though.

message 11: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Feb 03, 2012 09:00AM) (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 15423 comments Thanks, Jim.
I'm going to pass that info on to Eddie and we'll talk about what to do next. Ed said he used varnish (not shellac) on a kitchen cabinet which we had made to match the older ones.

I'll try the Simple Green which you suggested. The cabinets are years old and need to be refreshed.

PS-Yes, knotty pine.

message 12: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 5417 comments I read an article 5 or so years ago on finishes & the guy said that a lot of them are so different than they were 50 years ago that the names didn't even make sense. In a lot of cases, there wasn't any real difference between completely different things like lacquers, varnishes & polyurethanes. Several things caused that, but a big one is that they have to conform to health standards now. Pretty much any finish has to be safe to eat when dry. Can't have kids chewing on flakes & getting sick, after all.

Another big factor is there isn't as much oversight as you might think nor is there much truth in advertising. They can market the same thing under completely different names. I saw that personally. I was part of a crew building a clean room (food safe) room in facility that packaged things for local consumption. They were expanding into food stuffs, but at that time just did liquids like turpentine & such.

While I was there, I saw them do a run of polyurethane. They got barrels of the stuff & then put it into the little pint & quart sized containers we buy at the hardware store. There was a conveyer belt with cans on it. At one point, the cans changed from interior to exterior polyurethane. The stuff in the barrels didn't change at all. At that time, it was $1 more per pint for exterior polyurethane than the interior, but there was NO difference in the product. It was all a marketing ploy & legal.

message 13: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 15423 comments Jim wrote: "I read an article 5 or so years ago on finishes & the guy said that a lot of them are so different than they were 50 years ago that the names didn't even make sense. In a lot of cases, there wasn't any real difference between completely different things like lacquers, varnishes & polyurethanes. ..."

I guess we can't be sure of anything nowadays. Sometimes it's just a matter of trial and error. I'll let you know if the fingerprints disappear after I use Simple Green. Nothing has worked up to now... but I haven't tried very hard. :)

message 14: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 15423 comments Jim, we bought Simple Green. It removed the old fingerprint stains which I wasn't able to remove from our knotty pine cabinets before with Fantastic. So it's very effective. Thanks for telling me about it.

Would it be a good idea for us to put a coat of varnish on top of what's there now? Right now the cabinets don't have an even finish; it varies. I'd like them to have more of an even finish than they have now. I'd like them to have a semi-gloss finish, almost flat, and new looking.

I don't want to have to sand them or take off the old finish. Too much work and messy. It would be easier if we could just varnish them after treating them with Simple Green.

Does vinegar work in any way?

message 15: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 5417 comments When you put a coat of poly on, you need to make sure it can bond well. Any dirt & oil make that impossible, but too smooth a previous finish can also cause a problem. The instructions for poly call for a light sanding if the previous coat has dried for too long, so I would highly recommend a LIGHT sanding IF you decide to put another coat on. Doesn't have to be much. 320 sandpaper run over a spot once or twice would do it. Very minimal dust, but you're talking kitchen cabinets & that means they have grease all over them.

Vinegar cuts oil pretty well & doesn't leave any residue that would harm a finish adhering. Fantastic & Simple Green both can leave some residue if you didn't wipe them off well.

Oil based Poly has an amber tint that will help even out the color of the cabinets. Each coat makes them a shade more amber. You can get a fast drying one that Minwax makes & put it on with a Viva paper towel. It's dry to the touch in 20 or 30 minutes & solid 4 hours later if you do just one quick coat. Like all oil based products, it smells.

I wouldn't recommend water based products, like the latex poly's. They tend to dry clear to a slightly lighter cast. No smell & fast drying, but they don't help darker woods or finishes, IMO. It makes them look washed out - like a sick person.

If it was me, I'd probably just get some Old English furniture polish & call it a day. That won't have any adherence problems with the grease or soap & will soak in where the finish is off to protect the wood. It will keep it from picking up more dirt, too. IMO, part of the charm of old wood cabinets is their battle scars.

message 16: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 15423 comments Jim, thanks for the great advice about the cabinets! The Old English seems the easiest way to go. However, when we were first married, we bought a beautiful round cherry wood coffee table with a beautiful, even, lustrous finish. (You can see it in the following pic: )

The furniture store had advised us to use Old English Furniture Polish on the table. (At least I think that's what it was.) The polish left a film in spots, which we could never remove. The finish was never even after that, even though it was still lovely.

Hmmm, maybe if I used vinegar on it?

As for the cabinets, because of the residue which you mentioned, it looks as if we'd have to lightly sand them as you suggested. Maybe we should experiment with one cabinet door, the worst one.

Yes, cabinets do tend to get greasy, especially in a kitchen like ours with no venting fan! (Old kitchen). If we get a new stove, at least it might include a closed venting system which uses charcoal.

I like your idea that "part of the charm of old wood cabinets is their battle scars". That's a healthy attitude. I try to tell myself the same thing about old age wrinkles. LOL

message 17: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 5417 comments On the coffee table, we have one like that. I HATE that finish. It's a clear lacquer with a mirror finish. Shows up every-bloody-thing, every speck of dust, wax streak & a wet glass leaves rings. I don't know what possessed Marg to buy it. Yes, Old English is too heavy for it. I don't know what would take it off at this point. I'd be afraid of damaging the finish under it.

Just remember to sand very light, especially on edges & crevices are going to be a drag. Wash the door good to get rid of any grease built up there or you'll have a spot where the poly will peel or bubble up. You might even try just steel wool. All your trying to do is break the surface enough so the next coat of poly can get a purchase.

message 18: by Jackie (last edited Feb 07, 2012 06:12PM) (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) | 4050 comments Jim wrote: Teak does have a natural oil in it & shouldn't be painted any more than cedar.
You are absolutely correct, Jim. At the Marina, we clean the grey stuff off with an acid wash (yuck) and hard wire bristle brush, sand it back down and rub Teak Oil into it. The sun sucks the oil out of teak and should be done yearly, if not sooner. It's one of the jobs I really enjoy and the oil smells nice too.

And: In a lot of cases, there wasn't any real difference between completely different things like lacquers, varnishes & polyurethanes
Marine varnish is different than polys and lacquers, it's thicker and more durable. Harder to work with too.

And: the cans changed from interior to exterior polyurethane. The stuff in the barrels didn't change at all.
Wow! I'm blown away. Not that I have much trust in marketing but this is so wrong.

Joy, I concur with all Jim said about the cabinets, the sanding is of utmost importance. I'd do the same and polish it unless I wanted a 'project'.

Jim, what do you think of Murphy's Oil Soap?
I use it to clean my cabinets and it works well but if you think Simple Green is better I'll try that next time.

message 19: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 5417 comments Jackie, I've never used Murphy's, but I know a lot of people swear by it. I just don't know anything about it. I laughed at the '98% naturally derived ingredients' line in their ad. If it works for you & is easy to get, I doubt that Simple Green is any better, unless the pine smell makes a difference.

Interesting on the Teak. Thanks. Now that you mention it, I do recall at least seeing the acid wash for teak. We might have scrubbed that on once, but never used the wire brush or did too much scrubbing. That's why they invented power washers. I'd guess that patio furniture doesn't take the same beating that a boat does & is easier to clean.

I've used marine poly before - or something that said it was. It was a lot thicker, but it came from a regular hardware store & didn't hold up any or much better outside than regular poly did, as I recall. (Had a brand name that was well known, but I can't think of it. Did it begin with an 'O'?) Seems to me that anything that forms a hard surface just gets cracked apart quickly by the temperature & humidity changes. Then water gets under it, freezes or steams, & that's all she wrote. That's why you get paid the big bucks, though. Wooden boats require constant maintenance because nothing will hold up for long in their conditions.

For my land uses, I prefer an oil that can be refreshed & doesn't get super hard. I typically use a linseed oil mix on stuff like tool handles, chairs & such, a mix of 1/2 linseed oil, 1/2 turpentine with a dash of Japan drier. It really soaks in to old wood, starts off a little sticky, but dust & weather stabilize it quickly. Wash the piece, maybe hit it with some sandpaper, & then toss another coat on every year or two & it stays fine. It wouldn't work well on boats, though. Linseed oil will get a white cast when wet & shows marks. Wouldn't be any good for a floor, either. It's too soft.

message 20: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) | 4050 comments Jim, 98% naturally derived ingredients, either it's natural or it's not and that 2% says Not. Back to the slick marketing phrases.

If the teak is well maintained and doesn't have the white spots or black mold, there's no need for the acid wash. I once had to do a swim platform that wasn't done in ages, all those slats, ugh, it was a lot of work. The acid made my job easier because I would have had to sand down to below the white and black areas.

This is the brand we use:

What is Japan drier?
Wow, you take really good care of your tools, Jim.

message 21: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 5417 comments Mold is bad. Is the white spot also a mold or fungus? What would bleach do to teak?

Wow! That is some expensive varnish! $20/pint?!!! I wish I could find that article about the differences between varnish, lacquer, & polyurethanes in the past & present. It was really interesting. I know they started out with some very basic differences, but according to it, those had blurred a lot. It did a good job of defining them now. I'm sure there is a huge difference between some & none between others. Without a degree in chemistry or real world experience, I don't know how a person would tell, though.

Japan Drier is just something that makes linseed oil cure faster. I guess it isn't known well now that oil based paints aren't used as much. Here is some:
It used to be a lot cheaper.

I have tools that belonged to my great grandfather, so taking care of them sort of runs in the family. I can't tell you how upset it made me to find that it skipped my grandfather's generation. He ruined, lost, & gave away many tools of my great grandfather's.

Actually, taking care of tools is taking care of me. When a shovel or rake handle gets old & splintery, taking them down quickly with some sandpaper & tossing the tool handle mix on them is quick, cheap, & makes them a pleasure to use again. It's a heck of a lot better than collecting splinters or buying a new piece of junk. After you've used some of the old, solid tools, it's hard to downgrade.

message 22: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 15423 comments Interesting, Jackie, about your work on the boats. Sounds like hard work!

We might experiment with sanding one cabinet door. Romeo has scratched a couple while begging for treats in the kitchen. If we ever get around to the project, that's the door we'll work on. Thanks for all the advice.

As for Murphy's oil soap, I tried it on an antique Edwardian bedroom set we have, which belonged to my folks. Murphy's just seems to leave an oily surface on the wood. It looks shiny but it's just oil, not a real shine.

Here's part of the Edwardian bedroom set back in 1961 when our first two boys were babies:
Free Image Hosting at Click on thumbnail.

You can see all the veneer-matching that was done with the wood grain. It's really beautiful. I've never thought about what kind of wood it is. Any guesses?

message 23: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 15423 comments Jim, it's great the way you care for your tools. Eddie is always losing his. If I want a tool, I have to buy my own and hide it. LOL I also put my name on them!

Eddie is a good worker but not a neat worker. LOL

message 24: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) | 4050 comments White and black spots are a form of mold. I'm not sure what bleach would do to the wood, if anything, besides lighten the color. I know that the acid wash works and doesn't smell harsh like bleach, I can't breathe the stuff.

I agree about old tools, they're sturdy and last forever. We had all kinds of old tools and parts and at Halls which we lost in the fire. No way to replace any of it.

Joy, I wonder why they call Murphy's 'soap' if it's really oil. Probably another marketing ploy to make us think 'clean'.

I can't tell what kind of wood it is, but maybe Jim would know.

message 25: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Feb 08, 2012 08:29PM) (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 15423 comments About Murphy's Oil Soap, I found this:
The most common mistake is using Murphy's Oil Soap. Murphy's truly claims to be the most popular cleaner of wood in existence. Unfortunately I know of no one who has wood that needs to be cleaned. On Murphy's label it says "pure vegetable oil soap". So you put vegetable oil soap in water then wash everything, when the water evaporates you have vegetable oil soap on everything. Sure makes a lot of sense. The idea is to clean things not coat them with vegetable oil soap residue.

I found this too, giving the ingredients:

And this from Wiki:
Murphy's Oil Soap is a cleaning product marketed by Colgate-Palmolive. ... Commercials for the product state that the product is ideal for cleaning wood surfaces.
Despite the name, oil soap does not contain oil; it contains potassium soap manufactured from vegetable oil.
Oil soap is commonly used to clean and polish horse tack, such as bridles and saddles. The oil soap is also an excellent lubricant to use with water when throwing clay on a potter's wheel[cita

All I know is that it didn't help clean some spots on my old furniture. Maybe the furniture was too far gone.

message 26: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) | 4050 comments Interesting.
I used it on the kitchen cabinets which get dirty and greasy from all the cooking I do. It cleaned them, but if there's a better product, I'm all for trying it.

Anyone ever hear of Mean Green?
This stuff is cheap and cuts through grease like nothing I've ever used before. I use it for my stovetop after cooking.

message 27: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 5417 comments Joy, I don't know what kind of wood that is. From the grain pattern, I'd guess it was a maple, but the color makes me think walnut. They're both complete guesses, though.

I've never used 'Mean Green', Jackie. I don't think Clorox will actually lighten the color of most woods. That's what oxalic acid is for, but I do agree about the smell. Furniture is a different matter since it's often stained, one reason it's so hard to tell what kind of wood is used. Did you know a lot of old rockers would regularly use 3 to 5 different kinds of wood in their construction?

message 28: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 15423 comments Jim wrote: "Joy, I don't know what kind of wood that is. From the grain pattern, I'd guess it was a maple, but the color makes me think walnut. They're both complete guesses, though. ..."

Jim, could the wood in the bedroom set be mahogany?

message 29: by Jackie (last edited Feb 09, 2012 08:19AM) (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) | 4050 comments Jim, I should have clarified about lightening the wood.
When an old boat needs a new plank of wood for a stained and varnished area, it will be much lighter than the rest of the boat. Even with stripping the old varnish and stain off the older wood, it's still much darker than newly stained wood could ever hope to be. In those cases, we have to strip the entire area and bleach that old wood to try and match it with the newly stained wood. Otherwise you have a stark contrast. It's more the make it blend than to try an make an exact match, that will never happen.

I forgot to say that Halls buys that varnish in bulk so I'm sure it's not that much money for them. Since I work with it, I can say that it is of very good quality. It's like a 'cream of' soup compared to polys 'broth' in consistency.

Joy, I don't think it's mahogany, it would be more reddish as real mahogany has a reddish tint naturally. Mahogany is the only wood we use for side and deck planking and it's the one wood I generally know on site. So while I cannot say what type of wood it is, I can say it's not mahogany with 90% confidence.
It's easier to tell what kind of wood it is before it's stained. There's all kinds of stains to make wood appear to be other than what it is. There's mahogany stain, cherry stain, and these days they'll market it is 'mahogany' or 'cherry' when in fact it's only the stain that's 'mahogany' or 'cherry'. Mahogany is very expensive wood.

message 30: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 15423 comments Thanks for the explanation about mahogany, Jackie. Now I'm really wondering what kind of wood the bedroom set is. I've never wondered about it before. LOL

Speaking of wood and finishes, the most beautiful wood finishes I've ever seen were on the caskets we looked at when my MIL passed away. I was so in awe of how gorgeous they were that I forgot about the fact that they had anything to do with death! It seems such a waste to put all that work and money into something that's going six feet under. When my Dad died, I remember that they even had a casket with some sort of springs or a mattress in it. Incredible!

message 31: by Jackie (last edited Feb 09, 2012 10:34AM) (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) | 4050 comments Wood caskets are gorgeous. We had a showroom for caskets at our funeral home. I got a mahogany one for my father, it was pretty hefty in price but it was gorgeous.

It's easier to for me to determine the type of wood when its still in it's natural state.

message 32: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 15423 comments Jackie, I had forgotten that your folks had a funeral home. Where was it located? Is the business still in existence?

message 33: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 5417 comments Joy, besides the color that Jackie pointed out, the grain pattern is pretty wild for mahogany. That's a tropical wood & tends not to have much in the way of annular rings which are causing a lot of the pattern you're seeing. There are a lot of kinds of wood that are sold as mahogany, though. Many aren't even in the mahogany family, but that doesn't stop folks from selling it as such.

Looking at the pattern of the grain was one of the main factors in my guess. The panel on the right is a book matched veneer pattern if there ever was one. If there is a spot where the finish is worn away from just the veneer (not the base wood under it) walnut is about the color of the stained areas we can see. Maple is much lighter, but I tend to think that's what the veneer is.

message 34: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 5417 comments Jackie wrote: "Jim, I should have clarified about lightening the wood.
When an old boat needs a new plank of wood for a stained and varnished area, it will be much lighter than the rest of the boat. Even with st..."

That makes sense. In fixing older stuff, I've run across the same problem. I have a green-bent back chair that I replaced one of the back pieces on & getting it the right color was very difficult - almost harder than turning it correctly. That's finicky stuff that I don't enjoy much.

message 35: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 5417 comments Caskets are some of the finest pieces of woodwork that I've ever seen. They're right up there with musical instruments. All those hidden joints & odd angles are tough. I've never made either one, though. Several people have wanted me to do guitars or banjos, but I have a tin ear. I can't see making something if I have no idea how it sounds.

message 36: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) | 4050 comments I thought the grain was too elaborate also, I've seen some grain on our mahogany wood so I wasn't.

The funeral Home is called Dzikowski & Son in Bayonne NJ. It's still in business. I sold it to the guy who worked for us but he died a few years ago too. I'm not sure who owns it now, but the name is the still the same.

message 37: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 5417 comments Older mahogany was a different kettle of fish than a lot of the stuff that can be purchased now, from what I've heard. I have very limited experience with it. I still have some that is purported to be 60's or 70's vintage African Mahogany. It has almost no character ( no knot holes, swirling grain or anything )& I had quite a bit of wide, thick boards that I got through a junk shop a couple of decades ago. I've also worked with some Honduran Mahogany that had more character, but still wasn't much.

Then there is Luaun plywood, which is also supposed to be a 'Philippine Mahogany', but it isn't a mahogany at all. Well, it can be, but what we get in the US it isn't. It's actually any of a family of tropical trees, often plantation bred, from that general area & it is similarly soft & characterless, but much lighter in color.

message 38: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) | 4050 comments 'Characterless' is an apt description of the mahogany I've seen. Why do people treasure it so?

message 39: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Feb 10, 2012 12:17AM) (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 15423 comments Jim wrote: "... The panel on the right is a book matched veneer pattern if there ever was one. If there is a spot where the finish is worn away from just the veneer (not the base wood under it) walnut is about the color of the stained areas we can see. Maple is much lighter, but I tend to think that's what the veneer is. ..."

Thanks for all the info, Jim. You're a walking encyclopedia on this stuff!
So you're guess is maple, right?
What does "book matched" mean? Perhaps it means "typical"?

Jackie: I didn't realize you had actually been involved with the funeral home. I thought it was just your folks. And I didn't realize you were from NJ. You've sure done some interesting and different things! How did you get into the boat-restoring line?

message 40: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 5417 comments Joy, divide the panel in the middle vertically & then look at the grains. See how they're a mirror image of each other? That's a book match, because the wood was spit in two there, like opening a book. The center panel is done the same way, but both horizontally & vertically. It's really fantastic grain pattern, anything but typical. I'm in love with your bed's woodwork. It's fantastic. Yes, my guess is maple, but that's just a guess.

I'm a bit of a wood geek, Joy. I belong to the International Wood Collectors Society & have written several articles for their magazine.
I've read quite a few books on the subject & turned eggs from 75 different species of wood plus have twice that many 3"x6"x1/2" samples. I've worked with wood all my life & was a professional carpenter for 15 years, so I find it fascinating & interesting. I have my own wood lot now, too.


Jackie, as a carpenter, it's lovely to work with. I'm sure you know that you can do most anything with it, comes in all kinds of neat sizes, & is usually clear. I don't know why mahogany is so prized by consumers, though. It's too soft to really stand up to any abuse & is boring. It's not my first choice, which is why I still have some around.

I made a hat rack, about the size of a coat rack, out of it a year or two ago. It's pretty enough with just some poly on it. Since the feet & hooks are made out of used horse shoes, a bland wood worked well to offset them.

message 41: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Feb 10, 2012 08:14AM) (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 15423 comments Jim wrote: "Joy, divide the panel in the middle vertically & then look at the grains. See how they're a mirror image of each other? That's a book match, because the wood was spit in two there, like opening a..."

Jim, thanks for explaining "book match". Interesting expression. Do furniture makers nowadays do much of that book-matching veneer work? I'm wondering how rare the bedroom set is. I was told by an antique dealer that it's Edwardian (from the beginning of the 1900's, i.e., 1901 to 1910) ( ), but I don't know its value as an antique. Glad you like it.

I'm impressed with your experiences in different careers and hobbies (including horses and dogs) and with your knowledge of books. That makes you interesting to talk to (besides the fact that you write well and are articulate).

What's a "wood lot"?
What is it about mahogany that makes it "lovely to work with"?

BTW, here's an interesting carving of a duck:
Free Image Hosting at
I bought it in a gift shop. IIRC, it's made of a special kind of wood from the Southwest. Can't remember the name of it. I sent it to Europe as a Secret Santa gift to someone on a newsgroup years ago.

message 42: by Jackie (last edited Feb 10, 2012 08:59AM) (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) | 4050 comments Joy, I wasn't involved with the FH except for a little bookkeeping job my dad gave me to make some money...and selling it after he died. I know my way around the place because I spent time there when visiting my grandparents. And my favorite uncle worked there as hairdresser so I'd hang out with him while he was doing hair and make-up. My grandfather opened the business in the 1930s. My parents lived in NJ as kids but moved to the City before I was born. It was only a short ride away, my dad could make it to work in 15 minutes since he'd be going the opposite way during rush hour.

After I moved here, I saw an ad in the paper for Hall's and went for the interview. The foreman wanted to hire me and pretty much taught me everything.

message 43: by Jackie (last edited Feb 10, 2012 09:07AM) (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) | 4050 comments Jim, the only thing we ever use the mahogany for is the transom on the back of the boat and sometimes side planks, pretty boring stuff, really.
In working with boats, I was 90% restoration, rather than woodworker.

message 44: by Jim (last edited Feb 10, 2012 10:36AM) (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 5417 comments Joy H. wrote: "QUESTIONS:
What's a "wood lot"?
What is it about mahogany that makes it "lovely to work with"?"

A wood lot is just a patch of woods usually maintained with the idea of getting timber out of it. You try to cull poor trees, promote the growth of good specimens & varieties that do well together.

As I mentioned before, tropical woods don't have annular or growth rings. These are areas where the cells are of different sizes. On a ring porous wood like oak, you can look at the end of it & see really big pores that get progressively smaller, then get real big again. It's just reflecting the growth cycle. In the spring, they grow a lot & the pores are bigger. In the summer, as there is less water, they grow smaller & in the winter, they're smaller & tighter yet. In typical years, you'll see one ring per year. Drought & fires can set a tree back to where it will have a second or even a 3d ring in a year.

Here is a ring porous wood, like oak:

The fast growth areas are softer & work differently with tools than the denser areas. That sort of thing is harder to see, hence easier to work with in a wood like maple that is diffusely porous. It scatters the big pores around more.

Here is a diffusely porous wood like maple:

Mahogany is a tropical wood that has very little evidence of growth rings, hence the wood grain is very even. The wood we buy tends to be very free of knots & other defects, too. That makes it boring, but gives it a consistency to tools & sanding that makes working it very easy. It's also a fairly soft wood, like pine (without pitch pockets) or poplar (without knots) so it's not too hard to work. I've had white oak & hickory break the teeth off one of my cheap Japanese pull saws because they're so hard.

message 45: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) | 4050 comments Interesting. I'm learning a lot here, Jim, very cool. You and my foreman Pete would have a good old time together.

message 46: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Feb 10, 2012 01:28PM) (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 15423 comments Jim, thanks for the great explanations, with pictures no less! I can see why mahogany is easier to work with, one of the reasons being no knots. Eddie once lost part of his fingertips because of a knot in a piece of wood he was cutting. They had to call the ambulance and rush him to the hospital.

Your information has spurred my interest. Below are a couple of interesting links about mahogany. (I googled to find out more about why mahogany is so expensive.)

However, I'm still confused. Is mahogany a soft wood or a hard wood? (Edit: I remember now that you said it was soft.)

Maybe the confusion is because not all woods called "mahogany" are really mahogany. Or maybe it depends on where the mahogany is from. The quotes below may answer my question:
"The mahogany used for deck flooring is not Honduran mahogany. It is normally Cambara from Brazil, or Meranti from Indonesia. ...
People like mahogany decking for its hardness, rich color, tight grain, and knot-free appearance.

No wonder people like me are confused about mahogany! I always thought of it as a dark wood, but maybe that's because my mother's mahogany table was black (the one in the picture I posted a link to, with her and my son as a baby, in Message #3 above). Anyway, we always called it "the mahogany table".

message 47: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Feb 10, 2012 01:33PM) (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 15423 comments PS-I also found this:
"But that table was made of furniture grade mahogany (Swietenia mahogany or perhaps swietenia macrophylla) — dark, fine-grained hardwood from Honduras."

Some "mahogany" is hard and some must be soft.

Is ALL mahogany dark?

Will the REAL mahogany please stand up? LOL (Remember that quiz show?)

message 48: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 5417 comments That first link that you posted where Norm answers the expensive/cheap question is correct - it's both, depending on what wood they're calling mahogany. Ditto for the color & with hard/soft, but there is another kicker with the last.

Color depends on the species. Lauan is very light colored, often a pale tan, but I've only ever seen it in cheap plywood. Most of the lumber grade mahogany I've used has been about the color of cherry. That's a fairly dark wood, not as dark as walnut, but darker than most others like poplar, maple, ash, & oak. Of course, it's also stain dependent. When most people see a piece of wood, it's in furniture that has basically been painted to an 'ideal' color of the wood. That's a production or marketing 'ideal'. It allows them to sell cherry furniture made all over but will fit together in a room. It has very little to do with the natural color of cherry, but many people don't realize that because all they ever see is cheap, basically painted cherry furniture.

Hard vs. soft in wood means 2 things; the type of tree the wood comes from & it's working properties. A hardwood is a deciduous tree, while soft is coniferous. Generally, overall, sort of, that aligns with the actual hardness of the wood, but there are many exceptions. Poplar is a fairly soft hardwood, but balsa is super soft. Oak, cherry, black locust, teak, & hickory are all very hard hardwoods. Pine & red cedar are soft softwoods. Pacific white cedar & douglas fir are both pretty hard, though. You'll often see the latter as the floor joists in the first floor of a house. They're naturally a yellow in color & if you try driving a nail into them, it will often bend.

All mahogany that I've seen does have a tight, even grain. Oak is an example of an open grain, while poplar also has a tight grain, although not as tight as maple. That can also go back to the porous openings due to growth cycles, but a lot just has to do with the cell structure. Maple has small, tight cells, oak has a lot of big cells with smaller ones in between. Something like catalpa or paulownia have big, airy cells. Both are very soft, hardwoods.

Like Norm said, the 'real' mahogany will stand up (yes, I do remember) but it will cost you a pretty penny & even that isn't any guarantee.

message 49: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 5417 comments I'm not positive, but I've heard that mahogany has another property that hasn't been addressed but makes it perfect for marine use & that is stability. Freedom from knots & wild grain helps a lot there, but it doesn't move much no matter how much or little moisture is present. Some woods move a LOT. The biggest movement is across the grain (width), but also transversely (thickness). Length rarely changes much at all.

One of the most interesting things I find when turning green bowls & then drying them is how the wood shrinks. Some woods can hold up to 200% moisture content! They're freaking sponges. But no matter how much moisture they have in them, they all get dried before they're suitable for working with in most applications. Usually kiln dried is down to 8% while air dry is around 14%, but most of the movement occurs at 28% down to 14%. I think 28% is when the wood cells themselves - not the spaces in between - start drying out. Kilns usually take wood down to 8% & let them bounce back up. Anything below 8% & there is so much stress on the cells that it can ruin the wood, cause fractures in it.

When I dry my bowls, I do it in a microwave & do it for a minute or two at a time. I weigh them before & after, then let them sit for a while. When they weigh a little less & bounce back up after sitting, they're dry. If it is a small, thin bowl & I'm getting close, I've learned to dry them for shorter periods of time since a bit too much drying can fracture them. (They do that enough anyway, because that's just part of the process.)

No matter which you get or do, you need to put the wood in your shop for a while & let it even out before using it on a fine project. Depending on the area & season (outdoor humidity) I think the wood will pretty much stabilize. It will still pick up or lose moisture a bit, but when finished, it's a long process. You'll see some furniture ruined when it is made in a wetter area & moved to a drier one. That's often the case with furniture made in the northeast & moved to Arizona or vice versa, for instance. Joints will shrink until drawer fronts fall off or expand until they split the wood around them. Mahogany doesn't do that, so that's another reason it is good in both furniture & marine applications.

(You should listen to/read the arguments between woodworkers on whether to finish the bottom of a table or not. Some say yes, as it slows the humidity changes, others say no, as it makes the change uneven. I think it depends on the wood & the project.)

Another property is durability. How fast does it rot? Mahogany is pretty durable, I believe. Pine isn't. Western Red Cedar heartwood is, but it gains that property through the oils that are in it which means it can't be finished - it pushes any finish off of it.

Yet another property is weight. Some woods are very heavy, but mahogany is pretty strong for its weight. Strength, yet another property & finishing ability mentioned above. Mahogany has it all!

IOW, mahogany is pretty perfect for marine & furniture applications because it has all the properties the woodworker wants. It isn't the absolute best at some of them, but over all, it has the best mix. (Sheesh, I just talked myself into wanting to use mahogany!)

message 50: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) | 4050 comments It's true for marine usage, I can attest to that. The last thing we want is a plank buckling and tearing off the layers of varnish due to humidity changes.

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The Encyclopedia Of Wood: A Tree By Tree Guide To The World's Most Versatile Resource (other topics)