Firewood Treasures

Softwood Identification Key

"Softwood Identification Key"

Wood identification using end-grain analysis can be a bit confusing to the beginner. In order to dispel some of this confusion and in response to customer requests, we have put together a systematic key that will aid in the process of identifying a wood sample. The key is set up as a sequence of decision pairs in which you stepwise look for various structural features in the sample. Each decision leads to another pair of choices centering on a different feature of the wood. In this fashion you proceed down the key until you arrive at a final identification of the the species or a closely related group of species. Those familiar with identifying trees by the use of a key will immediately recognize the process.

Our students have used an earlier version of this key for years with great success, particularly when they were beginning the process of learning the end-grain method of wood identification. Stepwise keying down a sample is a much more systematic and instructive method, as opposed to simply scanning at all of the example pictures in a book and applying the "looks most like" "hunt-and-seek" approach. And, use of our key will greatly aid in organizing your thinking when you tackle a new wood that you've never seen before.

An example page from our "Softwood Identification Key" is shown at the bottom of this page. More detailed instructions are included on the actual page.

If you would like to add a copy of the Softwood Key to your order of a sample kit (or a Baker's Dozen), use the following

"Softwood Identification Key" added to kit (no extra shipping)   Key-S0    $5.00

If you would like to order the Softwood Key by itself (i.e., with no sample set), use the following

"Softwood Identification Key" separately (plus shipping, $3.00)  Key-S1    $5.00 (+ $3.00)


If you choose to order only the softwood and hardwood keys, and no samples, order Key-H1 and Key-S0.

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