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COFFEE TREE

Gymnocladus dioicus and Gymnocladus canadensis

Gymnocladus dioicus (also given as dioica and dioicous) and Gymnocladus canadensis of the family Leuminosae, the legume or pea family

The frequent designation "Kentucky" coffee tree would be more correctly given as "American" since it grows in several states throughout the East, Mideast, and Northeast of the USA, and in some areas of Canada. It is sometimes incorrectly designated as a mahogany. It is heavy and strong but not very hard and it is coarse grained in a way that makes it look a lot like red oak and sassafras. Reportedly, the beans of the tree CAN be used to make coffee, but only in a slightly more reasonable way than using mud to make chocolate.

COFFEE TREE / HONEY LOCUST
how to tell them apart




my samples:


plank and end grain. This piece was contributed by Chris Arvidson, whom I thank for this and other contributions


end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


same plank as directly above, but moistened with water --- as you can see, this is one of those woods where a finishing agent muddies the separation between early and late growth on the end grain.


both sides of sample plank of Kentucky coffee tree / Gymnocladus dioicus


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


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Kentucky coffee tree / Gymnocladus dioicus --- 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 flat cut sample plank of Kentucky coffee tree / Gymnocladus dioicus


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Kentucky coffee tree / Gymnocladus dioicus --- 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


both sides of a sample plank of quartersawn Kentucky coffee tree / Gymnocladus dioicus --- I don't know what the black stain is


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above --- color is correct but I see I got it upside down


both sides of a sample plank of quartersawn Kentucky coffee tree / Gymnocladus dioicus --- 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 quartersawn Kentucky coffee tree / Gymnocladus dioicus --- 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


both sides of a sample plank of coffee tree / Gymnocladus spp. --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by Mark Peet whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. The first side has been sanded to 240 grit


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above. Note how, in the update below, the soft pith has absorbed the fine sanding dust and has turned white as a consequence.


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


This veneer sheet was loaned to me by John Koehn whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


The Wood Book pics


flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
coffee tree (Gymnocladus canadensis) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for all 3 views



web pics:


flat cut planks --- color looks too orange/yellow to me; wood may have been moistened


quartersawn plank --- color looks too orange/yellow to me; wood may have been moistened


planks


planks listed as "Kentucky" coffee tree, which is a designation I sometimes see, but which I believe is just a synonym for coffee tree and does not designate a separate species. The bright orange color on the first one seems totally unrealistic to me, as does the bright yellow on the second one.


more "Kentucky" coffee tree planks --- color looks very realistic to me


log half listed as "Kentucky" coffee tree


both sides of a Kentucky coffee tree plank


veneer listed as Kentucky coffee tree


three planks and a closeup of the most interesting of the three


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