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NOTE: there is rarely any "standard" or "typical" look for a wood so take what's in this table with a grain of salt
the REST of the pictures on this page will give you a better overall feel for this wood

sen / Kalopanax septemlobus
(synonyms Acanthopanax ricinifolius, Kalopanax ricinifolium)
of the family Araliaceae, the ivy and ginseng family

3" x 3" flat cut, 5" x 5" quartersawn, 3/4" wide end grain, and a 1/4" x 1/4" end grain closeup.

Ring porous with a thin row of earlywood pores changing immediately to latewood with confluent parenchyma pore groupings that are vaguely ulmiform.

In the USA this wood is frequently sold as "Japanese ash" and while it does look a great deal like ash, it is not in fact related to ash. I am particularly grateful to Paul van Rijckevorsel for clarifying this for me, as I had mistakenly included sen on my ash page in the early days of this site. The face grain can have quite a striking similarity to ash but the end grain is easily distinguished from ash.

In Japan, where it goes under the trade name Harigiri, this is a very popular wood for paneling and furniture. In the USA it is frequently sold as veneer and rarely as lumber.

LATER NOTE: I now notice that flat cut sen face grain is distinguishable from flat cut ash face grain by virtue of the difference in the look of the cut pores on a flat cut surface. In ash, there is a strong "feathering" due to the earlywood pore line being several pores thick. In sen there is only a thin row so no feathering. Then in sen there are usually faint lines in between the grain lines that are angled to the grain lines. This is because of the confulent parenchyma bands throughout the latewood. Ash has only a small amount of confulent parenchyma and it's at the end of the latewood, thus ash doesn't have the angled lines on the face grain. See the flat cut veneer at the bottom of my own pics for examples.


my samples:
NOTE: these pics were all taken in very bright incandescent lighting ("soft white" at 2700K)
colors will vary under other lighting conditions


both sides of a sample plank of sen (harigiri) / Kalopanax septemlobus --- 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 sen (harigiri) / Kalopanax septemlobus --- 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 sen (harigiri) / Kalopanax septemlobus --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. There is a very slight red tinge to these pics that is not in the wood


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of sen (harigiri) / Kalopanax septemlobus --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. There is a very slight red tinge to these pics that is not in the wood


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


quartersawn plank


quartersawn sen veneer --- the top piece is curly


flat cut sen w/ nice cathedral grain, very nicely showing the lines mentioned in the composite pic of sen at the top of this page. If you look in the enlargements of any of the last 3 pieces you can see these lines clearly.



NOTE: The graininess (or "feathering") shown in the following 5 pieces seems impossible
given that sen only has a thin row of earlywood pores. I think these piece are actually ash.
See the "later" note in the composite box at the top of the page



sen veneer and closeup


sen veneer and closeup


sen veneer

web pics:


planks, flat cut and quartersawn


planks listed as Acanthopanax ricinifolium (a synonym of Kalopanax septemlobus)


plank listed as sen / Acantopanax ricinifoium (a synonym of Kalopanax septemlobus)


veneer


veneer listed as sen / Acanthopanax ricinifolius (a synonym of Kalopanax septemlobus). The pieces are quartersawn bookmatched, quartersawn, and flat cut


veneer from a vendor who manipulates her pics to make the wood look far more shiny than it actually is.


veneer from a vendor whose pics frequently make wood look green regardless of what color it actually is


flat cut veneer


quartersawn veneer


figured sen veneer from a vendor who manipulates her pics to make the wood look far more shiny than it actually is.


figured veneer and closeup


fiddleback sen veneer --- I do not believe the green color; wood is much more likely to be tan or whitish tan; the color on the last pic is likely more accurate than the others


sen veneer, all from the same vendor


sen veneer sheet closeups with both levels of enlargement --- the first is quartersawn and the others are flat cut