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TUPELO

Nyssa spp.

Nyssa aquatica (water tupelo), Nyssa biflora (swamp tupelo), Nyssa ogeche (sour tupelo), and Nyssa sylvatica (black tupelo aka black gum), all of the family Cornaceae, the dogwood family

Tupelo is sometimes called "gum" and there is considerable discussion of that common name and its various uses on the gum page on this site.

Nyssa synvatica at least, and possibly other Nyssa species as well, has interlocked grain. I am unable to detect it on any of my formal samples because I don't have a quartersawn piece, but at the bottom of the section showing my own samples, there is a raw split piece that REALLY shows it clearly.

This is a hard wood, but reportedly liked by carvers although the different species vary considerably in hardness with water tupelo being noticibly softer than black tupelo which is sometimes used for beams and where strength counts. The favorite of carvers, really, is the lower regions of the water tupelo which are reportedly softer than the upper bole and softer still than black tupelo.

This is a medium grade wood at best and is mostly used for hidden furniture parts and veneer core.



my samples:


sample plank and end grain sold to me as black tupelo / gum / Nyssa sylvatica --- the end grain pic has too much green in it


end grain closeup of the piece directly above --- this pic is also a bit too green


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above --- color is very accurate but even though the pic seems to be well focused, the fine grain detail does not show up well. See the sample below for a MUCH better end grain closeup


both sides of a sample plank of black tupelo / Nyssa sylvatica --- HUGE enlargements are present


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of black tupelo / Nyssa sylvatica --- 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 swamp tupelo / Nyssa sylvatica var biflora --- 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 swamp tupelo / Nyssa sylvatica var biflora --- 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 swamp tupelo / Nyssa sylvatica var biflora --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by Mark Peet 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 black tupelo / Nyssa sylvatica --- 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 water tupelo / Nyssa aquatica


end grain and HIGH GRIT END GRAIN CLOSEUP of the piece directly above


both sides of a sample plank of water tupelo / Nyssa aquatica --- 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 water tupelo / Nyssa aquatica --- 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 water tupelo / Nyssa aquatica --- 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 Ogeechee tupelo / Nyssa ogeche --- 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


first face and the end grain of a sample of sour gum tupelo / Nyssa ogeche This part of a collection which is discussed here: COLLECTION B


the second face, before and after slicing off 1/8" showing how the patina from aging is only surface deep.


end grain closeup and END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above.


a split piece of black gum / Nyssa sylvatica loaned to me by Mark Peet whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. This piece is amazingly interlocked and Mark tells me the owner found it almost impossible to split the piece. The channels are caused by the way the interlocked wood splits (if and when it ever DOES split --- I can attest from personal experience that heavily interlocked grain like this can make it damned near impossible to split such a piece with anything less than a hydraulic ram).


The Wood Book pics


flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica, also listed as black gum, yellow gum, pepperidge, and sour gum) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for all 3 views


flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
sour tupelo (Nyssa ogeche, also listed as ogeechee lime and gopher plum) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for all 3 views


flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
large tupelo (Nyssa aquatica aka tupelo gum and cotton gum) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for all 3 views. Why the Wood Book does not list this as water tupelo, I do not know.



web pics:


planks listed as tupelo / black gum


two views of some turning stock


planks listed as just "tupelo"


both sides of a slab just listed as "tupelo"


water tupelo





all of these pics are of the same burly tupelo log, submitted by David Ing, whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. David provided such well-focused and high resolution pics that I have provided extreme enlargement for all of these. David refers to this as black gum, which is probably the most common alternate name for tupelo. The top two pics of the log are of it on the mill and the others are various slabs taken from the log.





bowl --- orange color seems unlikely; possibly due to the finish


bowl listed as wormy tupelo gum