How It All Began

“As well as a flourishing library, the school by 1909 had a wood collection containing specimens of nearly all of Pennsylvania’s native trees and large shrubs. For each species, cross sections and radial and tangential sections had been prepared to show the gross appearance of the wood. The next step was the preservation of samples in alcohol and glycerin so that sections suitable for microscopic examination could be cut. These latter sections were to be especially useful in the study of timber physics (wood technology)." E.H. Thomas, “A History of the Pennsylvania State Forestry School, 1903 – 1929.” p. 67

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Penn State Xylarium is Live!

It occurred to me today, that after working on the Penn State Xylarium wood collection for nearly three years, I should begin to share the progress and my thoughts on a regular basis. This is the kind of work that is hard to describe and summarize in a single blog post, as I might do on Go Wood, so the logical alternative is to post shorts on a unique site dedicated to the work.

So, to all of you xylophiles, botanists, wood anatomists, and wood specimen collectors who enjoy this sort of thing, here you go. Don't be shy about giving me feedback and requests...this site is for you!

Baikiaea plurijuga, known as African teak, Mukusi, (Penn State Xylarium). Rhodesian teak, Zambian teak or Zambesi redwood, is a species of tree from the legume family, the Fabaceae from southern Africa.
I haven't yet gotten a professional setup to take good photos of the wood specimens, but I'm working on that. Anyone wishing to make a donation to Penn State to help make that happen, please contact me at

I'd like to thank Jean-Claude Cerre of Nevers, France, whose groundbreaking work in the field of high-resolution wood macrophotography introduced me to a whole new world of wood, and has inspired me to follow in his footsteps. Merci beaucoup, Jean-Claude!

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