International Wood Collectors Society

A Dedicated Group of Wood Collectors and Crafters

From: Chuck Ray
To: Art , Sara Fern
Date: June 21, 2019 at 11:10 AM
Subject: Penn State/American Chestnut Foundation research project Art, as mentioned in our conversation earlier this week. We have an ongoing project entitled " Quantifying and prioritizing the determinants of wood quality in chestnut variants."


Interested parties have considered wood quality, such as timber value and appearance, in back-crossed and genetically-modified chestnut variants. Until now, such considerations have been anecdotal and based on limited samplings of stems, most of which are apparently juvenile wood. This proposal, which offers a methodology for sampling and analyzing chestnut wood, is a preliminary study to determine and define appropriate parameters to enable future research on the impacts of chestnut breeding on wood properties. Its focus is on American and Chinese chestnut (Castanea dentata and C. mollissima) to bracket the range of properties that relate to restoration chestnut wood quality.


Determine which wood properties in chestnut variants result in statistically significant differences between variants. Based on these findings, prioritize these properties and the statistical parameters of investigation for future, long-term chestnut wood studies. The criteria for prioritization will include importance to wood quality for commercial applications and relationship to desirable growth characteristics.

Art, IWCS members could contribute to this project by loaning us any vouchered chestnut specimens of C. dentata and C. mollissima they may have in their collection for testing of specific gravity and macroscopic inspection. Sanding of surfaces may be required, but no identification marks on the specimens will be sanded. Voucher information should be included with the specimens when they are loaned.

These historical specimens will be compared to the properties obtained from the modern chestnut variants provided by members of the American Chestnut Society. Our findings will be reported in peer-reviewed and popular press. The individual specimen properties will also be provided to those who contribute each one.

Specimens will be required by August 31, 2019, and may be sent to:

The Penn State Xylarium
c/o Charles D. Ray, Ph.D.
215 Forest Resources Laboratory
University Park, PA 16802

Specimens will be returned on or before May 31, 2020.

Those interested and seeking information may contact me at

Thank you for your help in getting this word out to IWCS members.


Charles D. Ray, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Wood and Forest Science
Department of Ecosystems Science and Management
The Pennsylvania State University,