Jordan Silberman, an IT consultant and woodworking hobbyist in Unionville, Pa., has created an iPhone and iPod application called "I.D. Wood," to help with wood identification.
The program is available from the online Apple iTunes application store. Currently, it includes 60 samples with detailed descriptions and reference information, and the promise of future free updates. Silberman created the application's content and partnered with a computer programmer at Double Dog Studios to formalize and launch the product.
"I've been on many job sites, especially historic preservation jobs, where people are looking at material and trying to determine what kind of wood is in a banister, for example, or a piece of trim. Everyone seems to have their own opinion on it, and everyone has a phone with them, so this quick reference can help with those answers," Silberman says.
While he originally created the program with woodworkers and carpenters in mind, Silberman says the majority of users tend to be designers and architects. He suspects fewer carpenters and woodworkers have iPhones. Nevertheless, hundreds of customers from around the world have already downloaded the product.
The user operates the program by scrolling through the available wood samples until a similar hue and grain pattern is found. The program also provides information such as where the tree grows, if it's considered sustainably harvested and how well the wood takes a finish.
Silberman says the program is hardly a replacement for a veneer sample reference book. "This is more of an aid that's always with you. You can have it with you all of the time to give you some starting point, then you can come back and look at your books to clarify or get a second opinion."
The program costs $2.99 to download. An additional 20 wood samples will added in the next update.
This article originally appeared in the December 2009 issue.