What makes wood beautiful
Luster in the light
A wood that has luster reflects light from its cell walls and appears to have a natural sheen. But any infiltrates in a wood's cell walls that give it color reduce its luster. Because of this, light-colored hardwoods will have luster, as does the light sapwood of darker hardwoods. Lack of luster, however, does not mean that a wood won't take a high polish when finely sanded, then buffed. Finishing also adds luster.
In general, quartersawn wood has more luster than flatsawn, as with white oak. The ray flecks in white oak exposed by this manner of cutting reflect light. Too, woods with lots of figure, such as curly and fiddleback maple, display added luster due to the cell walls' changing angle to the light.
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