What makes wood beautiful
Grain is a term that's often misused. It does not refer to the natural pattern seen on the surface of wood. That's figure. Technically, grain means the orientation of the wood cells. Under that definition, there are six general types of grain.
- Straight grain indicates that the cells and fibrous components run completely or nearly parallel to the vertical plane of the tree trunk and the log that came from it.
- Irregular wood grain implies irregular variations from the parallel orientation of the grain to the log. This most often happens around knots.
- Diagonal grain describes what results when an otherwise straight-grained log is not sawn parallel to its vertical axis -- in other words, angled sawing.
- Spiral grain happens when the cells and fibers grow in a left or right twisted configuration around the trunk of a tree.
- Interlocked grain occurs when each successive layer of new growth on a tree runs in a different direction.
- Wavy grain is produced when the direction of the fibers alternate so that a board's surface looks like a washboard, as with the figure pattern of curly maple.
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