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"THE LOOK OF PROCESSED WOOD"

There are numerous characteristics that go into creating the look of wood, both as it grows in, and then as it is cut from, a tree.
Listed below are the major types of LOOK that result from various combinations of these characteristics.
Each image is clickable and takes you to a more extensive definition.



cuts (the way wood is processed)


flat cut
--- cut parallel to the trunk and away from the pith


quartersawn
--- the pith of the log is in the plane of the cut


rift cut
--- part way between flat cut and quartersawn (mostly used on oaks)


rotary cut
--- swirly figure in veneer (NOT planks) caused by rotary cutting
(a rotating cut around the circumference of a log)


cathedral grain
--- flat cut in a way that creates an arched pattern (also called crown cut)


crotch
--- the area where two trunks or a trunk and branch join



stains (various types)


blue stain
--- fungus in sapwood

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brown stain --- two types, one fungal, one due to kiln drying

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chemical stain --- due to concentration and modification of extractives

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gray stain --- an oxidization process


mineral stain
--- minerals from the soil carried up in the sap


metal stain
--- due to moisture plus contact with ferrous metal


white rot
--- a particular form of fungal attack that leaves a white stain


water stain
--- due to water



GRAIN (various types)


interlocked grain
--- grain changes directions over growing seasons


irregular grain
--- grain varies significantly from the normal straight grain



straight grain
--- simple straight grain up and down the tree


wavy grain
--- wood fibers run in a wavy pattern



wood tissue structure characteristics
extensive illustrated discussions in wood anatomy


growth rings
--- the annual growth rings with earlywood / latewood


growth ring porosity
(ring porous, semi ring porous, diffuse porous)


growth ring pore distribution
(radial strands, dendritic groups, wavy bands, etc)


various types of parenchyma


rays
--- strips of cells that radiate horizontally inside the trunk of a tree


tyloses
---- tissue that fills up the pores in some woods (white oak, black locust, etc.)


heartwood /sapwood --- sharpness of the demarcation between the two



FIGURE (various types)


ambrosia
--- heavy streaking induced by the ambrosia beetle's boring


angel step
--- staircase figure that occurs in some cuts of tree stumps


bear claw / bear scratch
--- looks like the wood was scratched by a bear (mostly occurs in maple)


bird's eye
--- lots of little "eye" spots


blister
--- lots of little "blisters"


burl
--- usually wild and swirly and/or with lots of eyes and localized clumping of cell groups


cat's paw
--- a type of cluster burl, rather obviously named


clear
--- having no knots or flaws


cluster burl
--- an isolated grouping of burl figure


curly
--- looks like rumpled cloth
NOTE: with some woods, maple in particular, the term "tiger" means the same thing


feather crotch
--- a particular form of crotch figure (also called flame crotch)


fiddleback
--- an intense cross-grain curl


flaky
--- shows heavy ray flakes


flame
--- has three unrelated meanings, depending on the wood
(1) box elder "flame" means it has the red streaks
(2) birch, maple, and some other, "flame" is synonymous with "curly"
(3) walnut, mahogany, and some others, "flame" is used to describe certain patterns in crotches


graft line
--- occurs in grafted trees


knotty
--- contains multiple knots


masur
--- a particular, odd, grain type that occurs in birch




mottle
(there are various forms of mottle, including several which are illustrated below)


basket weave
--- a type of block mottle that looks like the side of a basket


bee's wing
--- looks like tight razor mottle that has been broken up (literally, looks like a bee's wing)


block mottle
--- mottled with a fairly regular arrangement


mottled
--- mottled with a somewhat irregular arrangement (also called broken mottle)


razor mottle
--- fairly long, regular, very sharp mottles

end mottle



FIGURE (continued)


peanut shell
--- looks like peanut shells


pecky
--- elongated cavities cause by fungal attack and decay


pippy
--- looks like the wood has the measles


pomelle
--- like a puddle being hit by raindrops


quilted
--- looks like lots of air bubbles in water under glass


roey
--- same as striped (roey literally means "having rows") but not ribbon striped


ribbon stripe
--- looks like parallel ribbons running lengthwise (with the grain)


sausage quilt
--- quilted with somewhat elongated, parallel, "quilts" that look like tube sausage


spalted
--- figure caused by spalting (a fungal attack in dead sapwood)


special
--- a term applied to a particular form of figure in etimoe


swirl
--- swirly figure caused by near-crotch, rotary cutting, etc.

tiger --- a term that is sometimes used with some woods, maple in particuar, as synonymous with curly


waterfall
--- vague term, mostly used with two different kinds of bubinga, one quilted and the other rotary cut


wild
--- vague term for extreme figure


wormy
--- figure dominated by worm etchings or worm holes