The HobbitHouse Ilustrated Glossary of Woodworking terms


This set of terms having to do with wood grain and wood figure and related terms is extracted from the general glossary shown here: GLOSSARY
and links that are not local to this subset will put you back in the main glossary

NOTE: inclusion of stain types (blue stain, etc.) in with these figure terms is explained with the term stain and
inclusion of terms having to do with wood texture is because those concepts are often closely related to grain (pores)

for images of wood itself, go here: wood id site

ambrosia --- (1) The name of a beetle that attacks some woods, particularly maple. Interestingly, this "group" of beetles is NOT a taxonomic group but rather a diverse range of otherwise unrelated beetles that share the characteristic that they have a symbiotic relationship with a particular fungus, called ambrosia fungus. It is this fungus that causes the discoloration found radiating up and down the grain from the holes that the beetle creates as it bores into the wood. Further, the beetles don't eat the wood, they excavate it; their point in digging into the wood is to deposit their larvae. These beetles do not normally kill the trees they bore into, but if a sufficiently large number of them use one tree, they can kill it because the fungal growth clogs up the flow of tree nutrients.
ambrosia --- (2) Wood attacked by the Ambrosia beetle, which leaves holes, around which there is a heavy discoloration of the wood caused by the fungus that lives in symbiosis with such beetles. This is something that happens most often in maple. I cannot at the moment think of any other species that it happens to but from all reports, these beetles burrow into lots of different types of trees. Here is a pic showing ambrosia maple in various forms. These planks and turnings all have a relatively high density of markings; it is more normal to see ambrosia maple with considerably fewer markings per area of wood than this, and solid wood with heavy ambrosia markings is highly prized by wood turners.

angel step --- Cutting across stumps of trees sometimes produces a staircase-like, somewhat curly figure, that is commonly called "angel step". This occurs most frequently in walnut, but may occur in other woods such as ash and maple. When book-matched, this figure can be particularly dramatic. For pics of several examples, see angel step pics. Here is a pic of (1) bookmatched angel step maple, (2) angel step walnut, and (3) angel step maple:

annual growth rings --- Trees in temperate climates grow at different rates during the seasons, ranging from exuberant early growth in the spring when the sap is flowing in the tree and in the early summer, to a slower late growth in the late summer and fall, becoming more dormant as the winter sets in, to essentially none in the winter itself. The early growth is also called "spring" growth and the late growth is also called "summer" growth. The early growth is typically wider, less dense, weaker, and more porous (in hardwoods) than the late growth and in many cases is significantly lighter in color. These seasonal growth spurts create differing cell structures which, when a tree is cut perpendicular to the axis of growth, show up as what are called "rings", for the obvious reason that they are, geometrically speaking, a series of concentric rings that start at the center of the tree and occur outward, one for every year of the tree's growth. NOTE: false rings occur in some species, sometimes due to a late frost, others due to unknown reasons.

Tree rings can be counted to tell how old a tree is, and the size of the rings can tell a lot about the growth conditions of their year (e.g. drought years as opposed to plentiful rain years). By working with long-dead trees, whose growth rings ended many years ago, and overlapping them with trees whose earliest growth rings happened before the older tree died, scientists have been able to date some events back for several thousand years.

Trees that grow in tropical zones (that is geographic regions where there is little change in climate throughout the year) grow pretty much the same amount every day throughout the year and consequently have little variation in texture. In some tropical zone species (e.g. black gum and sweet gum) and many tropical species, particularly those whose growth ranges do not get too far from the equator, annual growth rings can be anything from very hard to detect to essentially non-existent.

Growth rings have both micro and macro characteristics. The micro characteristic has to do with the SIZE of the pores in the ring (see open pore and closed pore) and the macro characteristic has to do with the SPACING of the rings themselves (see tight grained and loose grained). For more pictures of wood with varying intensities of growth rings, see growth ring pics

back cut --- [noun] see felling cut
back cut --- [adj] synonymous with flat cut

bark inclusion --- An isolated area in wood, largely made up of bark that has grown into the sapwood of a tree. This can be caused by irregular growth or due to damage to a tree. Bark inclusions are unsound and usually cause distortion of the surrounding wood grain. The bark area is frequently completely overgrown over time by new growth and thus seems to exist magically inside the tree with no link to the outer bark. They are usually fairly shallow and are also called bark pockets. Some species, such a American black cherry, commonly have bark inclusions.

basket weave --- A type of block mottle figure to which vendors sometimes give this name because it looks a lot like a woven basket. I've seen it most often eucalyptus but it occurs occasionally in a few other woods including makore. The distinctions among the terms basket weave, block mottle, and razor mottle are often somewhat subjective and/or mis-applied. Example (in eucalyptus):

bastard cut --- synonymous with rift cut

bear claw --- A particular type of figure. It is NOT actually caused by a bear scratching the tree although it looks somewhat as though it might be, thus the name. It is actually caused in hardwoods by the spiky form of indented grain and in softwoods by the normal form of indented grain. Examples:

bear scratch --- synonymous with bear claw

bee's wing --- A small-scale, very tight, mottle figure is sometimes referred to as "bee's wing" figure due to the similarity with what the wing of a bee looks like. Technically, it is irregular ray waviness on a radial face. East Indian satinwood is extremely well known for having this figure, and it also occurs occasionally in narra, mahogany and eucalyptus. So when is a figure "block mottle" and when is it "bee's wing" ... well, pretty much whenever a particular dealer decides that's what they want to call it. Actually, a bee's wing is somewhat like a razor mottle that has been jumbled up and then reduced in size. Below is a composite pic with bee's wing figure in (1) santos rosewood, (2) eucalyptus, (3) eucalyptus again , and (4) andiroba. To see more pics of wood with this figure, click here: bee's wing pics

bird's eye --- A few woods (most notably hard maple but also anigre and a few other hardwoods) sometimes have large numbers of small round or elliptical "defects" that do indeed resemble the eyes of birds. This is caused by local fiber distortions but I have not found any explanation of WHY these fiber distortions develop. The density of the eyes ranges from sparse to dense, and the definition of "dense" frequently depends on the greed and/or honesty of a seller, so this is not a good figure to buy sight unseen. A good, truly dense, bird's eye maple board can make a spectacular addition to a project; it is very popular for jewelry boxes.

When cut into veneers, the logs are most often rotary cut or half-round sliced (in an arc) to produce the most uniform distribution of nice round eyes. There are a few woods that are sold as "bird's eye" with a density of eye figure so low as to make the term a joke. Zebrawood in particular comes to mind for this. I have seen zebrawood veneer sold as "bird's eye" due to having literally 8 to 10 eyes in an area of 5 or 6 square feet.

Below is a composite pic of 6 pieces of bird's eye maple veneer ranging from low density to high density. In each, the area shown is about 4 inches wide . To see more pics of bird's eye wood, click here: bird's eye pics

blister --- (1) A small raised surface area, similar in appearance to the blisters that occur on human skin, usually on veneer (not as wood figure but as a raised bubble of mechanical origin) or a thin laminate, or the surface of a finishing agent such as paint, and resulting from insufficient adhesive, inadequate curing, trapped moisture, an air bubble, etc.
blister --- (2) [little used] synonymous with quilted
blister --- (3) Wood figure that results when there is an uneven contour of annual growth rings and a log is rotary cut. The veneer, while smooth, appears to be covered with blisters. This is a term that, like many wood figure terms, is used very loosely by vendors and should be taken with some skepticism. You will often not be able to discern why a vendor used the term blister instead of pomelle. Blister occurs mostly in West African redwoods such as African mahogany, sapele and makore. Here are examples of blister figure in a few woods, or at least that is the description given to these by their vendors. The imbuia pics are mine but the other two are from a vendor who always makes her wood look shiny whether it is or not. To see more pics of blistered wood, click here: blister pics.

block mottle --- A form of wood figure (specifically, a form of mottle figure) in which the mottle is moderately well organized and has moderately well defined edges. If it is less organized it is "normal" mottle (aka "broken mottle") and if it is more strongly organized and/or has sharper edges, it is called razor mottle. Below is a pic of block mottle makore veneer. The distinctions among the terms basket weave, block mottle and razor mottle are often somewhat subjective and/or misapplied, and to make matters worse, some forms of quilted figure are very similar to block mottle. To see more pics of block mottle, click here: block mottle pics. In the composite image below, the piece on the left is clearly block mottle, the one in the middle could agruably be called quilted, and the one on the right could agruably be called razor mottle.

blue stain --- Also called "sapstain", this is a form of biodegrade in wood caused by a fungus that under certain conditions will spread into wood once the tree is removed from the stump (or sometimes when injured). The fungus eats nutrients found primarily in the sap, so it usually only occurs in the sapwood and not the heartwood. It does not occur in live trees because live sapwood does not contain enough oxygen to sustain the fungus. The color is the fungus itself rather than a chemically induced change in the color of the sapwood, and the presence of the stain does not in any way degrade the integrity of the cell structure (that is, it does not weaken the wood at all) and thus its presence does not count against wood in the grading process. Once present, its effect can be somewhat mitigated, but it cannot be removed completely. It is common in pine and maple but also occurs in many other woods such as anigre and aromatic red cedar. The color is usually blue but may also be gray and or even dark gray verging on black. The fungus can reach a tree as airborne particles or it can be deposited on them by flying insects, such as the pine beetle, which in turn gets it from the air or from another tree.

There are extensive articles on the internet discussing it and how to avoid it and even how to reduce its effect (but again, once it's there you can't get rid of it totally --- you need to avoid it during drying). It does not normally start to affect logs for many days, sometimes weeks or more, and of course, usually does not occur at all, but it CAN start immediately after cutting and have a pronounced affect within just a few days. One of my correspondents who uses a lot of aromatic red cedar tells me that it commonly occurs in that species within days of the tree being cut down. Below is a piece of aromatic red cedar with blue stain. For other pics of wood with blue stain, see blue stain pics.

broken mottle --- a little-used term that is synonymous with mottle

broken strip --- synonymous with bee's wing

brown stain --- (1) A wood stain caused during kiln drying due to oxidization on or just under the surface of the wood. The staining is most likely to occur when fresh, unseasoned lumber is stacked and stored for several days during warm or humid weather prior to kiln drying. It is particularly likely when high kiln temperatures are used.
brown stain --- (2) A rich brown to deep chocolate-brown discoloration of the sapwood of some pines caused by a fungus that acts much like the blue-stain fungus.

burl --- A wart-like, deformed growth on the trunk or root and sometimes even the branches of a tree, caused by (1) an injury to, or (2) and infection in, the tree just under the bark, or (3) the existence of an unformed bud which has all the genetic material necessary to grow a full branch, or even a whole tree, but which for some reason did not grow properly. In any case, the result is that the tree cells divide and grow excessively and unevenly in a process somewhat analogous to cancer cells in a mammal. Burls are sometimes called tumors on wood, although I'm not aware of their ever being fatal. Trees with burls continue to grow otherwise normally.

Continued growth follows the contour of the original deformity, producing all manner of twists, swirls and knots in the wood fiber. Usually, this results in wood that has a spectacular pattern that can be used to great effect in woodworking, and sometimes it is also accompanied by the creation in the burl of dormant buds which create eyes that make the burl even more spectacular when worked.

Burl wood is usually darker than the rest of the tree and in some cases (Paela comes to mind) may be a significantly different color altogether. Because of the diverse grain direction, burl wood cannot be relied on for strength, but that's of little consequence since burls are prized for beauty, not strength.

Burl wood can be difficult to dry without cracking. Sometimes there are bark inclusions in burls, and also sometimes gum pockets and other voids, any of which can cause surface defects when the burl is worked. Root burls are particularly prone to voids. In some species of wood, gum pockets are common in any burl found on the tree.

Burls come in all sizes and shapes from golf-ball and smaller to hundreds of pounds of massive growth on the side of a large tree. Burls as large as 4 feet by 8 feet have been reported as have trees with hundreds of small burls. On really large trees, such as the redwood, burls commonly exist that are large enough to be used to create veneer. Burl veneer frequently does not stay flat after cutting and has to be moistened and clamped flat before and/or during application.

A couple of commonly identified types of burl figure are Cat's paw and cluster burl. Cat's paw is frequently found in cherry and cluster burls are found in a number of species. Most often, burls have no sub-designation and occur in a large number of species. Common burl species include redwood, oak, ash, maple, madrone, elm and walnut. Some exotics with very popular burls are mappa (poplar burl), thuya and imbuia, and there are MANY more.

Below is a composite pic with several burls which just scratches the surface of the enormous variety of figure that exists in burls. For a look at more burls, click here: burl pics

burning bush --- see feather crotch

button --- A reference (sometimes used somewhat as "button figure") to large ray flakes

cathedral grain --- The effect in some flat cut planks where the grain lines form a U- or V-shape. In veneer this is called crown cut. Examples:

cat's paw --- A type of cluster burl where there is an isolated group of small eyes that fall more or less in the shape of a cat's paw. Below is one example and to see more, click here: cat's paw pics.

chemical stain --- A chemical discoloration of wood that is believed to be caused by the concentration and modification of extractives. This may occur as part of the tree growth or it may occur as a drying defect in kiln drying, due to the heat of the drying process.

clear vertical grain --- A lumber grading term that means no knots ("clear") and with the annual growth rings perpendicular to the face of the plank ("vertical grain"), which of course means quartersawn. As with the term quartersawn, You can get into religious arguments about whether it means "true" quartersawn, that is, growth rings at or VERY near to, 90 degrees to the face, or whether instead it is meant to include any angle up to [add your own choice of definition here]. Personally, I'm an engineer and to me something that leans over, say 30 degrees, is absolutely NOT vertical, but in woodworking 30 degrees would be well within many definitions of quartersawn.

closed grain --- NOTE: the word here is "closed" as in "not open", not "close" as in "not far apart" --- this distinction is important because of the similar term "closegrained". It means that the pores in the wood are closed (and usually small as well, although there can be large closed pores such as those in white oak which are technically "open" in size/configuration but which are "closed" because they are blocked by tyloses) and is generally meant to be synonymous with fine textured, although when discussing the finishing characteristics of wood, fine textured [if applicable] is a more appropriate term than closed grained since a wood with closed pores is not automatically fine textured. NOT to be confused with close grained which has to do with growth ring spacing, not texture. Contrast to open grained (open pores). Example:

closed pore --- synonymous with closed grain

close grained --- NOTE: the word here is "close" as in "not far apart", not "closed" as in "not open" --- this distinction is important because of the similar term "closed grain"
close grained --- (1) synonymous with tight grained and generally synonymous with fine grained. Compare/contrast to open grained and loose grained.
close grained --- (2) Sometimes used, incorrectly I believe, as a synonym for fine textured and the reason I believe it to be incorrect in that sense is that a wood that has close annual growth rings does not automatically have fine texture (although it usually will). I think this is a use where the user has gotten it confused with closed grain, which sometimes DOES go with fine texture.

cluster burl --- A localized section of burl that is isolated by normal wood from any other area of burl. There is one particular configuration of cluster burl that is known as cat's paw figure. Below is a pic of maple veneer with a cluster burl:

coarse grained --- (1) Refers to wood that has large, open (i.e. coarse) pores (see open pore. Compare/contrast to fine grained and medium grained. coarsegrained --- (2) [less frequent use] Refers to wood that has widely spaced growth rings (see loosegrained.

coarse textured --- having a rough surface, often caused by, or at the very least accompanied by, large open pores. Compare/contrast to fine textured and medium textured.

color variations --- All woods exhibit some degree of variation in the color produced by a single species, due to variations in growing conditions such as soil composition. Also, many species have color variation between early wood and late wood. However, with some species it is quite common to have considerable variation of color within a localized area of a single tree and this can often be exploited to good effect by the craftsman.

cross figure --- synonymous with crossfire

crossfire --- A general term applied to all the various types of figure markings in wood that run across the grain and which are generally caused by interlocked grain, such as mottle, curly, and fiddleback. I have seen some definitions that restrict crossfire to just mottle figure, and others that restrict it to just curly figure, but I believe those are incorrect usage based on ignorance (on the other hand, it could well be that I'm the ignorant one; it's been known to happen).

crotch --- The area where two trunks of a tree join together or the area when a branch joins the trunk of a tree. In such areas, the wood is under extra strain and creates tension wood The tension wood merges into normal wood as you move away from the crotch area, so crotch wood frequently exhibits an extreme degree of grain variation. The tension process that strengthens the tree so it can support the branch causes the wood fibers to twist and compress, creating various figures and grains that can be very beautiful. Unlike burls, crotches have grain that, while quite distorted, is basically the same grain as the other wood in the tree and does not tend to the extreme swirls and eyes of burl wood, but even so, crotch wood can be wonderful to behold.

Crotch wood is typically harder and more dense than a straight grained portion of the same tree. Depending on the appearance, a crotch may be called a flame crotch or a feather crotch (and less frequently as "plume", "roostertail" or "burning bush") and frequently the crotch area is somewhat symmetrical on both sides of the branch so that a crotch piece cut parallel to the trunk of the tree will produce a look similar to that of book matching. Terms such as "feather" and "flame" should not be relied on if you haven't actually seen the wood, as they are used VERY freely. I've seen one gun-stock maker who openly states on his web site that he always calls all crotches flame crotches because "it sounds more impressive". I assume that the stupidity that makes him think dishonesty is worthwhile also prevents him from realizing that advertising his dishonesty isn't really a good idea.

In veneers, crotch sheets are seldom found in large sizes (although I have seen some HUGE mahogany crotch sheets --- I'm talking 3 feet by 5 feet), and mahogany and walnut species dominate the field of crotch veneers because they are the main trees that consistently produce large crotch areas. In mahogany, enough veneer has been produced to be able to establish grain pattern types. Thus one can select a swirl, a feather, a rat-tail, and others. Mahogany has always been the classic crotch because of consistency, size, and soundness. The price range is moderate to expensive.

For a look at some crotches, click here: crotch wood pics

crown cut --- A veneer cutting technique that is reported variously as being either identical to flat cutting or as a very slight variation on flat cutting wherein the wood is not sliced exactly tangential to the growth rings but rather at a slight angle so as to provide a cathedral grain figure (U- or V-shaped arches in the wood grain). Although, as I said, some definitions show it as looking identical to flat cutting, I believe that their intent is that it not be actually called crown cutting unless it produces a cathedral figure. Depending on the tree growth, flat cutting in which the slicer is parallel to the pith but the growth rings actually taper inwards as the radius of the tree decreases with height, will produce cathedral figure because the growth rings are being cut at an angle in that case. In the composite pic below, there is white ash and red oak, both with a strong cathedral figure.

curly --- The word normally used to designate curly figure, which term is listed in this glossary as "curly figure" instead of just "curly" so as to distinguish it from "curly grain" which is a whole different thing.

curly figure --- Contortions in grain direction sometimes (interlocked grain) reflect light differently as one moves down the grain and this creates an appearance of undulating waves known as curly figure. It is frequently described as looking like a wheat field in a mild wind, or the rippled surface of sand just under the surf at the beach, and can be so strong an effect that your eyes will swear that a flat piece of wood has a wavy surface. Many species develop this figure, maple being a very common example. Stump sections of trees often produce a diagonal, staircase-like curl referred to as "angel step" figure, and a rolling curl figure that is sometimes called "cross-fire". An extreme form of curly figure is called "fiddleback". The amount of curl in a wood sold as "curly" can range from almost none to truly spectacular, so this is not a term to be trusted via mail order purchasing. Below is a composite pic with numerous species with curly figure. To see more pics of wood with curly figure, click here: curly wood pics.

curly grain --- synonymous with wavy grain. If used as a synonym for curly figure then it is being used incorrectly.

cut type --- The type of cut made in a log to produce boards and planks. These include:

demarcation --- A term referring to the point of separation of two parts. In woodworking it is used to describe the boundary between heartwood and sapwood, and less often to describe the boundary between earlywood and latewood so you will see phrases such as "razor-sharp demarcation" meaning that the separation between the two is very distinct. It isn't always very sharp, as you can see in these examples of heartwood/sapwood boundaries. The zircote, cocobolo, and blackwood have very sharp demarcations and the black walnut and white oak have very vague demarcations and the rest of them are somewhere in the middle.

edge grain --- synonymous with side grain and does NOT have the same meaning as edge grained.

edge grained --- synonymous with quartersawn because in quartersawn planks, the "flat" face (that is, the tangential surface) is actually on the edge of the plank, not on the wide face as it is on flat cut planks. Compare/contrast to side grain, end grain, and face grain.

end grain --- The wood grain as seen looking along a line parallel to the centerline up and down the tree (looking into the end of a plank, as opposed to the side or face). The end grain of a board has significantly different absorption characteristics from the face and edge, and consequently some finishing agents (such as stains in particular) can look VERY different on the end grain than on the face or edge. All of the edges of panels made of composite material are effectively end grain and should be thought of as such when applying finishing agents. The characteristics of end grain in wood are the more readily available anatomical features in wood that are of great use in identifying species. Compare/contrast to side grain, edge grain, edge grained, and face grain.

face grain --- The wood grain as you look directly onto the face of a plank or panel, although in common use it generally carries with it an implication of flat cut as opposed to quartersawn. That is, the term is sometimes used to mean the flat cut face of a board even if that fat cut face is actually the edge of a quartersawn board. Compare/contrast to side grain, edge grain, edge grained, and end grain.

feather crotch --- [also called "flame crotch"] A particularly attractive crotch area that looks a bit like a feather or a flame. Whether a crotch area is called a feather crotch or a flame crotch is entirely up to the vendor, many of whom are overly optimistic about the extent to which their merchandise deserves the designation. I've seen one gun-stock maker who states on his web site that he always calls all crotches flame crotches because "it sounds more impressive". Below are a couple of black walnut crotches that are either flame or feather, take your pick. My pick is that the one on the left is feather and the one on the right is flame, but when I made that decision I was favoring my left leg and squinting in my right eye so you might see it differently. A term that is sometimes used with feather/flame crotches is "rat-tail" which refers to the central spine of the crotch. I find the term "rat-tail figure" to be ridiculous since the rat-tail being referenced is just a part of the crotch.

Three other terms that I have found, that purportedly are used as synonymous with feather crotch, are "rooster tail", "plume", and "burning bush", HOWEVER ... in almost every case that I have found these, the three terms have been used in that sequence with EXACTLY the same phrasing. My conclusion is that someone on the Internet put up a definition using those terms and it got copied several times. I've never seen any of the terms actually used with wood for sale and I do not consider the sources where I found them to be reliable.

Examples of feather crotch:

fiddleback --- Curly figure in wood (and fiddleback is just a variation of curly figure) is caused by contortions in grain direction (interlocked grain) such that light is reflected differently at different portions of the grain, creating an appearance of undulating waves, also called a washboard effect because it looks like an old corrugated steel washboard. "Fiddleback" figure is a form of curly figure where the curls are very tight and fairly uniform, generally running perpendicular to the grain and across the entire width of a board. The name comes from the fact that such wood became popular to use on the backs of violins (fiddles), and nowadays guitars, because the figure is frequently very lively and attractive and such wood generally has good resonance properties. It is also commonly used on drums and also for architectural panels. Logs for fiddleback veneers are quartersawn to produce very straight grain with curls running perpendicular to the grain and uninterrupted from edge to edge of the veneer sheet.

Some reports claim that a tree which buttresses itself against north winds will have compressed annual growth rings in the area facing north and expanded rings facing south and that the stress in the compressed rings is believed to cause the fiddleback figure. I have no idea whether this is true.

Many species develop this figure, but the most common ones are maple, makore, anigre, and "English Sycamore" (which is actually a form of maple). Some of the prettiest versions occur in claro walnut and koa. There are woods (laurel comes to mind) that have a figure that is technically a true fiddleback figure, but which is so light as to be almost indiscernible, and there are others that have fiddleback figure that only runs for a few inches of width in a plank although it may run the full length. None of these marginal figures would actually be used on the back of a fiddle, so application of that name to them is purely technical and/or a marketing ploy and should not be taken seriously. Also, plain curly is sometimes mislabeled fiddleback and true fiddleback is sometimes labeled as just curly, depending on the whims of the vendor. Below is a composite pic showing several different species with fiddleback figure. For other pics of fiddleback figured wood, see fiddleback pics.

A note about "grain" and "figure". These terms are sometimes used interchangeably in a way that I believe to be incorrect. In this glossary, I take a point of view which I believe is the "correct" one, but I want to acknowledge that it is opposed to that taken by some, including a man whom I consider very much my better in regards to knowledge of wood and that is Dr. Bruce Hoadley who has written two books that are widely, and I believe appropriately, considered to be the definitive works in their field. These are "Identifying Wood" and "Understanding Wood". On this particular issue, I have a strong and supportable reason for differing with Dr. Hoadley.

For a full discussion of the two points of view, and the statistics that validate my own point of view, click here: figure vs grain. I don't put the whole thing right here because this box is already too big.

Had this difference of opinion been with anyone other than Dr. Hoadley, I would simply have ignored them and gone on my way and would not have subjected my readers to this diatribe. However, I think that regarding ANY other information about wood, anyone who ignores Dr. Hoadley is being foolish. As young people say these days, when it comes to knowledge about wood, "He da man".

figure --- the "look" of a piece of wood. There are numerous wood characteristics that go into creating the figure, and there are numerous specific types of figure that are created due to one or more of those characteristics. Listed below are the major causal characteristics of figure and then the major types of figure, but with only a brief definition of each. Each is a URL that you can click on to go to a more full definition. Some of the causal characteristics and the figure types have the same names, so some terms appear in both lists below. I'm being very broad here in my definition of "figure" as the "look" of wood. For example, metal stain is not normally considered "figure" but it is something that affects the "look" of wood so I've included it here (doesn't seem like too much of a stretch since other stains ARE considered part of figure).