Swirls in wood are referred to as figure. In the woodworking industry, figure is most often referred to as the variety of grain patterns and specific visual characteristics that arise within a piece of wood.
Generally speaking, figure will often appear within a tree in the form of any number of curls, burls, quilting, mottles, wavy or comb grain patterns, tiger stripes, and bird’s eyes. All of these various swirly patterns are often referred to as figure, and why no two pieces of wood are alike in terms of visual qualities.
This uniqueness makes woodworking an interesting, varied and rewarding craft – every time a new piece of wood is acquired, it is a mini-adventure in discovery. If you have never seen a piece of wood with figure, it is definitely worth the effort to seek some out – the varying range of swirls and grain patterns can be quite fascinating to observe.
What are the lines in wood?
The lines in wood refer to the particular pattern or grain created by its growth rings, knots, rays, and streams of cells. The grain is the result of a tree’s biology—how the cells are arranged in the tree and how they respond to moisture, temperature, and light—which creates unique patterns in wood used for furniture, musical instruments, cabinetry, and other woodwork.
The grain is made up of two distinct components; the rays (also known as medullary rays) and the streams of cells. These two parts together form a unique pattern in the wood, which is often referred to as the grain.
The terms “line” and “grain” are often interchangeable when referring to the pattern. Additionally, the term “grain” can refer to the pattern as well as the direction of the lines in the pattern.
How do you describe the texture of wood?
The texture of wood can vary depending on the type of wood, but generally wood has a smooth, but slightly rough texture. It’s tactile, and inviting to touch. Wood is versatile in its grain pattern, strength and color, providing a wide range of variation in texture, as well.
Certain types of wood can be soft, while others may be coarse, even after being sanded. Wood aged with time may become increasingly smoother, while younger wood may still retain its natural graininess.
Wood can also be carved into, formed, and stained, further altering its texture and giving it added character.
What is a knot in wood?
A knot in wood is an incompletely encircled or partially formed branch, root, limb, or other imperfection that forms in growing trees. Knots affect the structural integrity of the wood and also can result in discoloration and other aesthetic defects.
Knots occur when a new section of wood formed in a tree intersects with and encircles a standing branch, trunk, root, or other part of the same tree. As the tree continues to grow, the incompletely closed ring of wood material resists treatment and continues to remain visible in the finished lumber.
In some cases, the group of associated knots may expand dramatically, creating geometric patterns and large visual features. Knots can be easily identified by their leopard-like spots, and the area between knots is referred to as the “clear” wood.
Low-grade knots are more common and typically detract from both the strength and appearance of the board. The size, shape, and number of knots affect the strength and utility of the timber and careful consideration must be taken when sawing and otherwise treating the lumber.
What type of wood has the grain?
Wood grain is determined by the structure of the wood cells and the way in which they are arranged. Different species of wood have different grain patterns, which can be either straight, cross-grain, wavy, or figured.
Many species of trees also have different grain pattern within the same species. Generally, softer woods such as pine and spruce have a straight, even grain pattern. Harder woods like maple, oak, and walnut have a more varied grain pattern.
This pattern can include both cross-grain and wavy grain, as well as knots, burls, and a “cathedral” grain pattern. The type of wood grain will affect the look and durability of the wood, particularly in visible areas like furniture pieces and wood flooring.
Which wood has grain?
Wood is a natural material that has grain lines which appear due to the arrangement of the wood fibers. Grains are actually the orientation, or arrangement of the fibrous strands that make up the wood.
Different tree species have different grain patterns because their fibers vary in size and arrangement. Furthermore, grain can even vary within the same species of tree. This pattern occurs because of the effect that the growth rate of the tree has on its grain.
For example, the slower the tree grows, the finer the grain.
Common woods that have prominent grain patterns include ash, oak, cherry, mahogany, walnut, and maple. The grain of these woods is easily visible and can help when selecting wood for a project. In general, wood with straighter grain lines are more desirable for furniture making, while wood with more pronounced grain lines is often used when making decorative pieces and sculptures.
How many types of wood are there?
There are thousands of different types of wood that exist in the world and can be used in various applications. The type of wood used typically depends on the purpose or application being served. Rare exotic hardwoods may have multiple uses while more common softwoods may be used mainly for construction purposes.
Broadly speaking, wood can be classified into two main types based on its hardness–hardwood and softwood. Hardwoods are the denser of the two and are typically found in deciduous (non-evergreen) trees such as oak, walnut, and mahogany.
Softwoods are usually found in coniferous trees, such as spruce and cedar, and are usually used for construction.
Aside from these two main types of wood, there are many other species that can be further classified based on their grain pattern, color, texture, and other characteristics. Some examples of popular wood types include maple, cherry, teak, Douglas fir, birch, ash, walnut, and bamboo.
What is the wood pattern called?
The wood pattern you’re referring to is called a parquet floor. It is a geometric mosaic of wood pieces used to create a decorative design or pattern. It has a history that dates back to the 17th century and is still popular today.
Parquet floors can be created in many different designs, but the traditional style is composed of small, rectangular pieces of wood that are fitted together like a jigsaw puzzle. The pattern can be made up of a variety of different wood species, from maple to walnut, and it can be stained or even painted in any color.
Parquet floors can be made from solid wood or from prefabricated wood tiles. Such as its durability, classic style, and ease of maintenance, making it an attractive option for home décor.
What is spiral grain?
Spiral grain is the look and feel of the grain lines that appear along the length of a piece of wood. This pattern often looks like a spiral or a helix twirling around the wood and is created by the cutting path of the log when it is sawn.
Spiral grain can be seen most commonly in large posts or beams but can often be found in smaller pieces of wood as well. Generally, wood with spiral grain is more stable and stronger than wood with a straight grain pattern.
In addition, pieces of wood cut from trees that were tightly bent when they grew can often present unique spiral grain patterns that can be beautiful in craft projects or pieces of furniture.
What does teak wood look like?
Teak wood is a hardwood that is popular among woodworkers and furniture makers due to its durability and attractive look. The colors found in teak wood can range from light golden brown to a dark reddish-brown.
The sapwood is usually a lighter tan or yellow color, while the heartwood is a deeper, golden brown. The grain of teak wood is straight and even and has a fine to medium texture and a natural luster that gives it a golden appearance.
Teak wood also has an oily feel with very distinctive and unique scent and is often referred to as “oily wood”. Even though it can be harder to work with than other woods, it’s ideal for crafting furniture that can withstand all types of weather and climates and still keep lasts for a long time.
How do you identify poplar wood?
Poplar wood can be identified by its light color, its straight, tight grain, and the faint scent of mint that it can sometimes have. The light color can range from a creamy white to a light yellowish-tan.
Poplar wood also has a uniform texture with a slightly waxy feel and a characteristic sheen. While the grain of poplar wood is usually straight, it may sometimes appear interlocked in highly figured pieces.
Additionally, poplar wood has a low density and can be easily work with both hand and power tools, making it easily identifiable by its relative softness and light weight. On rare occasions, poplar wood can even have a faint, pleasant scent of mint.
Does pine wood have a grain?
Yes, pine wood does have a grain. Many woods, like pine, have a distinct grain pattern created by the arrangement of the cells which contain the sapwood and heartwood. Grains can be straight, wavy, interlocked, or spiral, depending on the species of the tree from which the wood is cut.
Additionally, if the tree was disturbed or experienced stress during its growth, such as strong winds, the grain is likely to be more irregular or ‘wild. ‘ Therefore, as with most woods, pine wood has a grain.
Is oak open or closed grain?
Oak is a coarse grained hardwood with strong, open pores, typically called an open grain wood. Oak’s open grain is made up of large pores that look like rows of small tubes, giving it a distinctive pattern.
Unlike softer woods such as pine, it is more difficult to clearly see the growth rings in oak, making the grains appear smoother. Oak lumber that has been cut in the quarter and rift cut is typically used for furniture or flooring.
Rift cut oak has a particularly prominent grain pattern and is used to add character to a room.