How to Assess & Optimize Wood Grain

In this lesson you’ll:

  • understand how wood grain affects appearance and function
  • learn to identify flatsawn and vertical grain lumber
  • see how shop-cut “veneer” can be used to make gorgeous panels and drawer faces

Now’s the time to start working with solid wood, so it’s wise to think about grain patterns. Many woodworkers start by looking at the face of a board when they’re checking out how good a piece of wood is, but if that’s where your investigations end, you’re missing out on insights that can lead to a lot of creative control. That’s because the appearance and behavior of solid wood has at least as much to do with something that’s best seen on the end of the board, not the face. The orientation of the growth rings of a tree relative to the face of the board as it was sawn exerts a big influence on how completed woodwork looks, as well as how it behaves in relation to moisture and humidity.

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