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Generally, this refers to the darker colored fine lines that are seen on the surface of lumber. The alignment, texture, and overall appearance of the grain plays a big part in how a specific piece of wood will be used. All wood has grain, which is actually the annual growth ring that is revealed only after the wood has been cut. What’s more, the way in which timber is cut (i.e., flat-sawn, quarter-sawn, rift-sawn) will have an effect on the grain pattern. Most wood will display a simple straight grain pattern, but depending upon the individual tree, and the manner in which it has been cut, unusual grain alignments may be revealed, such as bird’s eye, quilted, or fiddleback. Strictly speaking, grain is not the same as the “figure” in a specific piece of wood, and may often run at a angle (typically 90-degrees) to the actual figuring. Certain tree species, such as maple, koa, and ash, are more highly valued because of their grain patterns and figuring and thus tend to be more expensive.

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