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Finding the figure in timber

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LyNx

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As i understand it (tell me when i'm wrong) but it's the way you cut the log, to how the figure comes out. If this is the case, what if you buy preprepared boards (100x32mm).

The reason for asking is, i'm made a photo frame to suit an A3 photo of our little one and a very slight figure was present in one of the sides. I would like to make a few more frames but i would like to have the figure.

Andy
 

Chris Knight

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Andy,
The way wood is cut will have a great effect on the resulting figure. Figure is the result of the way the grain intersects the cut surface, so the angle at which the surface intersects the grain is important.

In quartsawn wood. the intersection angle is zero or close to it. With "end grain" the intersection is at 90 degrees. Most wood bought as sawn timber is supplied as sawn through and through which results in essentially random intersection angles which may or may not produce desirable figure. The likelihood of desirable figure occurring is thus a function of the species as well inasmuch the variability of the grain has a big impact on how it will intersect a plain surface. Thus contrasting elm with a straight grained timber like beech or cherry say, one will see a lot more patterning with the elm which is very cross grained.

In quartersawn oak, another factor is important (and in a few other species too) which is how the parenchyma rays (running radially from the heart out to the sapwood) appear. in oak, they are what give the characteristic fleck in QS cut wood.
 

johnjin

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Hi Chris
Thanks very much for that explanation. It has finally sunk into my thick skull. The difference between quarter sawn and through and through. Your explanation using the oak and the flecks really brought it home to me.
All the best
John
 

LyNx

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Thanks for the reply Chris. Little bit too much to take in at the moment but i get the rough idea. nWill have to dig out a drawing

Andy
 

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