The color, the arrangement of the rings and their position, the spread of knots, cracks, traces of pests and diseases, changes caused by fires and mechanical damage – all this contributes to the final appearance of wood and its value as a carpentry or joinery material. Each change in wood is a record of a fragment of the individual history of tree growth and its struggle with environmental factors.
Raw wood “defects”: primary and secondary
Each tree, during its individual growth, experiences a variety of external influences: it is exposed to high and low temperatures, strong winds, as well as pest and human interference. The moisture content and composition of the soil on which the tree grew, stand density and composition also have a significant impact on wood quality.
All known wood “defects” are divided into two groups:
Primary “defects” – caused during the growth of the tree, including, among others, thickening, curvature in the course of the trunk, cracks, traces of pest activity, multi-core, corks, convergence or excessive knotting,
Secondary “defects” – caused by improper handling or storage of wood, including, above all, discoloration associated with the development of fungi and mould. They may also occur as a result of improper seasoning or drying. It is worth knowing that cracks and micro cracks are also secondary defects.
It is worth knowing that there is no perfect wood, each piece is unique and different. Whether a change in wood will become its disadvantage or advantage is often determined by the way the material is used, as well as the knowledge and skills of the woodworker
Can a defect become an advantage of wood?
The most obvious example of the disadvantage of wood, which in certain circumstances becomes its advantage, are knots. In the case of structural wood, knots may turn out to be disqualifying (they weaken mechanical resistance), while used in the production of furniture, in many cases, they have a positive effect on the aesthetics of finished products.
Very good example of wooden-table top “defects” are unique knots located on the tables.
The art of woodworking
The final effect, i.e. the appearance of finished wood products, is greatly influenced by the ability to choose the material. Bearing in mind that there is no perfect wood, it is worth making an effort to choose the best possible raw material. A small number of knots, a simple course of rings, lack of noticeable discoloration and deep mechanical damage – these are the characteristics of good quality raw material. Their influence is very specific, for example, harmonious arrangement of the rings will provide greater dimensional stability of finished products. In case of purchasing lumber, the key are also: appropriate humidity and the way of storage and possible preservation (protecting against pests and fungus development).
Choosing the right wood and the ability to recognize its “defects” is an art that requires years of practice and experience. That is why it is worth to use the services of renowned professionals and not be guided solely by the price of the material
Keywords: wooden-table top defects, oak tables, oak wood, wood maintenance
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