We love the natural grain, variation in colour and distinctive features in timber and how it makes every project unique. But do you know how the grain in timber is formed or how timber is graded by its characteristics?
Wood grain is the longitudinal arrangement of wood fibers or the pattern resulting from this. However the word grain is a "confusingly versatile term" with numerous different uses, including the direction of the wood cells (e.g., straight grain, spiral grain), surface appearance or figure, growth-ring placement (e.g., vertical grain), plane of the cut (e.g., end grain), rate of growth (e.g., narrow grain), and relative cell size (e.g., open grain).
Timber grading is the process by which timber is sorted into groups distinguished by selective characteristics such as knot size and frequency, colour, grain uniformity, gum veins, spirals, burls, insect trails and other features that give timber a unique character, as individual as a signature.
There are three grades that timber is sorted into by aesthetics:
Select grade has a minimum number of knots, sap streaks and other characteristics. It is straight grained and uniform in appearance.
Standard grade has a varied appearance, with knots, sap streaks, burls and other distinctive characteristics.
Character grade can best be described as rustic in appearance.
These grades do not say anything about the quality or durability of the timber. They are meant to be a guide to the aesthetic suitability of a timber.
All of our timber used to make panels is select grade which means it allows for random inclusions of small amounts of natural characteristics. We consider these small inclusions essential for the timber to truly exhibit its unique appearance.