In woodworking, we’re generally concerned about the sapwood, heartwood, and annular rings (which is what we see as “grain pattern”). The slower a tree grew, the tighter the annular rings will be. If a tree grew quickly, it will have large growth rings and a large amount of sapwood. Trees that grew on hills, or under stress will have an off-center pith.
- Crotch Cut
When a log has a crotch section, such as the one shown above, laying it flat and cutting through the crotch will reveal compression figure, or “feathering.”
Bull’s Eye Cut
When a limb comes off the top of the log, and cuts are made though it, the resulting grain pattern will be a bull’s eye, or knot in the middle of the stock.
When “slabbing” a log, you’re left with a variety of different grain patterns. The top and bottom pieces will be “plain” or “flat” sawn. Next, will be the rift sawn material, where the growth rings are 45-60° to the face of the board. Finally, the center cuts will be quarter sawn, and the growth rings will be at 60-90° to the face of the board.