Helpful Terms to Know

Ambrosia Maple

Pattern and discoloration in maple resulting from fungus brought on by a burrowing ambrosia beetle

Bird's Eye Maple

Pattern of small rounded spots shown as a random occurrence

Board Foot

Measure of volume (i.e. 1"x12"x12" or 2"x 6"x12"= 1 board ft


Whorl type pattern resulting from injury or growth on tree


Darkening of wood through heat process


Arched like grain revealed in plain saw cuts

Clear Grade

Most even color and least amount of defects

Closed Grain

Small wood pores

Cross Cut

Cut across the grain


Produced when longitudinal cells grow in waves as random occurrence


Concave shape resulting from excessive moisture problems

Early Wood (spring wood)

Rapid part of annual growth of tree (lighter and wider part of grain)


Figuring exposed when cut parallel to medullary rays, most notably in oak

FlameĀ (also, known as fiddleback or curly)

Wavy figuring that runs parallel to the grain caused by distortion in growth of wood fibers


Natural darkening of wood through exposure to ammonia fumes, most notable in woods with high tannin content such as white oak


Deciduous broad leaf trees


Center (non-functioning) part of tree producing darker wood

Growth Rings

Concentric rings of wood resulting from annual speed of growth


Determined by color variation and amount of defects including amount and size of knots

Janka Hardness

Density measured by compression of steel ball 1/4" into surface of wood


Markings originated from where a branch grew on the tree

Late Wood (summer wood)

Slow part of annual growth of tree (darker and more narrow part of grain)


Process of white finish applied to open grained surface of wood, primarily in oak

Lineal foot

Measurement of length of foot

Live Edge (cambium)

Located directly beneath the bark where wood growth is generated

Medullary Rays

Tissues formed radially across annual rings, most obvious in oak

Open grain

Large wood pores

Plain (Flat) Sawn

Cut parallel to grain direction and tangent to growth rings, produces most usable amount of lumber

Quarter Sawn

Cut parallel to grain direction but through the radius of growth rings

Rift Sawn

Cut perpendicular to grain direction and growth rings which produces a very lineal pattern

Rough Sawn

Planks that haven't been squared or smoothed


Outer (vital) growth of tree producing lighter wood

Skip Planed

Partially planed side exposing wood grain


Coniferous (produces cones) trees


Discoloration producing fine irregular lines that are caused by fungal decay, most common in maple and oak

Square Foot

Measurement of 12" x 12" area


Biological classification that shares certain characteristics


Deviation from flat surface often caused by moisture considerations