Who does not love the beauty of hardwood floors? Or what about wood furniture? There is something about wood furniture that makes you feel warm and homey. Every piece of wood looks different because there are so many nuances that can change their look. Read this article, find out more.
There is nothing more beautiful than the look of natural wood. There was a time when all houses came with hardwood floors. These floors were sturdy and durable, but eventually people started covering those floors with carpet. However, the newest home improvement trend is to uncover the wood floors and allow their beauty to show.
There are many different types of wood grain patterns from which you can choose. If you want to find out more about the different wood grain patterns, continue reading this article!
Table of Contents
- What is Wood Grain?
- Types of Wood Grain Patterns
- History of Wood Grain Patterns
- What Are the Patterns in Wood Called?
- What Is the Hardest Type of Wood?
- How Do You Identify Different Types of Wood?
- How Many Different Types of Hardwood Are There?
- Can You Tell if Wood Has Been Quarter-sawn or Plain-sawn?
- What Type of Wood is Best for Your Furniture?
- What Type of Wood Floor is the Most Economical?
What is Wood Grain?
Wood grain is the arrangement or pattern of the fiber of a piece of wood. The pattern of grain is created when the wood is cut. A tree has rings that grow each year, specifically in the summer and springtime, called growth rings. When a tree is sawed, it is cut through the annual rings. The grain type varies based on how a tree is sliced. There are three different types of grains: curly, flat, and straight grain.
Types of Wood Grain Patterns
The Red Oak is found in the Eastern part of the US. It is one of the most abundantly growing trees in Eastern US forests. Since red oak trees are so abundant, their wood has one of the most widely used wood grain patterns. Red oak wood is often found in wood furniture, cabinetry, doors, and floors.
Red oak comes in a light to middle brown color, with a cast of red. The grain pattern is straight, with an uneven and coarse texture. This type of wood tends to be heavy and hard, with a medium bending strength and a high crush strength. Red oak wood does not resist insects well, and water easily stains it.
White Oak has a color that is light to medium brown with an olive cast. This wood grain pattern is straight with an uneven and coarse texture. White oak is incredibly durable, and has the distinct smell of oak. It has a tendency to react to iron and responds well to bending with steam.
White oak wood is abundant but does tend to be more expensive than red oak wood. However, it still tends to be affordable. White oak wood is beautiful and strong, easy to work with, and resists rot. It is used often for cabinetry and furniture, as well as in boat building, barrels, floors, and trim.
Sycamore wood comes in a light tan to white color, but sometimes can be a darker color that is closer to reddish-brown. Sometimes sycamore wood has a bit of a freckled look. The grain of a sycamore tree is interlocked, with a fine and even texture. It can appear a lot like maple wood.
Sycamore is not that durable of a wood. It does not resist decay, and tends to be susceptible to insects. It is easy to work by hand, but sometimes causes some problems on machines, and does not respond well to bending with steam. Sycamore wood is used for doors, furniture, paper, plywood, and wood veneer.
There are a few different types of Mahogany, but Cuban mahogany is the original widely used mahogany wood, and the one that pops into people’s heads when thinking about the mahogany grain pattern. This wood tends to be pink-brown to dark red-brown in color. The darker the color of the wood, means it is more dense, as mahogany darkens as it ages.
The grain pattern of mahogany can vary between straight, wavy, interlocked, or curly. Its texture tends to be uniform and has a natural moderate luster. Mahogany is easy to work with a machine and to sand. It is durable and resists insects. The older the tree was, the more durable its wood is. Mahogany wood is used for cabinetry, instruments, carvings, boats, furniture, and veneers.
Zebrano wood grain has alternating grains of a pale toffee and deep brown color, which give it a striated appearance. This wood grain resembles a zebra, which inspired its name. The zebrano wood grain stands out as an unusual looking wood. It is a stiff wood that resists rotting. Each item created with this wood grain looks unique because the wood grain’s distinct pattern. Zebrano wood is used for kitchen islands as a centerpiece of the entire space, especially for in modern kitchens.
Brazilian Rosewood varies in color from a dark chocolate brown to a light purple or red-brown color. This wood has dark streaks of contrasting color running throughout the wood grain. These streaks are often black, and create a unique grain pattern that is called a spider web. Brazilian rosewood has a uniformly coarse texture. The grain is straight, but sometimes can appear in a spiral, wavy, or interlocked grain.
Brazilian rosewod is durable and resists decay and insects. It has a rose-like smell when worked. Brazilian rosewood is easy to work, but it may dull the edge of the tools used on it. This type of wood contains a large amount of oil, so it may not respond well to glue. Brazilian rosewood is used for cabinetry, furniture, musical instruments, and small specialty wood items.
The wood from the makore tree is pink or reddish-brown in color, with streaks of mild variation. The wood grain pattern is typically straight, can sometimes appear curly or mottled. The texture is fine and even with a natural luster. The Makore is durable and resists insect attacks.
Makore wood is typically easy to work, but this wood, with its interlocked grain, can cause problems on a machine. Makore reacts when it comes into contact with iron, and it can blunt the tools that are used on it. Makore wood is commonly used for furniture, cabinetry, boats, flooring, musical instruments, and plywood.
Teak wood is usually a medium to golden brown color, and it darkens with age. The wood grain of teak is straight, though it can appear interlocked or wavy, as well. The texture is uneven and coarse, and it has a natural luster. When teak wood is unfinished and raw, it has a slightly oily feel, due to the oil the wood contains.
Teak wood still glues well despite its supply of oil. It is incredibly resistant to rot and decay and is super durable. When teak wood is milled, it releases the slightest scent of leather. Teak wood can dull the blade of the tools used on it. It is often used for boats and ships, furniture, construction, and carvings.
African padauk ranges vastly in color, from a pale orange-pink to a deep red that looks almost brown. This wood usually starts red-orange when first sawed, but darkens as it ages to a more red-brown. Its grain pattern is often straight, but may be interlocked. The texture of African padauk is open and coarse with a natural luster. This wood is resistant to decay and considered very durable, as it can resist insects and termites. African padauk wood is often used for musical instruments, the handles of tools, flooring, small wooden objects, and wood veneer.
Ebony wood is the darkest black, and it typically does not have a visible grain. It may have gray-brown or dark brown streaks within it. The grain of ebony wood is mostly straight, but there may be interlocked grains, as well. Ebony wood’s texture is even and fine with a natural luster. It is rated as very durable and resists all insects, including termites.
Ebony wood is difficult to work, partially due to its incredibly high density. This wood often dulls cutters that are used on it. Ebony wood has a high oil content that makes it difficult to glue. It finishes well and can be polished to a high luster. Ebony wood reacts well to bending via steam, and has an odor that is unpleasant but mild while being worked. It is often used on piano keys, musical instruments, carvings, and pool cues.
Those using bigleaf maple more often use its sapwood than its heartwood. Bigleaf maple sapwood is a white to off-white cream color, but sometimes it has a golden or red hue. Bigleaf maple heartwood is more a dark red-brown color. The wood grain of bigleaf maple is straight, but can be wavy. Sometimes it even appears in a quilted pattern.
Bigleaf maple wood has a texture that is even and fine. It is not durable, does not resist decay, and tends to burn when it is on a machine. It is often used for boxes, paper, musical instruments, and veneers.
Hard maple, like the bigleaf maple, uses the sapwood and not the heartwood of teh tree. Hard maple is similar to bigleaf maple in many other ways, as well. Its sapwood is also a white to off-white cream color, but sometimes has a golden or red hue, and the hard maple heartwood is more of a dark red-brown. Its wood grain is curly or quilted. Hard maple wood has a texture that is even and fine. It is not durable and does not resist decay.
All Maple woods tend to burn when it is on a machine. This wood may get blotchy when stained. Hard maple is often used for floorings. It’s often found on dance floors, bowling alleys, and basketball courts. Hard maple wood can also be used for cutting boards, butcher blocks, baseball bats, and workbenches.
Field maple, like the other maples, uses sapwood and not heartwood. Field maple is similar to the other types of maples in many ways. Like bigleaf and hard maple, field maple sapwood is a white to off-white cream color, but sometimes has a golden or red hue, with heartwood that is more dark red-brown in color. The field maple wood grain is curly or quilted, with an even and fine texture. Also like the other maples, this wood is not durable and does not resist decay, and tends to burn when on a machine. Field maple wood may get blotchy when stained. It is often used for wood floors, violins, furniture, and veneer.
Anigre wood is a light yellow-brown color that sometimes has a hint of pink. Its color changes with age, as it becomes a darker, golden brown color as it ages. The wood grain of anigre is straight or interlocked, with a uniform texture and natural luster. Anigre wood is not durable and is rated perishable. It does not resist attacks by insects, and can become stained with blue fungus in its initial drying period. Anigre wood emits a faint cedar smell, and is used for furniture, plywood, light construction, boats, and veneers.
English walnut has a color that ranges from a light pale brown to a darker chocolate brown. This wood grain has even, dark brown streaks, and can also have a red, purple, or gray cast. The woodgrain pattern of English walnut is straight, but at times can be irregular. Sometimes, it has a figured wood pattern that can be crotch, curly, or burl. (These are various wood grain figure shapes.)
English walnut wood has a medium texture and natural color and luster. It is considered moderately durable and can only moderately resist decay. It is susceptible to attacks by insects. When the English walnut woodgrain is straight, it is easy to work. When the grain is irregular, it can cause a tear out by the planer. English walnut wood has a mild but faint odor when it is worked. This type of wood is often used in cabinets, furniture, paneling, gunstock, and small wooden objects.
American cherry wood is a light pink-brown color when it is first cut. After that, with time, it darkens to a medium red-brown color. American cherry wood also darkens when exposed to light. This woodgrain pattern is usually straight and relatively easy to work. Some pieces have with a curly grain figure; these are not as easy to work as those with straight woodgrain patterns.
American cherry wood has an even and fine texture with a moderate luster. This wood is quite durable and resists decay, making it generally known as one of the best woods to work. American cherry wood is stable and machines well. It tends to be difficult to stain as it can result in a blotchy application. It has a distinct but mild scent when worked. This wood is commonly used for cabinets, furniture, millwork, floors, small wood items, and veneer.
Downy birch wood is a light red-brown color, and has almost white sapwood. There is not much distinction between the annual growth rings, which gives downy birch its uniform but dull look. The downy birch wood grain pattern is typically straight, but it can also be slightly wavy. It has an even and fine texture and a low natural luster.
Downy birch is perishable and will easily rot or decay when exposed to natural elements. It is likely to fall under attack by insects. This type of wood is relatively easy to work with a machine or by hand. When its pattern is wild, downy birchwood can cause tear out when machined. It is used for boxes, crates, plywood, and interior trim.
The white ash appears light to medium brown in color. The sapwood of a white ash tree is wide, and its color is light brown or beige. White ash sapwood is not always clearly separated from its heartwood. The texture is close to the texture of oak. The grain pattern is mostly straight and regular. You may also be able to find a board that is figured or curly.
The white ash is rated as perishable and slightly durable; it is unable to resist an insect attack, and it is only partially able to resist decay. White ash wood produces excellent results, no matter if using a machine or hand tools. This wood responds well to being bent by steam and to staining, finishing, and gluing. When white ash wood is worked, it has a distinct smell that is relatively unpleasant. White ash wood is used in millwork, baseball bats, boxes, and flooring.
Norway spruce comes in a white creamy color with a touch of red or yellow. It has an even and fine texture with a straight and consistent grain. This wood either slightly resists or does not resists decay at all. Norway spruce wood is easy to work, providing there are no knots in the woodgrain. It responds well to finish and glue, but may respond poorly to staining, as it can come out blotchy and/or inconsistent. It can be helpful to use a sealer, toner, or gel stain when staining a piece of Norway spruce wood. Norway spuce is used for paper, millwork, lumber for construction, crates, Christmas trees, and as soundboard for musical instruments.
American beech comes in a cream color that is very pale and sometimes has a hue of pink or brown. Its veneer is a slightly darker color; slicing through the veneer requires the use of steam, which also gives the wood a more golden tone. The grain of American beech wood is straight, with a texture that is medium to fine and uniform, and a moderate natural luster.
American beech is perishable or nondurable when it comes to rot and decay, and can also fall under attack from insects. American beech is an incredibly workable wood. It can machine well, and responds well to both finishing and gluing, and responds incredibly well to being bent by steam. American beech is used for lumbar, crates, pallets, furniture, small wooden objects, and musical instruments.
Jeffrey (Oregon) Pine
Jeffrey pine is a red-brown color, and its sapwood is a white-yellow. Jeffrey pine woodgrain is straight with a medium texture and resin canals that are medium to large. These canals are numerous but evenly distributed. Jeffery pine’s color can vary based on how far apart its growth rings are spaced. Jeffery pine has a low to moderate resistance to decay and rot. It works well with machine or hand tools, and responds well to finishes and glue. Jeffery pine has a faint smell when it is being worked that is similar to apple or vanilla. This type of wood is used for plywood, boxes, crates, plywood, cabinets, lumber for construction, trim, and posts.
Bamboo wood is white to pale yellow. When alive and left standing for too long, bamboo can develop fungus and discoloration. Its color can then become streaked with black and brown color and patches. Bamboo woof does not display growth rings. Its texture is uniform and can be fine to medium depending on the density of the wood. Once the wood is split and processed, there is variation in the fibers.
There are many species of bamboo, but it is difficult to tell the difference between them. Bamboo is perishable and begins to break down after only a few years. This wood is susceptible to attacks by insects, including termites, beetles, and marine-borers. It is not difficult to work, but it requires unique care. The fibers of bamboo wood tend to split and come out when the wood is cross-cut. Bamboo wood responds well to staining, finishing, and gluing. It emits a unique earth-like smell when it is being worked. It is used on paper, veneer, ladders, scaffolding, fishing rods, blinds, carvings, and floors.
Cedar wood is a red or violet-brown color. Cedar sapwood is a pale yellow color. The yellow comes through the heartwood in the form of streaks. The cedar woodgrain is straight and typically has knots, and its texture is even and extremely fine. It does not have resin canals. The woodgrain can be moderately even to moderately uneven.
Cedar wood resists insects, rot, and decay. In many uses, cedar wood is not treated before use. Cedar wood responds well to finishing and gluing. Cedar has a distinct and well known smell.
This type of wood is often used in closets and clothes chests, because it resists and repels insects and moths. It is also commonly used for fence posts, in carvings, furniture, pencils, birdhouses, and small wooden items.
Bubinga wood has a color that ranges from a pink-red to a dark red-brown color. It can also have dark purple or black streaks. Its sapwood is a pale straw color. The bubinga woodgrain can interlocked or straight. Bubinga has a medium to fine texture, and a moderate luster. The wood has medium-sized pores that are not arranged in any specific way. Bubinga wood is moderately durable to very durable, depending on the hardwood species of the tree of origin.
Bibinga wood is resistant to attacks by termites and other insects. It is overall easy to work, but some wood species have silica, which can dull the edges of the tools used. When bubinga wood grain is interlocked, a tear out can happen on a machine.
Bubinga wood contains a significant amount of natural oil, and is high density. This wood responds well to finishing and turning. Bubinga has an unpleasant odor when it is wet, but the scent disappears once it dries. This wood is used in furniture, cabinets, veneer, and other specialty wood items.
Hemlock has heartwood that is a light brownish-red color. Its sapwood is typically lighter, but it is difficult to tell hemlock sapwood apart from its heartwood. There may be dark streaks in it the wood caused by bark maggots. You can see obvious growth runs, which create unique grain patterns, after the Hemlock has been flat-sawn.
The woodgrain of hemlock is straight with an uneven and coarse texture and no resin canals. Its transition from early wood to late wood is gradual. Hemlock wood is rated as non-durable because it is not able to resist decay and it often falls under attack from insects. When sanded, uneven surfaces and dips in the wood may be created. Hemlock wood responds well to finishing, staining, and gluing. It is used for crates, pallets, building framing, plywood, and other construction needs.
The color of a Douglas fir varies based on the location of the tree and its age. Douglas fir wood is typically light brown with a trace of yellow, or red with dark growth rings. When it is quarter-sawn, the woodgrain is plain and straight. When flatsawn, the woodgrain begins to exhibit wild patterns. Its texture is mostly straight, but can be wavy, and is medium to coarse. Douglas fir wood has a moderate luster.The resin canals in a piece of Douglas fir wood are small to medium in size. These resin canals vary in the ways they are distributed through the grain. Its transition from early wood to late wood is abrupt.
The Douglas fir is moderately durable in reference to rot and decay, though it can fall under insect attack. It machines well, but it may cause the tool’s edges to dull, and responds well to glues, finishes, and stains. Douglas fir wood has an odor that smells just like resin when it is worked. It is used for plywood, veneer, and lumber for construction.
The shagbark hickory has a heartwood that is a light to medium brown color with a red hue, while its sapwood is a much paler yellow-brown color. When shagbark hickory boards are made from the contrasting heartwood and sapwood, it gives a piece a rustic look. The shagbark hickory woodgrain is straight, but sometimes wavy, and it has a medium texture. The pores of a shagbark hickory wood piece are different from early wood to late wood. The early wood pores align intermittent in one row. The late wood pores are small to medium in size and appear by themselves.
The shagbark hickory is considered perishable because it does not respond well to decay. This wood can fall victim to an insect attack. It is difficult to work and tear out is common when machined if the edges of a tool are not sharp. The wood also tends to dull the cutting edge. Shagbark hickory wood responds well to staining, gluing, finishing, and bending by steam. It is used for rungs of ladders, wheel spokes, handles for tools, and the floor.
History of Wood Grain Patterns
In the late 1700s, it became popular to paint cheap wood to make it appear that it had a wood grain effect with a unique grain pattern. During the Victorian era, this practice became more of an art. By the time the Arts and Crafts movement began in the early 20th century, the practice reached its peak. Artists would painted woodgrain that would be incredibly intricate. They could create knots, run patterns, and insect damage in the wood grain effect, to ensure that the product looked like real wood.
The Industrial Revolution saw the mass production of wooden doors, materials for construction, mantels, and balustrades. After that, the newly developed middle class was not interested in items made from wood. As a result, they began to paint over the surface of the real wood. However, over time, people have begun to appreciate real wood again.
What Are the Patterns in Wood Called?
The patterns of wood are called wood grain. These are the wood fibers arranged in longitudinal lines. If there are black lines in wood, they are called zone lines. Zone lines show that the heartwood is dead, and the tree has a fungus that is causing decay.
What Is the Hardest Type of Wood?
The hardest type of wood that any member of the general public can buy is hickory. It is about five times harder than Aspen wood. Aspen wood is one of the softest hardwoods.
How Do You Identify Different Types of Wood?
It is easier to tell the different types of wood from one another than you probably think. Look at the grain, color, and visible growth rings of the wood to determine what type of wood it is. First make sure that the piece of wood is solid, and not veneered over plywood, fiberboard, or MDF.
How Many Different Types of Hardwood Are There?
There are five common types of hardwood species: oak, hickory, maple, cherry, and walnut. Each has their own unique properties, which give them their own advantages and disadvantages. There is also a difference between solid hardwood and engineered hardwood. Hardwoods also have different finishing options available.
Can You Tell if Wood Has Been Quarter-sawn or Plain-sawn?
The most common cut of wood is plain-sawn wood. It is also less expensive than other types. When wood is plain sawn, the wood grain is less stable than other cuts. Quarter-sawn wood is created when the wood is cut into four quarters, and each quarter is flat-sawn. Quarter-sawn wood is less common and more expensive than plain-sawn wood.
What Type of Wood is Best for Your Furniture?
Furniture for the inside and outside of your house can come in many different types of wood. The right wood for furniture pieces is based on personal preference. Each type of wood has its own characteristics in regard to color, density, finish, and grain. The wood chosen can also dictate the price of a piece of furniture.
What Type of Wood Floor is the Most Economical?
The most inexpensive type of wood flooring is not technically real wood; it is a laminate. Laminate looks exactly like wood and from far away, no one can tell the difference. Laminate wood floors can be installed over any other type of floor, no matter from what that floor is made. The laminate can even be waxed to make it water-resistant.