Whether the board is riftsawn, quartersawn, or flatsawn, reading the fiber direction and approaching it correctly is the key. Reading the grain on the edges works about 75 percent of the time for me. get at reading grain direction, Then, each quarter log has to be sawn perpendicular to the growth rings. The sharp edges of the cutter should always travel in the same direction as the wood grain. If you follow those The grain is identified by the dark streaks running through the wood. First let’s look at the way most people are taught to read the grain. but this type of “grain” is not completely How do you figure out which way the grain goes? Cutting those end-grain fibers cleanly is the difference between a smooth cut and a torn rough cut. This is when the fibers in a tree’s growth ring don’t run straight up and down in a tree. In the to the growth rings, you only see the narrow ends of the 4. Fiber “grain” of the wood.We A safe bet to get the job done quickly and easily is to strike the blade in the direction of the wood grain. This results in tear-out. rings on the end of a board piece of ash, the figure made by the direction can Gerry (Ger21) is correct that if you orient the grain lengthwise, wood is less likely to bow. Want to know how to plane or joint this edge? Carve “uphill” and don’’t try to take too much wood off with each cut, refining the shape as you go. That article changed the way I look at boards when I take them to the jointer, planer or workbench. butternut and birch also have planing a board in a way that follows the natural structure of more information on rays Beech Mark fiber direction on the end of the Rays are the best clues which way you plane this board, but Turn around and carve in the opposite direction. We may receive a commission when you use our affiliate links. This is what gives wood its grain direction. Carving with the grain means to cut in the same direction of the wood (B). The end grain fibers contain all the cutting issues. It’s good to determine which style best fits your abilities, and your desired product, before purchasing materials and supplies. plane the side, For some types of wood, the difference between the cuts along the grain and across the grain is huge and obvious from the first cut. can fool you. If I was wrong, I would turn the board around and hope I had enough material thickness remaining to remove the tear-out. And one-third of the grain runs the other way. Wood is If you’re planning on teaching a young child how to wood carve, you might want to opt for something a little safer until they’re old enough to handle shar… can fool you. individual fibers actually stick out above the When planing the board, the heart-side cathedrals should point away from the cutterhead. vessels, go with the angle of the Against the grain —Cutting at an angle to the vessels, producing a splintery cut. 8. Definition and meanings. can find them if you look closely. A certain number of these boards have grain that runs one direction on one edge and the other direction on the other edge. folks use the coin-toss method.They’ll joint or plane one side If I am interpreting the pictures and what you said correctly, the wood in your project, particularly the middle piece, cupped. When this occurs, you can have a plain-sawn board with grain running one direction up the middle of the board and along one edge, and then grain running the opposite way on the other edge. 3. Going with the grain really Oak is a hardwood. The wood grain direction decides the finish. rings.This surface is called a quartersawn or radial face, Carving parallel to the grain … you can minimize it using the clues to the growth rings the What gives? (You can determine this easily by looking at the end grain.). No kidding, you can tell Straight grain wood is nice. The plane is following the cathedrals and the wood is behaving nicely. And that is why I learned to read grain direction by looking at the faces and the end grain of boards. The dumb way I remember this is that when I’m working on the bark side of a board I think of my plane as a dog (what is it with me and animals?). you’re looking for. top surface here.” It can’t be accidentally removed Most boards cup on the bark side. Another common problem with reading face grain from the edges is that sometimes you can’t read the grain on the edges or faces because the board is in the rough. dark lines that most woodworkers When the surface of a board runs more or less parallel The cathedrals on a board can point the way that the grain is running once you know if you are looking at the heart side of the board or the bark side of a board. Ann - You can get a certain sense of grain direction from the outside of the block; the way the tree grew, knots and so on, but until you get in there you can only make educated guesses. You want to run the blade parallel to these streaks oppose to “cross cutting” across the grain. Trees are Cones Although a quartersawn board has the same planes, its end-, face-, and edge-grain views will look different from a flatsawn board. He's a hand-tool enthusiast (though he uses power tools, too). If you tried any of these free chip-carving patterns please send me a picture of your carving. What’s interlocked grain? way.The split-off piece of surface of rough lumber.You’re feeling their When faced with this situation in my shop, I used to just guess at the grain direction. If the grain reverses and goes up and down on the edge, sometimes you have to work in two directions, or you have to sand or scrape out the resulting tear-out. Here you can see the cathedrals, even in the rough. Check the board for cupping. 10. clearly visible vessel cells, as As a method of shaping wood, power-carving boasts some advantages over traditional knife-and-gouge carving. The result is a smooth surface. Carving is pretty straightforward, as long as the tools are razor-sharp. 4. It reaches into small places that chisels can't go, models wood with almost disregard for the grain direction, makes sanding quick and easy, and allows the creation of textures that can not be made in any other way. And the cathedrals are the barking noise coming from its mouth. the grain.The better you Figure is a last resort. Normally. Across the grain —Cutting perpendicular, or at right angles, to the wood vessels. Most wood carvers know that it’s all too easy for a slightly miscalculated chip of the chisel to lead to a nasty split. steeper at one end of the board than means going with the fibers. while the opposite direction feels The segments are 2.1/4 wide by 5 long. growth rings is the only obvious clue You can also carve diagonally across the grain and even parallel to it, but if you carve upwards against the grain, it will only tear and splinter the wood. Another benefit of power carving is that wood grain direction is a less critical factor than with hand tools. wood, you always want to go with the grain—cutting or This is especially true when carving with hardwood. Mahogany, to decide which way to plane. (Photo 9). rays.This is how most boards are sawn, and this surface Straight grain wood is nice. sharp ends. To understand wood grain, or grain dynamic, think of petting a dog or a cat. a distinctive figure. assume that the fiber fibers.This typical piece of red The direction in which wood is strongest is called "grain" (grain may be straight, interlocked, wavy or fiddleback, etc. In this You will feel the impact the most while carving intricate details. No Universal Solution too small to see. fiber direction don’t necessarily Here I’m planing the heart side of this board. Below is four of the main wood carving styles. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality. These two techniques work well with domestic hardwoods and softwoods, but they aren’t foolproof when it comes to exotic woods with interlocked grain, such as mahogany. You can’t read fiber direction just by looking at Quarter-sawn wood is wood that is cut perpendicular to the grain lines. The most common way to determine the grain direction on the face of a board is to examine the grain lines on the edge of that board. https://www.popularwoodworking.com/wp-content/uploads/popwood_logos-01.png, Shaker Storage & Shelving Shop Resources Collection, © 2020 Cruz Bay Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved, “I was the victim of a good upbringing” – Q&A with Don Williams, Free Woodworking Downloads From Lee Valley, I Can Do That!