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EXAMINING WOOD GRAINS

We're going to look at these pieces of woods to compare them.
We have pine, fir, ash, birch, redwood, peach, cherry, and
walnut (or any kinds of woods, maybe that our parents bought
for firewood). We can make a list of each one, telling
different things about them. Some of the pieces of wood have
been split. On these, we can see lines going in the same
direction as the wood grew. This is called the "grain" of
wood. If you look at some wood furniture or cabinets that
haven't been painted, you can see the grain of the wood. It
is smooth, because it has been sanded. The grain of these
pieces of wood is not smooth because the wood has been broken
apart by a wedge, rather than sawn apart like they do to make
furniture. Different kinds of woods have different-looking
grains, and when we choose wood for furniture, part of what
we look for is the kind of grain it has.

Another thing we look for when we choose wood for furniture
is the color. Of course, after the furniture (or cabinet) is
made, it is usually stained and varnished so it will stay
like it is, and be easy to keep clean. Cherry wood looks
more reddish than pine wood, which looks yellow. We can tell
the color differences in the freshly-cut wood, and add the
colors to our lists.

Here we have a slice of wood that is cut from the end, and
has bark all around it, and you can see the rings. Since it
is only about 1/2 inch thick, we can break it easily with our
hands. That tells us that wood that is cut "against the
grain" is not very strong, unless it is thick. Here we have
a piece of wood that is also about 1/2 inch thick, and was
cut "with the grain", which means it is cut in the same
direction the wood grew. It is very strong, and we cannot
break it with our hands. Almost all the things that are made
of wood have been sawn with the grain.

Slices of wood, cut against the grain, are very pretty, and
if you want to keep one just to look at, it just needs a few
coats of shellac. It will stay like it is, but will be a
little darker and shinier.


 
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