Wood Essentials

Of course you know that wood grows on trees. But what else do you need to know about wood and the trees it comes from? For starters, you need to understand something about wood grain and how those patterns of light and dark streaks and swirls affect the shape you want to turn and even the choice of tools to use at the lathe. You also need to have an understanding of wood’s dark side—how its dust as well as substances in the wood itself can affect your health, and how you can protect yourself.


Wood Grain and Why it is Important: What is wood grain?

Grain most commonly refers to the texture and appearance of the fibers that make up the wood. When you saw or split a piece of wood, you cut through the tree’s annual growth rings, exposing a pattern of alternating light and dark areas. Together, those areas comprise the grain.


Wood Toxicity: Symptoms, Species, and Solutions

Tens of thousands of tree species from hundreds of plant families grow in nearly all habitats. Only a small number of those species are used for construction, paper production, furniture, and wood turning. Wood turners select woods based on their grain, figure, and color; their workability; and their availability.