WOOD TRAITS AND GRAINS

Here is more in-depth information about our natural wood products:

Unique Characteristics of Wood

Joint Lines

Wood constantly expands and contracts throughout the span of its life. This natural phenomenon may cause some thin, hardly visible cracking at the joints on your cabinet doors or face frames, but will not affect the joints’ strength.

End Grain

Since end grain surfaces are softer and more porous than other areas of the wood, they absorb more stain and, therefore, may appear darker. This is a natural and unpreventable outcome of the process.

Mineral Streaks

Mineral deposits will form naturally in wood over the course of its life. These deposits may cause blackish-blue streaks in the grain, which may appear to be darker or lighter, once the wood is finished.

Telegraphing

The natural grain pattern is each wood’s identifying characteristic. As the wood is stained for your cabinets, these patterns tend to show through, or “telegraph” the wood’s fingerprint. Coarse woods like Hickory and Oak tend to telegraph more than fine-grained woods like Cherry and Maple.

Aging

Some wood types will continue to mellow over time due to exposure to light and other factors. Cherry is a perfect example, as its unique photosensitivity causes it to darken with age.

Environmental Factors

Natural wood products are often affected by environmental factors that may, over time, change their appearance from how they looked when they were first installed in your home. A few factors to consider are:

  • Certain factors such as sunlight, interior lighting and humidity may cause the finish of your wood to change or darken as it ages.
  • Long-term exposure to tobacco smoke will cause discoloration in your cabinets, which is especially pronounced on white and lighter finishes.
  • To ensure you choose the perfect finish color, it is recommended that you view a new sample in your home environment, as showroom samples may have changed slightly over time, depending on age, lighting and other environmental factors.

Natural Woodgrain Patterns

Like a fingerprint, a wood’s grain refers to its overall alignment, texture and natural patterning. Each tree has its own distinct grain markings and designs, making each piece of wood from that tree unique. Here are a few of the basic grain descriptions:

  • Fine:  Invisible or very faint patterns
  • Straight:  Straight, vertical patterns
  • Cross:  Patterns running parallel to the sides of the wood
  • Spiral: Swirling, twisting or funnel-like patterns
  • Wavy:  Curved, wavelike patterns
  • Curly:  Rounded or circular patterns
  • Arch:  Overturned V- or U-shaped patterns

Finishing Techniques

Below is a more in-depth look at how we create each finish.

Burnished Finishes

Burnishing creates the warm, traditional look of fine furniture. During the process, randomly distressed and over-sanded doors and drawer fronts are artistically coated with a darkening stain to the corners and raised areas to create the burnished effect. A base stain is then applied and carefully hand-wiped stain. (Finish availability will vary on Maple, Cherry, Birch and Hickory.)

Highlighted Finishes

A base stain color is hand-rubbed into the wood, then a highlight glaze is hand-applied to the recesses in the door and drawer fronts, to add depth to the color without modifying the beauty of the base stain. (Typically available on Oak, Birch, Maple, Hickory and Cherry.)

Painted Finishes

The wood is saturated with numerous coats of paint to give it a rich, beautiful color. (Finish availability will vary on Oak and Maple.)

Paint w/Glaze Finishes

A base paint is applied to ensure consistent color coverage. A flood coat of glaze is then hand-wiped onto the wood, creating soft tones in the recesses and corners of the piece. A highlight glaze is then brushed into the corners and recesses by hand to help accentuate the subtle color distinctions. (Typically available on Oak, Birch, Maple, Hickory and Cherry.)

Stained Finishes

A stain color is hand-rubbed into the wood, achieving a naturally rich, consistent color coverage. (Typically available on Oak, Birch, Maple, Hickory and Cherry.)

Stain w/Glaze Finishes

A base stain is applied to ensure consistent color coverage. A flood coat of glaze is then hand-wiped onto the wood, creating soft tones in the recesses and corners of the piece. A highlight glaze is then brushed into the corners and recesses by hand to help accentuate the subtle color distinctions. (Typically available on Oak, Birch, Maple, Hickory and Cherry.)

Vintage Finishes

Door and drawer fronts are first distressed and over-sanded, then the wood is saturated with several coats of heavily pigmented stain to create a deep, rich color, while allowing a hint of the natural wood grain to peek through. The corners and edges are again over-sanded, to reveal the wood’s natural beauty. (Finish availability will vary on Cherry.)