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What is Grain Variation?

Grain variation is a naturally occurring property of wood. When a tree is sliced into boards, the growth rings of the tree become visible on the boards. These naturally occurring lines are proportionally related to the environmental effects the tree endured during its growth. Many choose hardwood or solid wood construction on kitchen projects because they enjoy the organic look of natural wood. However, some customers are surprised by the distorting properties wood grain variation can have on the overall finish of a cabinetry run. Expect the finish to be irregular even if it was uniformly applied. The lack of uniformity is actually one of wood’s unique and cherished finishing qualities.

Every board has a unique pattern of grain variation just like a set of finger prints. The differences in appearance are not only surface, but they can also affect the rate at which coatings and finishes are absorbed and dry. Though the outcome may have slight color differences, most manufacturers supply a selection of finishes that can be used to highlight or subdue the variation in grain. Some finishes will darken the grain lines to help accentuate them, while other denser finishes can be used to mute their presence without completely eliminating them.

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