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What is a Knot?

Knots are visible imperfections in wood grain that are circular and darker than the surrounding area. When a board is cut vertically from a tree trunk, the knot will resemble a circle of abnormal wood that was once the base connection of a branch to the tree trunk but has been grown around by the rest of the grain. This is actually a true depiction of what has happened to cause this deformity in the wood. The visible knot can indicate where the base of such a branch was located.

When trees grow taller, the lower branches will often die due to their location being obscured from the sun. However, since these branches are typically large and strong, they will not fall off immediately, and the tree will continue to grow around the area. This is what forms the conical shape of a knot. Old branches that have died or buds that have not blossomed will produce dead spots in the wood that alter the contour of the following seasonal growth layers. Knots have a harder texture because their grain runs perpendicular to the rest of the tree and the wood has been compressed in that area.

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