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What is Open Grain?

Open grain is used to describe a piece of wood with large grain. The uniqueness of a piece of wood is defined by many characteristic such as color, hardness and grain. Grain patterns are the product of a particular tree’s growing patterns from season to season, and also the result of how the wood was cut when the tree was originally milled. The pattern can be manipulated and controlled, but the openness or closeness of a wood grain will remain consistent as it is relevant to the species of tree the lumber came from.

Wood grain is much like the pores in skin. They vary in size in relation to a tree’s properties, but they affect how absorbent the wood is. Hickory and Oak are two types of wood that have open grain. The visual properties of the wood may seem similar, but the size of the grain becomes most relevant when applying finish to the wood constructed project. Open grain woods have a tendency to absorb finishes unevenly, which can bring some disastrous results to a finely crafted project. To avoid blotchiness and uneven absorption, it is import to use a particular type of wood filler designed to allow for consistent even absorption. Fillers for open grain woods are available in clear and tinted and should be used in accordance with their manufacturer’s directions to achieve a smooth finishing effect.

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