Following are definitions of terms used on our site.
Some of our wood products are made from wood that is managed by an organization who's abbreviated name is CITES. This organization monitors plants and animals world-wide to ensure the survivability of the species. Some of the woods used in our products are monitored by CITES and cannot be shipped outside the United States. Prices for some of these woods may rise due to the continued depletion of existing stock and limited availability of new stock on the world market.
Products made from CITES monitored wood will be identified as not able to be shipped outside the United States.
Burls are abnormal growths on a tree, which could be considered a cancer. Burls can be caused by environmental stress, damage, or disease (fungal or insect attack) on a tree. Burls may be more easily found in certain species, such as box elder, while other species may have a very low rate of occurrence. Some burls are found above ground while others are found around the root system.
Some burls have regular growth rings growing at an accelerated rate which don't have a very interesting pattern and aren't as widely found. Burls most preferred by woodworkers are the type that grow in irregular swirling patterns, often with spots most people think of as the "eyes" in bird's eye maple. Burls may be in various sizes, some of which may reach several feet and weigh several hundred pounds.
A term used to describe any unusual grain patterns Figure may include wavy patterns, curl, quilting, tiger striping,
Various items may be made from an acrylic or other type of plastic compound. Plastics allow for various color combinations not found in nature along with really wild patterns.
Spalted wood is the result of the wood beginning to decay. The black spalt line (if any) is fungus growing within the wood. Spalting may take on many different looks, often depending on the species of tree. When wood becomes decayed to the point it crumbles between your fingers, it is referred to as "punky". This makes the wood extremely difficult to turn requiring special treatments such as stabilization to allow it to be used.
Spalting patterns on a specific piece of wood are unpredictable as many environmental effects play a part in the decay process. These include wood species, temperature, humidity, acidity, soil types, and fungus spores in the local environment, among others. Maple and birch are the most common species favored by woodturners for their spalting.
Stabilization is a process where a material such as wood has been impregnated with some type of plastic material, particularly various resin mixes. Stabilization may be done using a vacuum to remove the air from the pores of the wood which then pulls the resin into the pores as the vacuum is released. Pressure may also be used to force the resin into the wood pores. Heat is then typically used to aid in curing the resin.
Solid Surface Material
Construction of kitchen and bath counter tops produce scraps that provide me a wonderful selection of materials that resemble granite or similar types of rock. Trade names of this material are Corian® and Gibraltar®. While this is really a composite material which resembles many rock type counter top, it turns easily and produces a very nice final finish.
Trees that are classified by their loss of leaves each growing season. Also known as deciduous trees, hardwoods are not necessarily "hard". Balsa is classified as a hardwood but is one of the lightest and softest woods known. Hardwoods typically produce an enclosed nut or fruit of some type that allows for seeding to produce new growth. Common trees within the United Sates are oak, maple, and walnut.
Trees that retain their leaves throughout the year. Also known as coniferous, softwoods typically have leaves shaped like needles. Common trees of this variety are pine, fir, and cedar.
A term used to describe any species of wood that is obtained from foreign sources. Exotic hardwoods are typically thought of as rain forest woods but their availability is from sources wider ranging than just the rain forest.
An area in the wood structure caused by a branch of the tree. Knots can be "tight", meaning they are securly embedded, or "loose", meaning they will fall out unless means are taken to secure them. Knots can add character to the figure of some woods if they can be secured.
Any species of tree that is being watched by an appropriate agency to monitor the future survivability of the species. While an endangered species still is known to have sufficient numbers to propogate future growth, the numbers are in jeopardy and will be monitored. Availability of threatened species is highly regulated and may consist of existing stock found in merchant inventories.