It’s All About Wood: Wood’s Body
34 years ago, I started working at Breakfast Woodworks because it was owned by architect Louis Mackall. I was infected by a lust for wood that lasts right up through this minute. This is the first of a five-part series derived for a talk I gave 2 years ago at my sponsor, Fairhaven Furniture that crystallizes the lust into words.
Stone and wood are perhaps the only two natural materials that have an extreme variety of visual effect with the same fundamental sourcing. Although stone truly has extreme differences between sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic, wood is basically wood. Just like stone, wood’s surface and its core can be maintained and celebrated. Just like sedimentary stone, the cross-cut/end grain of wood is expressively distinct from the flat grain/cleft surfaces that follow the grain.
Wood is formed by strands. These strands are called xylem and phloem. They combine muscle tissue, skeletal armature, and cardiovascular system.
Wood at the outside (sap wood) grows more quickly during summer in temperate climates (summer wood), is lighter and less dense. The wood that is formed in winter (winter wood) grows less quickly and is denser. The contrast between the two when cut is “grain” that has “figuring”.
Heartwood is at the core of a tree, sapwood is at the perimeter of the tree. Heartwood is most often dead (and sometimes rots), sapwood is living and is fully saturated with water/sap.