Figure

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Many kinds of figure are recognized. Those mentioned above are the principal types arising from the variety of grain present (from which many of the other types arise). In addition, figure may be derived from the distribution of certain types of tissue in wood. The broad high rays of the true oaks and Australian Silky oak are an example of figure, called silver figure derived from the particular distribution of ray tissue in these woods. The alternating layers of dark, dense late-wood and lighter, less dense early-wood give rise to the flame figure of certain softwoods, for example Douglas fir, when flat sawn or rotary peeled. The distribution of wood parenchyma in broad conspicuous bands may, in hardwoods, also give rise to flame figure known as watered silk. A similar figure may also be produced in timbers with alternating layers of different colours, such as the striped ebonies. The prominence and decorative effect of figure depend not only on correct conversion of the timber but also on the natural lustre of the wood, which is the ability of the cells to reflect light. Also important, though not necessarily related to lustre, is the ability of the wood to take a good polish.

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A Course In Wood Turning

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