Wood may be of coarse or fine, even or uneven texture, or any intermediate grade. The classification as to the degree of coarseness or fineness is made on the basis of the dimensions of the vessels and the width and abundance of the rays. Timbers, such as oak, in which the vessels are large or the rays broad are said to be of coarse texture. Where, as in sycamore or box, the vessels are small and the rays narrow the timber is said to be of fine or very fine texture. The texture of a timber is an important factor in determining its suitability for a particular application. For example, boxwood is more appropriate for a finely detailed carving or turning than is oak. Texture is also related to surface smoothness and to the performance of stains and finishes applied to wood. All softwoods are fine or at most relatively coarse textured as their cells are all of relatively small diameter. The texture of softwoods is influenced by alternation of zones of early-wood and late-wood. When the contrast between zones is marked, as in Douglas fir and larch, the wood may be said to be of uneven texture. Timbers such as spruce, in which there is little or no contrast in the early-wood and late-wood, are even textured. These terms may also be applied to hardwoods where ring-porous woods can be considered as uneven and diffuse-porous woods, unless they have broad rays or wide layers of wood parenchyma, as even textured.
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