The verbiage of this blog post will make you feel like you’re 12 years old again. Your maturity level will be tested.
And then you will learn things.
When you look at your wood furniture, you will notice that each piece has a pattern to the grain. Some will be swirled with an almost ribbon candy appearance. Some will have rings with a distinct center. Other will be feathered, or appear as a flame. This is called the Crotch grain.
How does the crotch form? The easiest explanation is when the tree grows into two trunks from one singular trunk, forming a “Y” shape. This creates the “legs” of the tree, therefore forming the crotch portion. Almost all Harwood trees have crotches, although not all crotches are equal in their splendor. (insert dirty joke, thought, image here…) The figuring (grain pattern) shimmers in the light and looks like waves of liquid running through the wood. This is due to the pressure that the crotch area endures, having a limited amount of space in that area during the trees growth stage. Wood pushes against wood and the end result is stunning.
What makes this almost defective process so desirable? Woodworkers that want character in their pieces, seek this out. It’s a specialty in the market and not easily attainable. When you do find the pieces with the allusive “liquid crotch” pattern, it is pricey, but worth the purchase. This makes your piece stand out above anything that you will find mass produced. Yes, you can find crotch veneer, and it is quite beautiful, but it will never be the same as a full board of cut of lumber that is specialty handcrafted into that one of a kind piece.
Some of the most beautiful crotch sections are made into gunstocks. Wood turners love crotch wood. It allows them to achieve unique shapes and adds some brilliant patterns to pieces like bowls and platters. Even some amazing table tops showcase the crotch patter, though the most sought out is that which is book matched (meaning the crotch wood was split or sawn in half, creating a mirror of each other, then placed did by side).
I hope I was able to give you a glimpse into my world. I want you know that I take pride in the designs I create. I take the time to hand pick each piece of wood, to make sure that you have the highest quality cut available.
Appreciate your furniture. Appreciate the time and craft that went into creating it. It truly is an art form.
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