Published on Aug 20, 2020

Brown Wood Background Images

License Info: Creative Commons 4.0 BY-NC

Wood that is named “curly” have properties where its grain swirls often in a back and forth pattern. It has an unusual visual effect which pertains to the way light reflects from the wood. It is iridescent. When a wood with this quality is held in light, there will be parts of the wood that shine and others that do not. This quality runs across the entire piece of wood. Curly Maple is a common wood that has this quality. The wood is of one color, but the light bends, or shines, differently in places.

Some woods have a knot in them. This is a place where a branch had been growing on a tree and then died, creating a dark circle where the dead branch was. This part of the wood is highly unstable because it changes the direction the grain runs, but, if handled properly, can add character and beauty to the wood. There is also a special type of knotting in the grain called Birdseye. A wood with Birdseye has little knots mixed in with the grain which look like a bird’s eye. Birdseye Maple is a great example of this feature.

Most species of wood can produce a burl. In a burl, there is little consistent grain. A wood with this quality can have a variety of imperfections from darker sections of grain to heavy knots. Burls are highly unstable which means that the wood can move on its own easily. The best time to use a burl is when it is dry. Because of how unstable burls are, extreme caution must be taken so that the wood doesn’t split in two.


A species of wood can have multiple grain types. Maple does not have to have just one type of grain pattern. Curly Birdseye Maple has the curly effect along with Birdseye in the grain. Because burls have inconsistent grain, many types of grain can be found in them. A slab of cherry burl can have some thicker discolorations among its grain along with some Birdseye and knotting.

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