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(P) 1.800.667.2275 (W) www.westwindhardwood.com, www.flooringgallery.ca (E) info@westwindhardwood.com
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april 2009


Forest Facts:

What defines the colour Beaver Brown?

Crayola Crayons answered:
The hue is earthy, not at all frivolous, dependable, comfortable, disliking showiness.

Quote of the Month:

“The eagle may soar: beavers build dams.”

Joseph S. Nye Jr.

West Wind Hardwood Newsletter images
West Wind Hardwood Newsletter images
West Wind Hardwood Newsletter images
West Wind Hardwood Newsletter images


  latest news

Congratulations to the 2009 Grads of Parkland

Secondary, Sidney, BC

West Wind Hardwood is pleased to support both the parents of the 2009 Grads and the school by contributing to the three tuition prizes offered at the 2009 “dry” grad celebration; prizes valued at $1500 each.

camosun college Congratulations Real Guay and Richard Eison
Top Student Award May 2009
Camosun College – Fine Furniture Program

West Wind Hardwood is pleased to sponsor the Fine Furniture Program at Camosun College, Victoria, BC.  Lars Nielsen, Vice-President, attended the 2009 Trades & Technology Awards Ceremony; presenting both Real and Richard with a cheque.

Lars Nielsen & Real Guay
  richard easton
Lars Nielsen & Richard Eison

new arrivals
rift white oak rift white oak eastern Maple Shorts
Rift White Oak Shorts Cherry Ripping Bundles Eastern Maple Shorts

4/4 Rift White Oak Shorts - $4.50 per bdft
4/4 Eastern Hard Maple Shorts - $3.85 per bdft
Bundles of Cherry Rippings - $65, 75 and 85 per bundle
4/4 Bubinga - $12.50 per bdft - Inquire - Arrival Pending at Press Time


of interest

Rascally Rodents:
Environmentalists duped in logging racket

In the winter of 2008, environmentalists in the town of Subkowy, Poland, thought they smelled a rat after seeing 20 felled trees in a nature preserve, with more marked to come down soon.  Police were called in when they thought some shady loggers were running a covert logging ring right under their noses.  Police decided to follow the trail of one tree that was dragged away...it led to a river, and in the middle of that river they saw a beaver dam. "The [environmentalists] felt pretty stupid", a police spokesman told the Austrian Times. "What is more natural than a beaver?" It is unknown whether the environmentalists took legal action against the quadrupeds.

Do beavers cause a lot of damage?
Generally beaver ponds are situated in areas that do not interfere directly with man's land use practices. In these cases, the positive impacts of beaver ponds far outweigh the negative impacts by slowing run-off from drainage areas and retarding erosion; filtering silt, agricultural chemicals and pollutants from streams, and generally improving water quality for fish, wildlife and man.  Habitats are modified through coppicing, feeding and in some cases damming, but this has a positive effect on biodiversity.  Their dams can hold water in periods of drought, can regulate flooding and improve water quality by holding silt behind dams and catching acidic and agricultural run-off, in effect retarding erosion; generally improving water quality for fish, wildlife and man. Their modifications to the local environment bring enormous benefits to other species, including otters, water shrews & voles, birds, invertebrates (especially dragonflies) and fish by creating a more diverse habitat.  In effect, they are a natural way of creating and maintaining habitats. 

As a rule, negative impacts are felt only by man’s artificial environment.  Their ponds flood timber stands, agricultural crops, lawns and roads; dams obstruct bridges, culverts and pond drains, causing erosion damage to these structures. When feeding, beavers girdle and fell trees and shrubs, and damage agricultural crops.

While beavers are vegetarians, they rarely eat conifers.  The odd conifer might be gnawed by an immature animal that has yet to learn that conifers are unpalatable as the resin gums up their teeth. They do fell broad-leafed trees and bushes to eat the bark and to build their dams, however, most trees will regenerate, which diversifies the surrounding habitat structure.  Natural coppicing is a normal life process for river/lake bank sides, and foraging is usually restricted to within 20m of the water’s edge. 

feature story

Wood Grain with a Grain of Salt


When speaking of wood, the term grain is used, in several ways, as in the alignment of the wood in the tree.  Basic grain descriptions include straight grain, spiral and interlocked.  Straight grain runs in a single direction, parallel to the axis of the tree; spiral grain spirals around the axis of the tree and interlocked grain spirals around the axis of the tree, but reverses its direction regularly, alternating, interlocking.
wood grain terminology Most species grown in temperate climates produce visible annual growth rings (grain) that show the difference in density and colour between wood formed early and that formed late in the growing season.  The inner part of the growth ring, formed first, is called “spring wood”; the outer part, formed later in the season, is called “summer wood”.  Spring wood is characterized by cells having relatively large cavities and thin.  Summer wood cells have smaller cavities and thicker walls, and consequently are denser than those in spring wood.  The growth rings, when exposed by conventional sawing methods, provide the grain or characteristic pattern of the wood.  The distinguishing features among the various species results in part from differences in growth-ring formation.  And within species, natural variations in growth ensure the unique character and beauty of each piece of wood.

Strictly speaking, grain is not the same as the ‘figure’ of wood.  In wood, figure refers to the appearance of wood.  The figure of a particular piece of wood may be due to the cut, or to innate properties of the wood, however informally "figure" is often referred to as grain.  Figure is the combination of wood color as well as grain.  Types of figure include bear scratches, bird's eye, blister, burl, curl, dimple, fiddleback, flame, ghost," quilted, and spalted. Special grain alignments and their rarity promote the value of both the raw material and the finished work it becomes a part of.  In a wider sense, the term grain may also be applied to the orientation of the cut; the way a given piece of wood has been sawn, as in flat-grain (flat-sawn or plain sawn) or edge grain (quarter-sawn or rift-sawn or straight-grained).

Types of Saw Cut: Lumber is plain sawn, quarter sawn or rift sawn.

Plain sawing Example

Plain sawing - Lumber is obtained by making the first saw cut on a tangent to the circumference of the log and remaining cuts parallel to the first; creating the familiar “flame-shaped” or “cathedral” pattern. This method is the most economical, because it provides the widest boards and results in the least waste.  Plain-sawn lumber will expand and contract more than boards sawn by other methods. However, it performs just as well when properly kiln-dried, when the job site is properly prepared and when the wood is acclimated to the workshop and home environment.

Quarter/rift sawing example

Quarter sawing - Lumber is produced by first quartering the log and then sawing perpendicular (90-degree angle) to the growth rings. Quarters awing produces relatively narrow boards, nearly all vertical-grained, and creates more waste boosting the cost significantly. Quarter-sawn boards are popular for decorative applications such as cabinet faces or wainscoting. They will expand and contract less than boards sawn by other methods.
Rift sawing -This is similar to quarter sawing but the angle of the cut is changed slightly to 30-degrees or greater so that fewer saw cuts are parallel to the medullary rays, which are responsible for the flake effect; boards are narrower. This type of lumber is available in limited quantities and species. Rift-sawn boards are often favoured for fine furniture and other applications where matching grain is important.

Examples of the Wood Cuts:

Plainsawn cut

Plain sawn
-The most common cut. Contains more variation due as the growth rings are more conspicuous.

Quartersawn cut

Quarter sawn
-Wood twists and cups less and wears more evenly.

Riftsawn cut

Rift sawn
-The cut is at a slightly different angle than quarter sawn.

An understanding of grain as applied to woodworking techniques is of the utmost importance. In describing the application of a woodworking technique to a given piece of wood, the direction of the technique may be:

  1. with the grain (easy; giving a clean result),
  2. against the grain (heavy going; giving a poor result),
  3. across the grain (at right angles to the grain).

Grain usually runs from somewhere within (or through) a piece of wood to the surface. If that high point encounters the cutter first, the ends of the grain bundles can be snagged, or lifted. The result is often chipping or separated ends. With the ends of the grain angling away from the cutter, the ends are more likely to slice cleanly, leaving a smooth surface.  When the angle of grain is relatively steep, determining direction is easy. However, when this angle is more subtle, or appears to run parallel to the long axis of a piece of wood, it can be difficult to identify the correct direction of feed. Grain patterns on the face of boards can be deceiving. When growth rings are dissected during the sawing process, they can show a feathered-appearing edge that might appear to indicate the wrong feed direction. Looking at the edge of the board is often a better way to determine if the grain is rising or falling.

To demonstrate the interaction between grain and cutters, hold a common paint brush at an angle, sliding your hand across the bristles in both directions. Notice how easily the bristles slip over your hand when their ends are pointed in approximately the same direction your hand is moving. Then, notice how the bristles catch when their ends face the direction of your hand. Though exaggerated, this is essentially what happens when feeding wood through the various cutters in our shops.  And as Mother Nature is not inclined to make things easier for woodworkers, it is necessary to learn techniques to obtain the best results from this ever-changing medium. The time it takes to successfully read the grain orientation in a piece of wood offsets potential loss of wood, and your time, should the piece fracture.

(P) 1.800.667.2275 (W) www.westwindhardwood.com, www.flooringgallery.ca (E) info@westwindhardwood.com
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