American Painting Contractor Magazine


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If we slice into a trunk section, we can see that every tree has three parts: bark (the outer crust), sapwood (the softest, youngest part of the tree) and heart- wood (the hardest and darkest section that is used for carpentry). Within the heartwood section of the tree trunk, there are three crucial ele- ments to understand. The figure grain (heartgrain) is composed of concentric, diamond shapes (not without variation, of course). These are found in the approximate center of the trunk. The straight grain (side grain) occurs where the rings of the heartwood extend out toward the sapwood. These lines are mostly straight and parallel but show a slight movement. Last, knots are small, round and dark- er spots that indicate a start of a branch or are caused by insect bites. A common mistake in woodgraining happens when knots are used too often. Carpenters will opt to choose a piece of wood that has the least amount of knots as they are considered defects in the wood. Further, knots can add composition, color and design when used sparingly and within the rules of wood dynamics. This diagram illustrates the crucial ele- ments a woodgrainer must know to understand the rules of wood dynamics. AMERICAN PAINTING CONTRACTOR • Januar y/Februar y 2014 33 A recipe can be followed and color can be mixed, but to make a woodgrain- ing project look truly realistic, you must first understand wood. If this step is overlooked, your woodgraining will never reflect the natural design and sub- tle beauty that make it pleasing to the eye. Just like when painting a portrait, it is nearly impossible to capture the look of a face without understanding the basic anatomy and constant relation- ships that exist in nature. In order to duplicate each species of wood, decorative painters must under- stand the different parts of a tree and how it is cut for carpentry. And within each slice of wood, lies a distinct pattern that makes the wood recognizable. To better understand wood let's start at the beginning: the tree. Think Like Wood Understanding, sketching and painting the heartgrain. By Pierre Finkelstein Dissecting the Tree Trunk To Start

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