For the sawyer or woodworker, discovering interesting grain is what makes us get out of bed in the morning. One of the best parts of my job, is getting to see the inside of so many logs. Each log is different, and you never quite know what you will find when you cut the log open and look at the grain inside. As I described in a previous blog post, it is the job of the sawyer to orient the boards with the grain in order to maximize either the vertical, rift, or flat grain. Most of the logs that we work with have fairly typical grain. Every once in a while, we find something completely out of the ordinary inside a log. Sometimes there might be some indications on the outside of the log, such as a rippled or bubble like appearance under the bark, but these signs are never a guarantee.
Once we cut the log open and find some exceptional grain, it is like opening a stack of christmas presents. I will eagerly sweep the sawdust off the board in order to see just what sort of grain there is. As soon as I cut the next board, I will rush to check the grain again, to see if the the figure is still there. Figured grain in a log is sort of like a seam of ore. You never know how deep it will go, or in what direction it will run in. Sometimes we might get one board off the top of the log with figure, and then the rest of the boards are quite average looking. Sometimes the figure will go all the way to the center of the log.
Whenever I find these boards I set them aside in my "secret stash" waiting for the perfect customer. Those of you who saw this video, know that we have our planing line up and running, so I decided to run some of these boards through the planer. We have been experimenting with sorting our lumber into different grades recently, and we were trying to come up with a name for the grade that was above Select. We settled on the "Wow Grade". If the boards makes you say wow, it is better than a Select board and goes in the Wow Grade pile.
For those of you who can make it, we are having an Open House and Tour here at the Zena Forest and Sawmill on August 28th, 2014 starting at 4pm. We are co-hosting this event with one of our primary flooring installers Restoration Creek. You will have a chance to ogle our collection of Wow Boards, as well as go on a forest tour, watch a sawing demonstration. We will be providing food and drink for those in attendance. Watch our Facebook page for more info.