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Wood Grain

Each of products are made from hand-selected slabs which are carefully chosen for their unique and beautiful characteristics - specifically with grain patterns. We believe that every piece of wood tells a story, and we love to showcase the natural beauty of different wood grains in our designs. Read on to learn more about the different wood grain patterns we offer.



Take a look at some examples of the most commonly used wood species. While the color tones are similar throughout each species, note that each tree will slightly differ than each other. 

Wood Grain Patterns | AgainstTheGrain Woodworking | Noblesville, IN


Perhaps the most common distinction between hardwood grains is ‘open’ and ‘closed’, with each showcasing their own unique patterns.


Open Grain hardwoods, such as elm, oak, and ash are “ring-porous” species that often have a natural, rustic feel. Commonly found in trees that grow faster during spring and slower in summer, these timbers often have stronger, more pronounced grain patterns.


Closed Grain hardwoods, such as cherry, maple, birch, and yellow poplar, are “diffuse-porous” species. With tighter growth rings, these types of wood usually have a straight grain, causing a more subtle, plain, cleaner appearance.

Some species fall into the "grey" area, such as Black Walnut. This species can be open or closed grain, depending on where it was sourced and the conditions surrounding the growth.

Know your grain


Wood Figuring Patterns

At AgainstTheGrain, we are committed to providing our customers with the best woodworking products and services. Wood figuring can be caused by growth conditions, how the tree is cut, fungus, decay, and insects. Take a look at the most common patterns found in our locally sourced hardwood below.


Spalted Wood

Spalting appears as a black wavy line throughout the grain, most commonly along the edges. This is caused by natural decay of the wood and is most present in maple slabs. Spalting is also common in slabs that have a very eccentric live edge shape, which is usually accompanied by soft spots that need reinforced with epoxy resin to present a hard surface.

Wood Grain Patterns | Spalted Wood | AgainstTheGrain Woodworking | Noblesville, IN


Ambrosia (Wormy) Wood

Most commonly seen in maple, Ambrosia patterns are caused by wormholes and bug trials. This pattern can also be seen in cherry and other species that have had more exposure to bug trails.

Depending on the type of bug inside the wood, the patterns and trails they leave will be different.  

Wood Grain Patterns | Ambrosia Wood | AgainstTheGrain Woodworking | Noblesville, IN


Curly Wood

Curls are more common across a variety of species, including maple, walnut, ash and more. Giving a look of rippled, stripes, and overall texture, it's a fairly common grain figuring pattern that comes from the compression of the wood grain. Trees that don't grow completely straight have a higher chance of having this pattern that produces an appearance that almost looks 3D.

Wood Grain Patterns | Curly Wood | AgainstTheGrain Woodworking | Noblesville, IN


Crotch Cut Wood

Crotch cut slabs refers to slabs cut where a log splits into branches.  This creates a really unique wood figure on most hardwood slabs.  A customer favorite is crotch-cut walnut slabs, as they have a really colorful and unique pattern once they are finished.  Below is a picture of a small end table we made from a piece of crotch cut walnut wood.

Wood Grain Patterns | Crotch Cut Wood | AgainstTheGrain Woodworking | Noblesville, IN
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