What is Continuous Grain or Waterfall Grain?

Waterfall or Continuous Grain

Waterfall or Continuous Grain

Miter Cut for Waterfall grain

Waterfall Grain or Continuous Grain is when the wood grain on a finished piece of furniture carries from one plane (horizontal) to the next plane (vertical).  It is achieved by cutting a long Miter (angled cut) on a single board or panel.   Its clear why the term waterfall is used as the grain pours from the top down the side.   This type of Joint is a common staple in modern furniture as it provides a clean, seamless, and uniform look.  The effect hides the End Grain of the wood and thus prevents the abrubt stop found in the common Butt Joint (butting of one board against another).  

Waterfall or Continous Grain often takes the craftsperson more time, effort, and skill and can add to the cost and production time of a product, but many find it is worth a little extra.  


Whats the difference between Heartwood and Sapwood?

Sapwood and Heartwood Walnut

Sapwood and Heartwood Walnut

The sapwood is usually less dense than the heartwood and will not change or darken significantly over time.  The heartwood is less susceptible to rot, decay, and insect attacks, though this doesn't really apply to properly treated lumber or indoor furniture. 

Outer Sapwood Inner Heartwood

Outer Sapwood Inner Heartwood

Heartwood and Sapwood are part of the natural growth of a tree and makeup all hardwood lumber. The sapwood is the wood closest to the bark of a tree.  It is often a lighter tone than the heartwood, which is the wood closest to the center of the tree.  On a living tree, the sapwood carries the water and nutrients up from the ground.  The heartwood is considered somewhat dead but provides strength and support. Heartwood and sapwood vary in color, density, and width by species.

In Furniture:

Above, the sapwood can be seen as the lighter streaks in the center of the Walnut cabinet and the heartwood as the darker brown.  It can be used aesthetically to add contrast to an otherwise uniform tone.  Its mostly aesthetic taste as both are suitable for building furniture and are equally strong, though sapwood could dent easier in some species. Remember wood lumber varies greatly,  If you like a  certain coloration or tone, let your craftsperson know, though sometimes this may cost more if they have to cut out sapwood or pick special boards.

The Start of this Journal

Our options for buying furniture have greatly increased in recent years, with great online market places, a new revolution of small manufacturers, and global stores.    Its a great time for buyers to find the styles that appeal to their tastes and assemble our homes from manufacturers all over the world.  Buying from smaller companies is one of the best options  for finding unique pieces to suit your tastes and make your home standout among the crowd.  The perceived risks can feel greater buying from small manufacturers than buying from a larger chain, I'd like to help change that.  

Its taken me years to learn my craft and will be a continued life of experimentation and study.  Finding quality information often requires drawing from many sources, with often opposing viewpoints.  I haven't found many great resources that speak to the buyers and patrons of large or small furniture manufacturers.  Customers should know what the builders know.  Construction methods, installation, joints, longevity, materials, maintenance, overall quality, design, and the lingo of the trade.  And thats what this area will be about.  

Ill post weekly starting with the methods and materials I use in my furniture, often using my own photos as examples.  This will be the easiest way for me to get started.  But I won't just focus on my own products, I want this to be a well rounded resource to help you learn and choose the furniture and accessories that will work for you and to help you feel confident in those purchases.  If there are specific questions or topics that you would like addressed, Id love to hear from you.  Thanks for your support