The Character of Timber
Timber is a natural material with variations of grain pattern, knots and
colour in every piece. You should not expect timber to show uniformity, instead the variations enhance the unique nature and individuality of each furniture item.
As timber matures its colour becomes deeper and richer due to the action of light and air on the wood. This process is often called "mellowing" and is one of the most attractive features of natural timber. Some pieces of timber will colour more than others to form a unique individual pattern, so no two pieces are ever identical.
Other natural characteristics that may be apparent are;
- Mineral streaks: Greenish grey streaks caused by the oxidation of minerals.
- Knots: Internal marks of branch growth.
- Insect markings: Holes or healed scars evident in even the healthiest of trees.
- Pin Knots: Small dark clusters where branches grow but fail to mature.
- Pitch pockets and contrast between darker heartwood and lighter sapwood.
Freshly sawn timber contains more than 50 percent water and before it is crafted into furniture it is dried in kilns or air dried to reduce the moisture content to a level which allows it to acclimate to the average relative humidity in most homes.
The timber in furniture continues to exchange moisture with the air as it responds to climatic changes in your home. Timber is porous just like your skin and it responds to dry air by losing moisture and shrinking slightly. For example, the tongue-and-groove boards used for drawer bases and unit backs may show some shrinkage in service particularly in centrally heated homes. This is not considered a defect.