The Beauty of Oak
Oak grain explained
Better quality oak furniture is normally constructed using Quarter-sawn wood. This will produce a grain with straight, tight lines running the full length of the board. The wood is less likely to twist, warp or cup, holds a better finish and does not allow fluids to penetrate easily. The beautiful silvery wisps running through the grain are called “Medullary Rays” and allow the radial transmission of sap from the heart of the tree to the outer - an essential process of Tylosis, which is the tree protecting itself from any foreign invaders as it expands. They are an entirely natural feature that is evident in all good quality oak.
So the next time that you see some silvery flecks, or strange silver "tiger stripes” running through the grain, there is nothing wrong with the wood, in fact quite the reverse. Medullary Rays are a great sign that what you are buying is quality solid wood with real character that will last you for many years to come.
No two pieces are ever exactly the same
The variations in grain pattern and colour are what give real wood its natural beauty and timeless appeal. No two pieces will ever be exactly the same so your piece of furniture will be unique to you to look after and treasure. Real wood furniture will improve with age, the minor marks and knocks picked up through use will add character and the colour and texture will acquire a patina as the wood mellows.
Remember that not so long ago, your piece of Oak Furniture was a tree. After cutting, the wood is kiln dried to bring it down to a moisture content suitable for the average home. However, wood lives and breathes and reacts to its environment and it is natural for wood to shrink and expand depending on temperature and humidity. Minor cracks may occur, but these will not affect the structural integrity of the piece. In certain situations it is preferable to use veneers instead of solid wood in order for the furniture to perform better.