Well isn’t this exciting?! Things have really started to take a turn for the better! After taking some time and doing a little reading, I sat down and did something that I am finally proud of in terms of my shading with stain learning project!

So the first thing I set out to do was find a kind of wood that would be light in color and have the characteristics which would not get me the same effect as my piece of plywood scrap. Read my previous post, The Bleeding Tiger, if you want to find out more about that interesting experience. After doing some reading on The Nature of Wood from Nick Engler’s Workshop Companion, I kind of had an idea of what I needed to look for.

  • Texture: This is determined by the species of wood and the size of the cells that run longitudinally. What I was looking for was a wood that had a fine texture. So this means that the cells, which made up the wood, needed to be smaller so that the grain pattern was not as distinct as the plywood.


  • Pores: These are the little indents that are left behind when the longitudinal cells are sliced open. Pores are only present in hardwoods. So if I was going to select a hardwood, I needed to make sure that it had a smaller concentration of pores in the wood. Wood that has a smaller concentration of pores is referred to as ring-diffuse. This is where the pores are distributed throughout the wood more evenly. On the other hand, ring-porous woods have a larger concentration of pores and therefore, have a stronger grain pattern
Wood Grain Under Magnification
  • Grain Pattern: This is a result of the orientation of the longitudinal cells. Because I wanted the image that I stain into the wood to be the feature of this piece, I needed the grain pattern to be relatively plain. So what I was looking for was a wood with straight grain instead of wavy grain or figured grain.

Straight.Wavy Grain.png

After considering all of this, my next step was to actually select the wood. I knew that I was going to spend some time on staining this and wanted to have a good final product. As a result, I needed a piece that I thought would look good with the stain on it as well as more then just a hunk of wood. So, I ended up finding a piece of Aspen (I think) that had some bark along the edges. It did the trick quite nicely!


All images displaying the characteristics of wood grain came from WorkshopCompanion.com