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When a piece of wood is cut through the ends or transverse sections of cell vessels, it creates pores. Pores can only be found in hardwoods, and can be large and distinct, like in red oak. This is an ideal specie for stain and is very common to stain red oak or white oak for a high quality final product with a nice stain color. Woods with very small pores like hard maple can be very hard to stain and we only recommend to have it clear coat or facture stain (prefinish). Hardwoods can be classified in three different genres of pore types: ring-porous, diffuse-porous, or semi-ring-porous.

Ring-porous woods have large pores located in the earlywood part of the growth ring. Often, they create an uneven grain and a tendency to split easily, due to the weakness. Such wood types include ash and elm and are generally coarse-textured. These woods do have their place though. Ring-porous wood is desirable for pieces that need to be split along the grain like chair spindles. They often have problems with finish due to their large pores, however. This can be solved by filling the pores before finishing. Larger pores can also cause the finish to bleed back if pools of finish gather in them.

Diffuse-porous woods like maple, poplar, and cherry generally have smaller pores that are more evenly distributed throughout their early growth and late growth areas. Many of these woods will not cause any problems when it comes to finishing, but some woods, like mahogany and birch, have relatively large pores. Be sure to fill these pores as you finish to create a beautiful surface.

Lastly, semi-ring-porous woods are somewhere in the middle of the above mentioned. They have evenly distributed pores like the diffuse-porous woods, but have larger pores like the ring-porous. They are semi-coarse, and require some pore-filling prior to finishing, sanding and staining.

Riftsawn is second best while plainsawn falls dead last because the amount of wood flooring that they can extract from a single tree and install correctly as well as give the right acclimation time is very slim and often warps or cups as times goes on. This is not to say that only quartersawn wood should be used, but you should consider the type of flooring work that will be done before investing in your wood floors.