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One way to understand wood after harvest is to understand how a tree grows, even down to the cellular level. First of all, all trees receive their sustenance through their roots. After the roots gather the nutrients, they are transported up to the branches and leaves and the tree continues to produce sap for new cell growth.

All of this nutrient collection occurs on the outside of the tree, while the heartwood (the very core layer of the wood) is not involved and does not play a direct role in additional sap production. But all five of the layers of wood are different cell types that provide some type of life sustaining function for the tree, including transporting water, mechanical strength, and helping the tree withstand the natural stresses that will occur during its life. The arrangement, type, size, and shape of these cell types will determine the structure of the wood.

So how can anyone understand these factors? Examining the longitudinal structure will provide some answers for any woodworker. The longitudinal structure of the wood helps determine the grain direction, which is the way the predominant fibers in the wood are arranged. Further complicating this process is the fact that the fibers within the wood lack a prevalent uniformity. However, this helps to explain why two different pieces of wood floor from the same species can vary greatly. Even hardwood flooring from the same section of wood can be completely different, which helps illustrate that wood can often work in entirely unpredictable ways this is way you need a flooring professional when you install your new wood floors.

This presents a very obvious problem when the time comes to choose wood floor for a project, whether it be a new chair flooring or a new home medallion. Luckily, with a little education on the way that wood works, you can avoid damaging the wood and avoid future problems with the flooring installation.

Longitudinal cells can be found in the cross-sectional face of a board. Using this type of face is the best for items like chopping blocks or cutting boards because it is the hardest surface on the board.

If woodworkers needed to make splints or other straight-grained parts, they may want to use the radial surface because the split fibers will follow the grain-lines. This surface will show straight growth rings or lines, depending on the size. This provides an attractive element for any flooring project as well. For someone who wants more personality and a wild organic side to their wood floors, they might choose to use the tangential side, which has an irregular wood grain pattern and can be used as a visual design feature.