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Discussion Starter #1
The thing that I have been least pleased with about my site, for many years now, is the quality of the end grain closeups. Some of them are pretty good, most are mediocre, and quite a few are just crap.

I haven't done anything about it because I knew that it would a major pain in the butt to get it right, but I've finally bitten the bullet and decided to update them. To some extent, I was motivated by Eric Meier whose site "The Wood Database" has some excellent end grain closeups. Eric sent me a link to a demo by a pro in Europe who goes a lot further than what I'm now doing, but it was an inspiration for me to at least do a half-way decent job.

Can you imagine sanding a little area about 3" x 8" over and over for 30 to 40 minutes?. DAMN that's tedious ! That's what it takes to do just the sanding on a set of 10 or so samples. Then I have to take new pics and then put them up on the site. All in all, it is at LEAST as much of a pain as I expected and it's going to take approximately forever to update all the samples on the site.

The good news is that the results are worth it.

A full description is given here: http://www.hobbithouseinc.com/personal/woodpics/_endgrainUPDATE/index.htm and just so you can see what I'm talking about, here's one of my more crappy originals and the same sample using the new technique, and then a full-sized portion (which is 12x) of each, REALLY showing the difference.

velvet ash old.jpg
velvet ash end grain sanded to 200 grit


velvet ash new.jpg
the exact same piece sanded to 1200 grit


velvet ash zoom old.jpg
12x section (old)


velvet ash zoom new.jpg
12x section (new)
 

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Wow, quite a difference.

The revised images remind me of my Bruce Hoadley book "Identifying wood".

The end grain does allow much easier identification, but as you illustrate, the end grain needs sanding to a fine level, and then closeup pictures are needed.

I love your site, and the new images will make it even better.

Thanks for posting and the hard work on the site. :thumbsup:
 

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Wowoweeeee what a lot of work.
But what a difference.
What I come away with from your great efforts is the importance of finishing end grain not only for smoothness to touch, but also for richness of color.

Thank you thank you.
 

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That's really cool to do a deep dive into the end grain. Gives a whole different perspective. It would be nice to have a "home" convenience link on these pages that go to the home page of your wood ID site so the articles are not dead-ends. You have a lot of great stuff there!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
That's really cool to do a deep dive into the end grain. Gives a whole different perspective. It would be nice to have a "home" convenience link on these pages that go to the home page of your wood ID site so the articles are not dead-ends. You have a lot of great stuff there!
Hey, thanks for pointing that out. Most of the articles DO point back to the main page, but now that you mention it, I see that some don't so I'll fix that.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'm gonna start saving up for a new poster (assuming you are planning an end grain edition).
Yeah, that's an interesting idea Kevin had, but no plans right now. It may be a couple of years at least before I get all my samples redone
 

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End grain alone, the transverse view, is not at all adequate for wood species identification, legal or otherwise. You need to supply both the tangential and the radial views, as well. Stained as 20 micrometer thin sections, we can get down to business.

For example, a transverse view will not show the distribution and quantities of uniseriate and multiseriate rays. That may be the key when you are called into court to testify as an expert witness.
The tangential and radial views will display axial parenchyma that you can only guess at, otherwise.

In the mean time, fairly good work. I have blocks and microscope slides for 300+ species (was a part of my job.)
 

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about sanding wood down to that fine a grit: if you wanted to put a finish over that wood, could there be problems encountered? i ask b/c reading the instructions for the can of stain that i have state not to exceed 220 grit when sanding. however, i find that just 220 on the piece that i'm working on leaves the ends looking like junk and going up to 400 starts to give the same effect as above where the wood darkens and shows it's colors. the flat sections of the piece are 220 tops. just wondering what i can expect when i finish this piece.

very interesting thread, btw.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
End grain alone, the transverse view, is not at all adequate for wood species identification, legal or otherwise. You need to supply both the tangential and the radial views, as well. Stained as 20 micrometer thin sections, we can get down to business.

For example, a transverse view will not show the distribution and quantities of uniseriate and multiseriate rays. That may be the key when you are called into court to testify as an expert witness.
The tangential and radial views will display axial parenchyma that you can only guess at, otherwise.

In the mean time, fairly good work. I have blocks and microscope slides for 300+ species (was a part of my job.)
Interesting information if one plans on testifying in court. I don't.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
about sanding wood down to that fine a grit: if you wanted to put a finish over that wood, could there be problems encountered? i ask b/c reading the instructions for the can of stain that i have state not to exceed 220 grit when sanding. however, i find that just 220 on the piece that i'm working on leaves the ends looking like junk and going up to 400 starts to give the same effect as above where the wood darkens and shows it's colors. the flat sections of the piece are 220 tops. just wondering what i can expect when i finish this piece.

very interesting thread, btw.
I know next to nothing about staining wood since I consider it to be an evil activity.
 

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I know next to nothing about staining wood since I consider it to be an evil activity.
does sanding up to that fine a grit (1200) seal off the wood to a degree? your pics show how shiny the wood gets so i wonder if that's good enough to protect the wood from intrusion? i have no clue is why i ask. thanks!
 

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does sanding up to that fine a grit (1200) seal off the wood to a degree? your pics show how shiny the wood gets so i wonder if that's good enough to protect the wood from intrusion? i have no clue is why i ask. thanks!
This is from Bob Flexner's book "Understanding Wood Finishing" - an excellent resource if you don't have it already.

There are two types of colorant used in stains: pigment and dye. Pigment is finely ground natural or synthetic earth. Dye is a chemical that disolves in a liquid. Everything that settles to the bottom of a container is pigment, and all the color that remains in the liquid after the pigment has settled is dye..... Pigment lodges only in scratches and pores large enough to hold it when the excess is wiped off. Dye penetrates everywhere more or less equally along with the liquid it is dissolved in.
Two other notes: Pigment will obscure the wood grain and figure by it's nature of adding opaque material. Dye could fade when exposed to ultraviolet sunlight.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
does sanding up to that fine a grit (1200) seal off the wood to a degree? your pics show how shiny the wood gets so i wonder if that's good enough to protect the wood from intrusion? i have no clue is why i ask. thanks!
Only, I think, for very hard woods and especially if they are oily. It is common, for example, to leave cocobolo tool handles unfinished if finely buffed.

What SHOULD protect wood from dyes is a natural disinclination to obsure beauty. :smile:
 
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