Annual Rings: The distinct banding to the trunk of a tree made by Earlywood and Latewood corresponds to one season’s growth and enables the age of a felled tree, and the climatic conditions through which it has grown, to be determined. Wide annual rings indicate good growing conditions and narrow ones poor or drought conditions.
Bast: The inner bark tissue that conducts food throughout the tree. Also known as Phloem.
Burrs: These are wart-like growths which appear on trees possibly caused by an injury to the tree in an early stage of growth preventing the development of twigs or branches.
Butts: The butt or stump of a tree is the section above ground nearest its roots.
Cambium Layer: This is the thin layer of living cells between the bark and the wood of a tree. The Cambium Layer subdivides every year to form new wood on the inner side and Phleom or Bast on the outside.
Earlywood: also called Springwood, is laid down in spring, at the early part of the growing season and is the more rapid part of the annual growth ring. Earlywood can usually be recognised as the wider band of paler coloured wood in each growth ring.
Figure: The pattern seen on the surface of a veneer is known as the figure. It results from two main factors – natural features of the wood and the way the log is cut to produce the veneer. Natural features can include: the scarcity or frequency of growth rings; colour variations between earlywood and latewood; the peculiarities of the combinations of grain types; pigments and markings in the wood structure; contortions around knots; swollen butts and the stunted growth of burrs; and the tree’s reaction to the effects of tension or compression during its life.
Grain: This is the natural arrangement of the wood fibres in relation to the main axis of the tree. There are eight types (Straight, Irregular, Cross, Wavy, Curly, Spiral, Diagonal and Interlocked).
Groundwork: The base material upon which the Marquetry piece is laid.
Hardwoods: are broadleaved trees, both evergreen and deciduous. They are also known as Angiosperms.
Heartwood: is the mature wood that forms the tree’s spine. Heartwood is formed from dead sapwood cells and is usually darker in colour.
Latewood: also known as Summerwood, grows more slowly, in the summertime, and produces thicker walled cells. Their slower growth creates harder and usually darker wood than Earlywood.
Lustre: This is the ability of the wood cells to reflect light and is closely related to texture. Close, smooth textured woods are likely to be more lustrous than coarse textured woods such as Oak.
Marquetry: Is the assembly of veneers to form a picture or decorative pattern.
Pith: The central core of the tree trunk. This can be weak and often suffers from fungal and insect attack.
Ray Cells: Also called Medullary Rays, radiate from the centre of the tree. They carry and store nutrients horizontally through the sapwood, in the same way as cells that follow the axis of the trunk.
Sapwood: is the new wood, the cells of which conduct or store nutrients. For the woodworker, sapwood is inferior to heartwood.
Softwoods: are needle-leaved coniferous trees. Also known as Gymnosperms.
Texture: This refers to the variation in the size of the spring and summer cells in the tree. Oak is coarse textured; Mahogany, medium textured; and Sycamore is fine textured
Veneer: A veneer is a thin slice of wood; its thickness is determined by the end use. There are basically two classifications of veneer a) Constructional b) Decorative.
Decorative veneer as used in Marquetry is typically 0.6mm thick.