The beautiful imperfections of a natural wood dining table

“Art is the product of an imperfect world. In a perfect world, art would not exist.”

― Marty Rubin

Wormholes. Hairline cracks. Growth rings. These all sounds so lovely, don’t they?

The truth is, nothing makes your Farmhouse table stand out more than the imperfections in the wood which it’s crafted from. That’s because like a snowflake and fingerprint, no two boards of wood are the same, no matter what climate, forest, or tree they come from.

Each piece of wood has its own natural appeal and characteristics brought out by the grain, texture, and patterns. Its this special combination which makes your table uniquely beautiful.

Grain Beauty

When we talk about the grain in wood, we are actually talking about the way the wood cells are positioned. There are actually six variations of grain, all unique in their respective appearance.  These grain patterns accentuate the rustic look in your table and give it their one of a kind beauty.

Let’s look at them in greater detail.

  • A straight grain pattern means the fibrous components, as well as the cells, run parallel to the tree trunk vertical plane
  • Irregular wood grain mostly happens around knots, making the lines irregular and sporadic
  • Diagonal grain, usually the result from the inability of the straight-grained log to be sawn parallel to the vertical axis
  • Spiral grain which comes due to twisting of the fibers around the tree trunk
  • Interlocked grains occur when different layer of the wood are moving in different directions
  • A wavy grain will appear when happens when the direction of the fibers constantly change


The texture of wood also refers to the amount and variation in size of the cells in the wood.

If the cells are wide and large with many pores the texture is known as coarse-grained. If they are smaller cells with fewer pores, it’s known as fine-grained.

When a table is finished by the craftsman, they decide whether to fill in the pores or not.  Depending on how the table will be used, they may decide to keep it rough or open-grained, or more tight which is known as close-grained.

Figures, Patterns, and Character Marks

Different patterns occur when innate features of the wood interact. These include rays, irregular grain, growth rings, and color deposits. These patterns in turn result in what’s known as figures.

For example, irregular grain in burls and crotches cause either feather or plum-pudding figures. Interlocked grains cause Bird’s-eye and ribbon figures. Wavy grain creates tiger stripe or fiddleback figures which hold their own specific looks.

Character marks distinguish your table even further.  These include ingrown knots, tracks left by the insects that lived on the trees the wood was sourced from, as well as bird pecks.

When All Is Said and Done…

Imperfections are what bring out the inherent beauty in your real wood table.  These set your table apart from all the other cookie cutter choices out there, and will quickly become the most talked about piece of furniture in your home.

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