If you are fortunate enough to have a sawmill, you know the joy of cutting into a log to unlock the unique grain pattern that is hidden inside of every chunk of wood. Cutting logs into slabs always reveals something special, and you never know what it might be. But, when it comes to discovering beautiful grain patterns inside, not all sections of log are created equal.
One area where you will have a higher probability of finding a beautiful pattern is in crotch wood. Crotch wood is found where two main trunk lines, or a trunk and a large limb, join to form a “Y”. The intersection is where two different grain patterns merge, often forming a swirling effect within the grain pattern of the crotch.
Crotch wood can be used for several applications where this highly figured grain pattern can be showcased:
Table top: A slab table is a great way to showcase a beautiful piece of crotch wood. This allows a large surface area to remain intact, and provides maximum visibility for the grain pattern in the crotch.
Turned bowl: Bowl turners love to find a piece of crotch wood to turn into a bowl. The bowl is a special project for using crotch wood because it captures such a large diameter of the crotch, showcasing the grain pattern from around the perimeter rather than simply a cross-section as you would see in a table top.
Decorative wall art: Some woodworkers use crotch wood to create art pieces that can be hung on a wall like a painting. This is a great way to honor a piece of crotch.
Whether you have a chainsaw mill, bandsaw mill, or simply a bandsaw in your shop, you will want to explore the possibility of incorporating crotch wood into your woodworking.