I notice, on nicer bridges where you can see the medullary rays, the rays are longer on the top side and often just dots on the bottom. Does this mean the the bottom is cut more more precisely perpendicular to the grain? Or the other way around? Thanks
The stripes are on the side that was most nearly pointed directly at the center of the tree...the closest to a true "radial" cut.
Medullary rays, yes...I think the flame is harder to read, but in general, you are probably correct. I have maple whose flame runs all the way across a one-piece back, but which is slab-cut, not even close to quartered. So it probably is not a reliable indicator, unless you are really good at reading what kind of flame it is. For myself, I look at the end grain, and see which way the rings are pointing. then I am not guessing.
But I have had people complain that I "left scraper marks" on spruce, and when I looked to see what they were talking about, of course, it turned out to be the very fine medullary rays showing up in the areas of the top that were exactly radially cut, and which can only occupy a small portion of the compound curve. Ah, well...not everyone appreciates that look.
A friend of mine likes to describe overly figured woods like blister quilted maple: it's like going to a girly bar and falling in love for all of the wrong reasons....
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