How To Handle Wood Defects

Many woodworkers prefer to avoid wood with any voids or defects because they degrade the beauty or value of the finished product. Other woodworkers believe defects in their works of art are often highly prized. These woodworkers seek out and find wood with certain defects because it add unique character to the wood and the finished product. Other woodworkers prefer wood that is more straight forward. They require absolute uniform material to produce their piece. This article will explain how to handle wood defects.

Many woodworkers rely on suppliers to ship them the wood they want. We at Carib Teak Inc. are very cautious when sending our customers wood that is generally free of deformed or irregular wood. We advise woodworkers who prefer to buy their wood from a lumberyard or big box store that they should carefully choose the wood they need and select only those pieces that are usable. They may have to get permission to sort through the lumber and also promise to re-stack everything when done.

Not all woodworkers, however, want to sort through stacks of lumber. Instead, they may opt for the most expensive-grade available, whether it’s needed or not. Others who prefer the a more budget friendly approach prefer to buy more figured woods because they are highly skilled and know how to handle wood defects.

Of course, there are times when the best grade is the best choice, especially for premium furniture makers, but more often, woodworkers can save money and get good wood for their projects by using lower grades. Often, lower-grade boards display more beautiful figure and character than better boards. The catch to finding these pieces, though, is to know the basics about buying lumber.

Some woodworkers may even obtain wood from fence rows and fields, and perhaps old abandoned barns or other buildings. But they need to be wary of getting wood that might contain bullets, nails, or barbed wire which could damage a saw blade.

For most woodworkers, the easiest way to deal with natural defects is to simply avoid using the wood. Another option, though, is to hide the defect.  At times you can use a knot in a tabletop as long as its kept underneath and it doesn’t pose a structural problem.  At times clients prefer the unique look of the wood.

Defects can also play a supporting role – provided they enhance the beauty of a piece. For instance, when you come across wood that has attractive burls, we rarely use it as a slab in and of itself because the wood is usually unstable. Instead, we slice it into quarter-inch thick pieces and applies it to a stable backing inside door panels or uses it as a veneer on furniture.

Knots & Holes

We work with various species of woods. Often times you may encounter several species of wood with knots and insect holes, but we have  learned to incorporate them into our finished pieces.

Knots are common in Western Red Cedar.  They add to the beauty and characteristic of the wood. You may also find small pin holes in some species of wood that may be due to small insect holes. These types of small holes are able to be filled or sanded out depending on finished application.