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One of the most frequent emails and phone calls we receive from our customers are those asking about the strange white marks that are visible on their newly purchased oak items. Many people get concerned and worried as they believe these marks to be a defect in their furniture item, however in reality this could not be further from the truth

Back to Oak Furniture

What is a medullary ray in oak furniture?

Medullary Ray in OakThese mystery marks are a naturally occurring finish called "medullary rays" and are something which add a rich character and beauty to all of our oak furniture items. Let us baffle you with the science... These rays are caused by plant cells which extend vertically at an angle that is perpendicular to the tree's vertical cells or growth rings as they are more commonly known. These ribbon-like cells allow the conveyance of sap through the trunk, making them an essential part of the growing process of the tree. When the trunk is cut, the cells produce silvery slithers and markings across the sawn area that become particularly prominent when the oak is polished, varnished or oiled.

A sign of quality Oak Furniture

Example of Sawn OakFar from being a sign of damage or flaws, these medullary rays are in fact an indication that the furniture item you have purchased has been crafted from the finest and most expensive quarter sawn oak. In logging and carpentry, oak trees can be sawn in two different ways. Tangential or plain sawing is a process that yields the most timber from the trunk of the tree. It is the faster form of timber production and it provides far less waste making it the most common timber harvesting technique. Quarter sawing on the other hand is a much slower process that produces lesser board footage and is far more expensive to produce. Due to the ring growth direction, quarter sawn timber is far greater in strength and shows off the most medullary rays on the surface.

Skilled Carpentry

Example of Medullary Rays in oak FurnitureSo next time you look down on your dining table or gaze over at your sideboard just remember that those silver sparks of light along its surface are an indication of the time consuming labour and love that has gone into its craftsmanship and a feature of the high quality selection of wood that makes up its beautiful exterior.

Alicia Newman

How we offer these low prices

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We offer high quality design led furniture at a fraction of the cost of high street stores. We do this by buying directly from the factories so you can be rest assured you are getting value for money whilst not compromising on the quality or service standards.

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