What is Vertical Grain Heart Pine and Heart Cypress?

What is Vertical Grain Heart Pine and Heart Cypress?

We are often asked about our vertical grain heart pine and heart cypress.  Building design professionals and homeowners alike often specify Goodwin’s vertical grain heart pine and heart cypress because of its attractive pinstriping. It also experiences shrink/swell at half the rate of select.

The vertical grain is actually the result of quarter sawing the wood. Quarter sawing is a process that results in what we often refer to as pinstriping grain, which are perpendicular lines running down the full length of the board.

Vertical Grain

While all woods can be quarter sawn, both antique heart pine and heart cypress really display this particular face nicely.  This mostly has to do with the fact that the growth rings in antique wood are very, very tight.  We say that you should expect a minimum of eight growth rings per inch with antique heart pine and you can regularly find 20 growth rings per inch with antique heart cypress.

Vertical Grain

Below are some key attributes of vertical grain heart pine and heart cypress:

  • 100% VERTICAL grain will display no growth rings more than 45 degrees perpendicular to the face of each board. If you look at the end of a piece of vertical grain heart pine flooring you will see no growth rings proud of 45 degrees.
  • Quarter sawing requires larger logs so it produces fewer over all knots. Knots are a result of branching and most of the branching in older trees is at the top.
  • Quarter sawing produces wood that experiences shrink/swell at about half the rate that plain sawn wood does (i.e. select is an example of plain sawn). In historic wood frame homes you will discover that they nearly all have doors, door framing and jambs, windows and window framing crafted of vertical grain heart pine or heart cypress rather than select pieces.  Better builders have always known that shrink/swell in vertical grain heart pine and heart cypress is greatly reduced and have traditionally used it for parts of buildings that open and close.

Vertical grain heart pine and heart cypress takes more time to produce than plain sawn wood.  The tradeoff is that quarter sawn vertical grain heart pine and heart cypress has a much more refined look, which is why it is often found in high end historic homes. For example, it is widely known that prominent mid-nineteenth century New Orleans architect Henry Howard specified nothing but quarter sawn vertical grain heart pine for the homes he designed.

Are you interested in learning more about Goodwin’s vertical grain heart pine and heart cypress? If so, our antique wood experts are ready to discuss how you can incorporate this elegant wood into your home or office.  Give us a call today!