Glossary of common woodturning terms:
Burl - A large rounded outgrowth on the trunk or branch of a tree. The wood cut from such an outgrowth is often used decoratively as a veneer, or in fine woodworking.
Chatoyance - Chatoyance is defined as “changing in luster or color” or “having a reflective streak”. It adds beauty to any turned piece by giving it the quality of depth and reflectivity not found in regular grain.
Crotch - that part of a tree or log where two branches separate, otherwise know as a fork. Crotches are particularly sought after in wood turning because of the variations in the grain and chatoyance found there.
Figured - figured is a general term to mean any of several types of patterns or markings on or in the wood including: feathered, fiddle-back, curly, quilted, or birds eye. The natural pattern on a sawed or turned wood surface produced by the intersection of knots, burls, growth rings, etc. Figured wood is less common and more valuable than “normal” grain patterns.
Grow Over - A part of the tree where a branch was cut or damaged and the tree continued to grow over the damaged spot. This frequently results in holes and bark inclusions (see below).
Bark Inclusion - a place where bark is pinched between two branches and trapped in the wood. Inclusions are often found in a crotch or grow over.
Punky - Punky wood is partially decayed (past spalted) and sometimes soft. It generally cannot be turned unless the area is small and not where the lathe holds the piece.
Spalted - Spalted wood is in an early stage of decay. Fungus that are naturally occurring in all living trees begins to grow and spread in wet wood, especially when the wood is damaged or fallen. Spalting can be induced or enabled to change the look of a piece if desired. Spalted wood is almost always more interesting and visually appealing than “plain” wood.