One of the major contributors to the confusion that leads to unmet expectations with respect to decorative wood panel products is the use of the photograph, artistic rendition, or sample. These examples have great educational value on a generic level, and I am certainly not opposed to them as long as everyone in the communication chain realizes the limitations they represent. It is important that we understand that a single photograph or small hand sample of a random piece of wood without accompanying words of edification is just not sufficient to create reasonable expectations for the overall appearance of a larger volume of wood for a given project.

Likewise, artistic renditions, frequently ages old, used to illustrate a general grain appearance for a particular cutting method, again without a thorough explanation can not be considered a reliable means of predicting actual final appearance. The fact is that wood appearance can vary greatly from tree to tree, and it is similar only in a broad sense from within the same tree. A single photograph or small hand sample of wood can offer the holder only the most general depiction of the look and feel of a given species. It tells you exactly what that particular piece of wood looks like, and absolutely nothing about the appearance of any additional wood of that species, even from the same tree. It positively does not and indeed can not provide a reasonable expectation for inherent variation in appearance that must be expected for any given application requiring wood from any source. Columbia Forest Products.

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