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Jeremy Morgan

Enhancing Grain (Growth Ring) Contrast

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Afternoon everyone,  This may be a bit of an odd-ball question but I was hoping someone might have some suggestions.  I am helping my wife with some tree cores that she needs to analyse for work and the growth rings on a few of them are very close together.  We've mounted them on a board and sanded them through about 600 grit but they are still difficult to see.  

 

I'm hoping that we can find some sort of finish/dye/stain that will increase the contrast between the early/late growth wood to make the rings easier to count. We tried using some General finished Dye stain without much success.  If anyone has any suggestions I'd love to hear them.  For reference, there are areas where the rings are spaced at probably less than 1/64" apart.

 

Cheer,  Jeremy

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Stain would not be my first choice as it will blend tones together. Sanding would also not be my preferred path as it will fuzz the fiber ends. Try a card scraper and a clear coat. Try to follow the grain lines radially with your scraping. There should be a density differential that will create some texture. I am not sure what clear I would try so experimentation on an off cut would be good. You ultimately want blemish free however you go. You can try just wetting the fibers too as the different grains will absorb different amounts of water. What are you using for glass? Magnification works wonders.

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