Medullary rays are a natural product, which means that the colour and grain of oak can vary from one piece to another as, after all, nature is unpredictable! In addition to the warm tones and grains that they bring, some oak features unique markings called medullary rays which can be a way of adding character, beauty and uniqueness to your staircase.
Medullary rays are also known as Pith Rays or Tiger masks, and can often be mistaken for damaged, repaired or watermarked but this couldn’t be further from the truth. These wonderful features are natural on the timber and show its roots as opposed to a polished finish that can detract from its raw appeal.
These marks are caused by sap moving through the wood perpendicular to the rings as nutrition is transported from its core to the outer areas leaving silver or gold ribbons, as well as being an important part of the tree’s growing process.
The presence of these markings are subjective, like many things. Far from being a defect in the wood, these markings are actually prized by many carpenters and customers for their traditional, high-end appearance and because they are an indication of the finest oak from the "prized part of the tree". Some carpenters even pride themselves on using timber with medullary rays as they are most prominent in oak which has been quarter sawn which reduces expanding, twisting and warping.
As with any other fine oak furniture, because we only select the finest oak for our stock with these natural markings, you may find some medullary rays in the timer we use.
Hopefully here at Stair Crazy we have encouraged you to celebrate and embrace any markings in the wood in your home in property, instead of discarding it.