Wood grain and silvicultureAGEING
The grain of the wood depends on the density of the forest
The width of annual growth depends mostly on the density of the trees. The closer they grow, the more they have to compete for light and water, so the less they grow in a year. There are various methods of silviculture.
Timber forest: High density, fine grain
Logs are long, without knots. These oaks are known to have particularly soft tannins.
In the past, the goal of this style of silviculture was to produce timber for building warships. The Tronçais forest in the Allier département was planted by Colbert for the construction of Louis XIV’s royal fleet.
Natural forest: Low density, wide grain
Logs can be cut younger (at 120 years old, as opposed to over 200 in a timber forest).
The grain is wider and the logs are shorter. An eau-de-vie resting in casks made from this kind of oak can extract more tannin.