I recently met a woodworker who crafts traditional Japanese shoji screens. I was amazed to find out that it’s common for them to orient the boards so that they actually perform in the direction which the tree grew. So a vertically placed board would be in the same orientation as which it grew. In effect – the bottom of the tree at the bottom of the screen and the top of the tree at the top. He claimed that they perform better in this orientation and were less likely to warp with age. Genius!
But now I can’t stop wondering how in the world they identified the tree growth direction. I understand how to identify grain direction just fine but I can rarely tell which way the tree grew unless there are features like knots, crotches, or other grain elements that give it away.