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French Polish is a technique whereby you apply shellac in many thin coats while also rubbing the surface of the wood with a "tampon" (that's what it's called) that includes a very mild abrasive called rotten stone. There are a lot of videos and tutorials out there on the technique. It helps add depth and luster to a wood surface. Very labor intensive, but amazing results.

You can also get chatoyancey from most any wood just by riving it. Riving is splitting wood rather than sawing it. This opens up the wood so that you see whole strands of the fibers rather than any cut ends. Think of wood like a bunch of tiny drinking straws held together with gunk. If you split the wood, you mostly split the gunk between the straws and the straws stay together. When you saw it, even quarter sawing, you end up with a surface that also includes a fair amount of straw ends, which don't look as nice as the sides of the straws.

Another advantage of splitting and keeping the "straws" whole along the entire length of the piece of wood is that you now have a much stronger piece of wood, less liable to break. The gunk is much weaker than the straws, so if your grain runs from end to end with any "ends" running to the surface, there are fewer points of potential failure. In the olden days, all ladder rungs were split as were chair rungs. You can get a very strong, yet thinner, piece of wood by splitting it.

Peter Follessbee is the master jointer at Plymouth plantation and a specialist in 17th-century woodworking and a master at riving. Here's an example of how big the old trees used to be. http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/i-dont-have-time-for-this/

His stuff is great. Thought you might enjoy. And sorry for semi-hijacking the thread. Chatoyancey naturally leads me to riving which is an obsession-in-waiting for me.
 

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At a local woodworking club meet a couple of years ago I bought from a guy some quarter-sawn red oak 17" wide and 7' long (and 1" thick). The original diameter of the tree was probably closer to 40". It's waiting for the right project. He said it was a massive old oak that had to come down to make way for a new building. He was able to get the trunk. It was mostly chopped off at the top by the power company, but the trunk was huge.

And the old-growth stuff is great not just because of the sizes, but also because they grew more slowly (more dense forests) so they are also much more dense. I have a bookshelf my great-grandfather made from old-growth white oak and it weighs a ton.

More on-topic, saplings that are growing in dark, dense forests will be much older for the same diameter than something growing on the edge of the forest.
 
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