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What is a Medullary Ray?

Updated: Feb 12, 2023

And how do you pronounce that?

First things first. Mè -Dull -lery

I have owned my own business most of my life and searched high and low for a business name that felt like it fit me and the work I have chosen. At first, I used my own name and quickly learned issues with this method. As a general contractor, a woman in a male dominated field, "Jacque" became Jack to most people. These days it's not so much an issue, but I have used Jacquelyn ever since that first year.

Many years ago, when I decided to dedicate myself to woodworking, I used Perfect45Degree. It's a pretty good name for a woodworker. I liked it. But it just didn't sum up what I do. I like curves and yes, my boxes have perfect 45 degree's but does the rest? So, I switched to InstarDesign. Like I said, "searching high and low"! An instar is a development phase. A caterpillar goes through 5 instars before becoming a butterfly. I go though many iterations before I land on a complete design. Again, I like it but I'm not all about butterflies, I'm into wood.

When I learned what a medullary ray is and that I have always loved them in wood I was curious. I could see this being the name of a cute little store in a mountain town. I've always wanted to live on a mountain. Medullary Ray is definitely something I connect with, and the meaning is perfect!

A medullary ray is both in our bodies and in many trees. In a tree it is a healing nutrition highway that runs from the core of the tree to the outside in order to seal up any breach. This highway sends water and super charged nutrition across the vertical grain of the tree.

Medullary Rays
I found this Oak hiking. A great example of Medullary Rays!

If you look at the right side of the photo above, you'll see white lines running from the center to the perimeter. These are Medullary Rays. Later, if that tree is ever milled it creates interesting marks in the wood. The box below made from Leopard Wood (Roupala montana) is speckled with medullary rays.

Not only the Leopard Wood but also the Lily inlay made from quartersawn Sycamore. This too is speckled with Medullary Rays! This convinced me that Medullary Ray was just the right name for my business.

I have long held on to the hope and dream that the furniture I make brightens the spirit. Throughout the years I have had various opportunities to walk into a room with one of my pieces and I am surprised, delighted and touched with appreciation. I feel my hope and life ignite as my core spirit is lifted. This is what I hope for anyone who has contact with one of my pieces. I do also believe that this radiates out into the world in many ways lifting humanity as a whole.

I realize this is probably a grand dream, but I hold on to it. The idea that what I toil over in my best effort to create something wonderful for someone to behold; to have that item inspire or please, is such an honor! Not to mention, worth all the splinters in my hands, sawdust up my nose and finish under my nails.

Seriously though, what a great honor to create inspiration for others. I will continue to do my utmost.

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