Of the three common grades of hardwood, Select & Better is the highest. Although, durability is consistent throughout the grading scale, SELECT provides greater uniformity of "character" marks and very few imperfections such as knots and holes. The standard only permitting small, tightly grouped knots every few feet. This grade of white oak has mild color variations produced by contrasting light sapwood and light to dark brown heartwood. These subtle alternating shades and smooth grain texture makes it perfect for natural finishes.