Anyone wanting to learn about how wood grain direction affects woodworking should do a little carving. This is the best way to get some direct experience because wood carving is all about wood grain direction and you can only get clean cuts if you understand the direction and tilt that your chisels have to follow in order for that to happen. In spite of knowing this, I am not anywhere in the neighborhood of being a competent wood carver. I guess that makes me a theorist.
I love using the grain in any carving piece. My favourite is Ebony. When I get a block I split it rather than sawing when cutting in the grain direction. I use the tight grained ebony sparingly and splitting does leave a fair amount of waste, but the stability of the cut remains exceptional.
CHRIS, Charlottetown PEI Canada. Anytime you can repurpose, reuse, or recycle, everyone wins!