Grain direction is usually first hurdle most students need to understand. Often I tell students that the wood will point the way- almost like arrows. When using machines to mill wood down I often say the wood will speak to you. What I mean by this is that wood will splinter and tear out and you can hear it as it pass though or over a machine. I am a big believer of visual aids versus trying to explain the process on a blog post. Below you will find 3 images that are very informative and can really answer many of the questions beginners have when starting to get into woodworking.