Sawn Lumber

Check out this video explaining exactly what sets Plain/Flat Sawn, Quarter Sawn, and Rift Sawn Lumber apart. Although quartersawn and flatsawn surfaces are named after their original method of sawing, in practice, the terms typically just refer to the angle of the growth rings on a piece of processed lumber, with anything between 45° and 90° being referred to as quartersawn, and anything between 0° and 45° generally being flatsawn, regardless of how the log was actually milled.

Flat sawn wood (especially oak) will often display a prominent wavy grain (sometimes called a cathedral-window pattern) caused by the saw cutting at a tangent to a growth ring; since in quartersawn wood the saw cuts across the growth rings, the visible grain is much straighter; it is this evenness of the grain that gives quartersawn wood its greater stability.

Custom woodworkers milling their own logs may use this when making furniture, for example. For the first cut you want to be milling exactly in parallel with the log so you’re not coming across the grain – hence the funny wooden shaped things for the ladder to rest on! Plain-Sliced (Flat-Cut): Veneer sliced parallel to the pith of the log and approximately tangent to the growth rings to achieve flat-cut veneer. For getting the most lumber out of a log, I use a method an Amish sawyer showed me. You cut the log into quarters, then with each quarter you tilt it up so the angled cut faces are facing out, then mill boards until the quarter is gone.

Flat sawn wood can be easily identified by the flame pattern in the grain on the surface of the board. To produce high quality quarter sawn lumber the mill first needs to start with a large log that when quartered will produce lumber of good width. Farm-scale milling is not a solution to every problem and in many cases I would advise growers to sell their logs to a professional rather than try and do it all themselves. Notice how the logs are oriented in the diagram for a circle saw instead of a bandsaw.

The end grain will have semi-circles and plain sawn lumber tends to cup more than quartered or rift sawn lumber. If you miss this step out, you are going to risk snapping the blade as the log tips and twists on a the rough and bumpy surface. The most common method is to simply cut the log down its length tangentially to the grain. The next board is sawn from the opposite face and the sawing proceeds on alternate faces.

The present invention relates to an apparatus for the sawing of radial wedges of timber from a log and a method for further processing sawn wedges into a range of timber products. The quarters are inherently unstable and supporting them while providing clearance for your mill can be complicated, getting more so as you make more cuts and the quarter gets smaller. Another sawing pattern that yields mostly rift sawn boards is billet sawing, as illustrated on the left by Richard Jones. By sawing the log in such a way the annual rings will be between 45 ° (rift) and 90° (quarter) to the face of the board.

If you take a quarter sawn piece from the top section of the tree where the taper is ore pronounced the grain lines will run at some angle to the face. Another method of milling lumber into plain sawn boards is to make a preliminary cut, then roll the log to find the best face for the second cut. Most production mills do not quarter saw lumber due to the increased time that it takes to quarter the log and the decreased lumber volume that will be produced from each log. As of late, live sawn and French cut have crept on the radar of the American consumer.

Take off a small slab to obtain a flat surface (for safety when holding the log), split the log in half, saw each half from one edge (at an angle) until the center is reached, repeat for the other edge, then rotate the remaining triangle shape piece and saw (with some waste). Tell them to cut above the first crotch of the tree (e.g. leave the crotch attached to the log below it.) Crotch wood an be really beautiful stuff. For the first edge cut the quarter is rotated 90 degrees with the slab cut perpendicular.

In this sawing technique the log is still quartered, but then each quarter is cut along alternating sides producing about half rift sawn and half quarter sawn. Log diameter is even more critical if you want to maximize the proportion of the sawn boards that are quartersawn or the logs show signs of severe growth stresses. The advantage of the deck is that the log can be rotated easily and held in place for each successive cut. Pins can be machined hollow at the ends to form sharp rims or have attachments at the ends to facilitate the holding of the log.

Fiddleback, quilting, pomelle, and burl do not show up as well on the rift sawn face. In species with prominent rays (such as Silky Oak and Casuarina) the general preference is for quartersawn boards to show off the unique rays that give these species their ‘oak’ characteristic. Because of the cutting pattern, each piece of radially sawn timber is a wedge shape.

A holding device with a brake and lock, to which is fixed the support platform, that is mounted on means to provide adjustment for different size logs. When the wood is sawn into the different cuts discussed earlier in this article, the medullary rays are cut differently. About 60% of this is pure quarter sawn and the rest is rift sawn even though it was produced from quarter sawing.

Place each quartered section on the saw carriage, which holds the log while it is being sawn, so that the annual rings of growth are between 75 and 90 degrees to the face of the resulting boards. Because of these downfalls, rift sawn and quarter sawn are often cut together as rift and quarter sawn. Since the soundboard and the neck are having forces applied along their lengths quarter -awn wood is the best choice. To mill small logs it would be worth set up a jig to allow the log to be rotated and to hold it steady.

Doing this will increase the total amount of wood you will receive, reduce the overall cost of milling because shorter logs are easier to work, and will decrease the waste pile. Did get some crook after drying due to growth stresses, but it goes with quarter sawn lumber. The three main saw cuts are plain sawn (flat sawn), quarter sawn, and rift sawn – rift & quartered (R&Q) are typically sold together in present times. The following video visually explains the differences between the main sawing methods and their impact on the final boards.

This produces a high amount of quarter & a little rift, pretty much what you see in quarter sawn oak furniture. I got a video on quarter sawing and it was showing the different ways to do it which made more sense. At least 95 percent of all hardwood lumber commercially produced in the U.S. is flat or plain sawn. The diagram below shows the cutting technique for producing rift & quarter sawn boards.

This method of splitting the log to lumber also produces lumber that is stronger, more stable, less prone to checking, warping, & splitting and has a more refined grain pattern. Other factors, such as log taper, buttressing, the presence of knots, rot or other defects will all affect the recovery and quality of the timber. Plain Sawn will move across the width of the board creating gaps and other problems.