Quartersawn Lumber For Guitars

Because it can be used in many different design styles (from contemporary/modern to ultra-rustic), oak is an ever-popular choice for hardwood flooring. I wouldn’t spend the wod for a quarter sawn neck expecting it to radically alter your tone, pickups would be a much more substantial tone change then adding a quarter sawn neck. When finishing the live sawn , we typically use a distressed or a two pass finish because these finishes really bring out the character in the wood and add to the olde world charm. Half of the lumber used in building this board was useless as it broke into two pieces after it was cut.

When you choose or order wood without designating the type of cut, you get plain-sawn boards. The result is a particular orientation of the annual growth rings on the end grain of a board; this is what determines the type of lumber. When lumber is rift and quartered and sawn perpendicular to its growth rings, any shrinkage or expansion of the lumber is greatest in thickness, is less in width and is less prone to cupping or splitting making it very desirable for manufacturing furniture, windows, instruments and flooring. They are also more stable and more expensive than plain-sawn wood (costing as much as 50 percent more).

To a lumber grader, quarter sawn boards are generally defined as having an end grain orientation that is in the range 90 to 75 degrees relative the face of the board, although some suggest the definition should be a more relaxed 90 to 60 degrees. White Oak is especially popular in quartersawn because of the vibrant ray flecks along with the tight wavy grain pattern create a really cool and elegant look. Another reason rift and quartered lumber is available at a premium is because it is commonly known to be more stable.plain sawn wood

The wood has a fine close texture with interlocked grain that contrasts well with other species. In many species, this technique of sawing makes the medullary rays visible on the face of the board in the form of flake”. The next shows a 100% plain and quarter sawn piece with the typical quarter sawing technique (right side) that produces both quarter and rift. Take a piece of plain sawn wood and on the end of the board, mark out the quartersawn pieces you can cut out. However I built a little media box in plain sawn Douglas Fir – there is nothing plain about this grain though! Live sawing uses a combination of all three of the other cuts; plain, rift & quarter sawn.

Please feel free to contact your Shepley rep anytime for more information on quarter sawn red and white oak flooring for your next project. The wood extending from the pith to the sapwood, the cells of which no longer participate in the life processes of the tree. Between plain sawn, quarter sawn, and rift sawn wood, different cuts of lumber can vary significantly when it comes to grain pattern, durability, yield, and price. Because of the manner in which wood grows, every board has a definite grain direction, parallel to the length of the longitudinal cells. Both of these sawing techniques produce boards with a straight or linear grain pattern throughout the board.

Although Eric Johnsons sig strat uses quartersawn so its llikely not bad, I would bet that the vintage fender sound was all flatsawn stuff. At Brownlee Lumber, we use modern sawing equipment and technology to produce some of the finest quartersawn lumber in White Oak, Red Oak, and Black Cherry. Quarter sawn boards, on the other hand, are cut at a 90 degree angle to the center of the log.

Every piece in this first diagram has the rings at 90 degrees so every piece is 100% quarter sawn and is not even close to rift sawn. Quarter sawing gets its name from the fact that the log is first quartered lengthwise, resulting in wedges with a right angle ending at approximately the center of the original log. If the lines in the wood are parallel to each other as much as possible and perpendicular to the to faces of the plank, that is a quarter sawn” piece essentially. Quarter sawn mahogany is very boring to look at and it’s a pain in the ass to glue together pieces, so no they don’t use it in low stress applications like the body of a guitar.

Yes, I suppose that since QS presents the grain of the wood in a different orientation than flatsawn, it’s possible that it affects the velocity of sound within the board differently than flatsawn, giving it a faster attack, (which supposedly QS lumber does) but that is not the same thing as affecting the tone of the wood. By contrast, quarter-sawn lumber has tighter growth rings perpendicular to the face, creating a more stable board (with less tendency to swell or cup) as well as a more pleasing visual effect. The grain on the face of a quarter-sawn board will be parallel lines that are straight, tight and run the length of the board.

Quarter sawn lumber is the only other real choices since it would be nearly impossible to find Rift sawn cedar without buying the whole tree and having it milled. Structural benefits to quarter sawn oak include that it reduces twisting, warping and cupping, holds finishes better, and does not allow liquids to readily pass through it. Quarter sawn lumber is produced by first quartering the log followed by sawing it perpendicular to the annual growth rings.

Quartersawn wood is thus seen as an acceptable compromise between economical but less-stable flatsawn wood (which, especially in oak, will often display the distinct cathedral window” grain) and the expensively-wasteful rift sawn wood, which has the straightest grain and thus the greatest stability. Quarter-Sawn Lumber is where the log is cut into quarters first, through the logs center.

To a lumber grader, rift sawn boards have end grain that is 75 to 45 degrees to the face, although others suggest a less restrictive 60 to 30 degrees. The third shows the typical quarter sawing technique with pieces A, B, C (leftmost vertical pieces) and 1, 2 and 3 (bottom right) are indeed quarter sawn as the grain is nearly vertical. Each quarter is then sawn with the growth rings at 30 to 60 degree angles to the board surface.

This type of cut results in boards with the familiar cathedral” grain pattern on the face as in the example below showing both face grain and end grain. But look carefully at the illustrations below, and you will see that even Plain Sawn has at least 4 pieces that are quite nearly Rift Sawn in pattern, grain and rays.. very nearly the same as Quarter Sawn. It is nicer to have a little extra as not all wood is ascetically pleasing once it is book-matched.

This produces a plank where the tree’s growth rings are perpendicular to the plank’s surface, and produces a straight, linear grain pattern. Quartersawn wood is generally much stiffer across the grain than flatsawn wood, and for instrument tops this may be advantageous. Plain sawing is easier, cheaper, and quicker… but it results in more waste, less grain characteristic and less stable lumber.