Why choose Rift and Quartered Sawn Wood?
The rift and quartersawn board will only shrink in thickness and will remain stable in flooring, millwork, furniture or cabinetry applications. It is the best option for the radiant heated floors and critical applications. In general it is a superior choice to minimize seasonal gaps, buckling etc. It has stability rivaling engineered floors and longevity of the solid wood floor - that what makes rift/quartered sawn flooring the best choice for discriminating buyer.
- Quartersawn (Quartered and Rift) White Oak is prized for flooring, millwork, furniture and cabinetry for its stability and beauty.
- Quartered White Oak exhibits pronounced Medullary Ray or Ray Fleck, which becomes even more pronounced when the wood is finished.
- Rift White Oak exhibits less Medullary Ray or Ray Fleck, while maintaining the same straight grain appearance as Quartered.
Quartersawn boards all share a common characteristic - the grain pattern on the face is straight grained. In the Oaks, when the growth rings are 60-90° to the face of the board, the Medullary Rays are exposed to maximum visual effect. These rays are present in all trees, but most prominent in the Oaks. These rays are called "figure", "flake", "ray fleck", "tiger stripe" or "fleck". Typical and most economical choice is to purchase mixed - Rift and Quartered sawn boards, typically referred as R/Q sawn oak. You can also choose Rift only or Quartered only boards if looking for specific appearance of the grain. Performance wise both types are very similar.
|Plain (Flat) sawn wood||Quarter sawn wood||Rift sawn wood|
"Quartered" vs. "Rift"
In Quartersawn White and Red Oak, a visual distinction is made between "quartered" and "rift".
Red and White Oak have, as part of their biology, large bands of radial cells called "Medullary
Rays" which emanate outward from the center of the log, similar to the spokes of a wheel. These
radial cells transmit water and nutrients outward as the tree grows. While all trees have Medullary
Rays, it is only in the Oaks that these rays are pronounced. The Quartersawing process reveals
to greater and lesser degrees, the beautiful appearance of these rays. This appearance quality
is known as "ray fleck", "figure" or "ray".
The quartered boards are those boards exhibiting the most figure. These boards generally have
growth rings at a 60-90 degree angle to the face of the board.
The rift boards exhibit less figure and are most often those boards with the growth rings at a
30-60 degree angle to the face of the board.
Common Characteristics of "Quartered" and "Rift"
All quarter and rift sawn boards share one characteristic: the growth rings manifest themselves
on the face of the board as straight grain. The principal benefit of quartersawing
technique (sawing of quarter and rift cut lumber) is that all of the grain will be straight, showing none of the "cathedral grain" characteristics of plain sawing. This straight grain also allows for edge gluing for width
while maintaining a consistent appearance across the face of the board.
Quartersawing is a slower process that involves cutting from the inside outwards, turning the quarter log "cant" end for end and cutting alternate faces. This method is more labor and technologically intensive, yielding slightly narrower boards, but with greater strength, stability and character than plainsawn.
The leading North American mill - Frank Miller Lumber Company, Inc. offers good explanation of the process in it's video: