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View jerkylips's profile

Quartersawn lumber

by jerkylips
posted 12-08-2017 05:34 PM


33 replies so far

View gargey's profile

gargey

1013 posts in 1855 days


#1 posted 12-08-2017 05:55 PM

If you quartersaw maple the angle of the cuts releases demons that are stored in the wood cells, its not safe.

Obviously, oak doesn’t have any demons in it.

Also, quartersawn (white) oak reveals prominent ray flecks that provide a lot of visual interest, so oak is often cut and advertised that way.

Any wood can be quartersawn – it provides a different look (more uniform vs cathedral grain), and also different wood movement properties that are usually preferred. It is more difficult and more costly.

View Rich's profile

Rich

6826 posts in 1669 days


#2 posted 12-08-2017 05:56 PM

I have quarter sawn cherry, sapele and wenge out in the shop. White oak is the classic though. It’s what pops into most people’s head when they hear quarter sawn.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Rich's profile

Rich

6826 posts in 1669 days


#3 posted 12-08-2017 05:58 PM


If you quartersaw maple the angle of the cuts releases demons that are stored in the wood cells, its not safe.

- gargey

What about my cherry, etc? Are there demons, or is it just maple? Maybe I should play it safe and burn it.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Frederick Desroches's profile

Frederick Desroches

30 posts in 1250 days


#4 posted 12-08-2017 05:58 PM

Sapele, zebrawood ant other are often quater sawn. To show a distinctive pattern.

Oak when quatersawn show some desired figures, i think thats why

I think that quater sawn not common even if more stable because it results in a lot of loose.

-- Fred, Canada

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

6555 posts in 3389 days


#5 posted 12-08-2017 06:05 PM

A quick search reveals there are plenty of place to buy 1/4 sawn maple. One place even says it a favorite of instrument makers.

http://www.bellforestproducts.com/quarter-sawn-maple/

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View MrFid's profile

MrFid

910 posts in 2984 days


#6 posted 12-08-2017 06:08 PM

Quartersawn white oak (any oak, but especially white) looks very different when QS as opposed to flatsawn or riftsawn. It is desirable for that quality. Most woods don’t look very drastically different when QS. There is some different grain patterning associated with the different cuts, but in general it takes a bit of a trained eye to tell (which many of us around here have, but few others).
The biggest reason to quartersaw lumber is because it adds a lot of stability to the wood. The lumber will expand and contract mostly along its width, rather than its length. This is helpful in lots of applications. However, if a species is very stable to begin with, then quartersawing doesn’t add as much value to the wood. And it matters because when you saw a log into lumber, the most efficient way to saw doesn’t yield much QS lumber. Example: A log might be able to yield 8 boards of QS lumber, or 14 boards, some of which are QS, some flatsawn, and some riftsawn. If you can sell 14 boards rather than 8 with the same log, most people will do that.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View jerkylips's profile

jerkylips

495 posts in 3650 days


#7 posted 12-08-2017 06:44 PM



If you quartersaw maple the angle of the cuts releases demons that are stored in the wood cells, its not safe.

Obviously, oak doesn t have any demons in it.

Ahh….maple demons. Makes sense.. The ghost of Aunt Jemima, maybe?

View Rich's profile

Rich

6826 posts in 1669 days


#8 posted 12-08-2017 07:02 PM


Ahh….maple demons. Makes sense.. The ghost of Aunt Jemima, maybe?

- jerkylips

I think Aunt Jemima would only be involved if there was a wood species called high fructose corn syrup :)

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5986 posts in 3431 days


#9 posted 12-08-2017 07:27 PM

Sycamore has the best figure when quarter sawn.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

1483 posts in 1896 days


#10 posted 12-08-2017 08:18 PM

I persuaded my sawyer to cut and dry some quarter sawn Sycamore for boxes and other small items and it is truly beautiful. He had a hard time with it and said he wouldn’t be doing that again. I don’t know why. Quarter sawn Cherry can have a similar pattern to Sycamore but not always.

View avsmusic1's profile

avsmusic1

682 posts in 1765 days


#11 posted 12-08-2017 08:28 PM


What about my cherry, etc? Are there demons, or is it just maple? Maybe I should play it safe and burn it.

- Rich


Burning it just angers them. Better play it safe and just send it my way

View jdh122's profile

jdh122

1238 posts in 3897 days


#12 posted 12-08-2017 08:28 PM

QS beech has nice figure too, looks different from flawsawn.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View jerkylips's profile

jerkylips

495 posts in 3650 days


#13 posted 12-08-2017 10:52 PM


Ahh….maple demons. Makes sense.. The ghost of Aunt Jemima, maybe?

- jerkylips

I think Aunt Jemima would only be involved if there was a wood species called high fructose corn syrup :)

You make a valid point…

- Rich


View fuigb's profile

fuigb

593 posts in 4037 days


#14 posted 12-08-2017 11:03 PM

When I’m making my own I almost always quartersaw for the sake of stability. Dunno for certain if it helps but it certainly helps to give some wood a nice pop. Maple, sycamore, and cherry have all come out well. When I tried with apple I ruined a blade but that was my fault.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

View Tony_S's profile

Tony_S

1477 posts in 4163 days


#15 posted 12-08-2017 11:35 PM

Any Quarter Sawn lumber(called vertical grain in softwoods) will be far more stable than Flat Sawn, due to the growth rings being perpendicular to the face of the board vs. semi parallel to the face. One drawback is quarter sawn lumber can have a lot more bow than flat sawn. Usually not a problem except for longer lengths(more waste).

The reasons for quarter sawn lumber not being readily available in most species is a combination of a couple of simple factors.
More time and waste when sawing a log which raises the end cost.
and truthfully….’most’ Q sawn lumber is boring to look at comparatively speaking vs. a flat sawn cathedral grain.
People don’t want to pay more…for less.
It has it’s place though, especially in modern, and some contemporary Architectural mill work.

-- “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” – Plato

View tomsteve's profile

tomsteve

1161 posts in 2299 days


#16 posted 12-08-2017 11:52 PM



Sycamore has the best figure when quarter sawn.

- bondogaposis

i just got sone working with QS sycamore and it is definatley and amazingly beautiful wood and nice to work.

View Picken5's profile

Picken5

327 posts in 3771 days


#17 posted 12-09-2017 04:36 AM

As a few others have mentioned, QS sycamore is gorgeous in my opinion. It can be hard to come by in some parts of the country.

-- Howard - "Time spent making sawdust is not deducted from one's lifetime." - old Scottish proverb

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

1483 posts in 1896 days


#18 posted 12-09-2017 05:31 AM

I am one of many people who think the cathedral grain is hideous. Lots of people feel the same way and pay considerably more for quarter sawn or even rift sawn. Compare the price of quarter sawn Stickley furniture with the flat sawn furniture you can buy in big chain furniture stores. Which one do customers value more?

I would venture to say that much more pine furniture is sold than walnut furniture. According to your logic, the reason is that people prefer pine over walnut. Is that a rational conclusion?

and truthfully…. most Q sawn lumber is boring to look at comparatively speaking vs. a flat sawn cathedral grain.
People don t want to pay more…for less.
- Tony_S

View Tony_S's profile

Tony_S

1477 posts in 4163 days


#19 posted 12-09-2017 10:55 AM

So if you could then Art, please explain why in your opinion most Q sawn, and even more so, rift sawn lumber products aren’t as readily available as flat sawn products.
Why don’t people commonly build furniture, etc. out of Q sawn maple? Or Q sawn Ash? Walnut?

Remove White Oak and Sycamore from your explanation, and maybe Sapele and some Mahoganies(off the top of my head), as they are some of only a few species that actually do have additional characteristic features rather than simple straight grain when Q sawn. The vast majority of commercially available lumber species do not.
Leave your own personal tastes/bias to the wayside for the explanation.

These are only my educated opinions(not personal preferences) Art, derived from many years of dealing with Architects, designers, hardwood distributors, and customers in general. Someone designing a $50 000.00 staircase has no qualms about explaining the how’s, why’s and demands of the design features they want to see.

If I ask everyone who buys a Walnut staircase what type of grain they would like to see….

90% will pick the flat sawn. As a general rule of thumb, the other 10% will choose the rift/quartered,but only as an accent to a design feature.
Example…They might want the warmth, depth and/or color of the walnut, but don’t want any wild grain to detract from the straight lined modern design of the project. Only accent it.

In regard to Q sawn White Oak….people in general aren’t interested in the straight grained nature of the the cut per-say…They are interested in the additional characteristic of the vermiculations in specific. Which are an exception to this species, but not most others.

Again, these are only my experiences and opinions. Take em or leave em.

-- “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” – Plato

View avsmusic1's profile

avsmusic1

682 posts in 1765 days


#20 posted 12-09-2017 01:06 PM

While it’s certainly not 100% true for all people all the time, I agree that most folks prefer cathedral grain. I suspect the typical person off the street thinks of something w/ that grain pattern when thinking about what wood looks like

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1819 posts in 3556 days


#21 posted 12-09-2017 01:53 PM

One reason we quartersaw is to slice open the medullary rays to expose the ray fleck that gives the figure. Four native woods have large enough medullary rays, that when sliced open longitudinally, reveal veery nice ray fleck. They are the white oaks, the red oaks, beech (the oaks are in the beech family), and sycamore.

Other woods have relatively small medullary rays, so they are quartersawn for dimensional stability rather than exposing the ray fleck. Since there is a pretty good yield loss from quartersawing, and since the figure is not prominent, most woods are not quartersawn. Here is some white oak that I quartersawed a few months ago showing the medullary ray fleck.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln. hamsleyhardwood.com

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

7915 posts in 3994 days


#22 posted 12-09-2017 02:11 PM

I used quarter sawn White Ash for the rails and stiles on my blanket chest. I had a 8/4 flat cut that was from the outer most portion of the tree and the grain was so horizontal that some rings almost spanned the width of the 10in. board. The panel inserts show that well and are from the same board.

When I quarter sawed, I ended up with very straight grains that I glued up to make 4in. wide stiles. While the grain ended up very straight, it tended to blotch when finishing and that can be challenging. Sometimes it shows/adds a 3-dimensional look that changes as you walk past it and at other times not.

http://lumberjocks.com/projects/70869

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View 000's profile

000

2859 posts in 1979 days


#23 posted 12-09-2017 02:28 PM



So if you could then Art, please explain why in your opinion most Q sawn, and even more so, rift sawn lumber products aren t as readily available as flat sawn products.
Why don t people commonly build furniture, etc. out of Q sawn maple? Or Q sawn Ash? Walnut?

Remove White Oak and Sycamore from your explanation, and maybe Sapele and some Mahoganies(off the top of my head), as they are some of only a few species that actually do have additional characteristic features rather than simple straight grain when Q sawn. The vast majority of commercially available lumber species do not.
Leave your own personal tastes/bias to the wayside for the explanation.

These are only my educated opinions(not personal preferences) Art, derived from many years of dealing with Architects, designers, hardwood distributors, and customers in general. Someone designing a $50 000.00 staircase has no qualms about explaining the how s, why s and demands of the design features they want to see.

If I ask everyone who buys a Walnut staircase what type of grain they would like to see….

90% will pick the flat sawn. As a general rule of thumb, the other 10% will choose the rift/quartered,but only as an accent to a design feature.
Example…They might want the warmth, depth and/or color of the walnut, but don t want any wild grain to detract from the straight lined modern design of the project. Only accent it.

In regard to Q sawn White Oak….people in general aren t interested in the straight grained nature of the the cut per-say…They are interested in the additional characteristic of the vermiculations in specific. Which are an exception to this species, but not most others.

Again, these are only my experiences and opinions. Take em or leave em.

- Tony_S


+10

View sawdustdad's profile

sawdustdad

379 posts in 1965 days


#24 posted 12-09-2017 02:30 PM

I’ve seen some chatoyance from QS cherry, almost similar to sycamore, so I’d add that to the list of species that show medullary rays from the QS method.

-- Murphy's Carpentry Corollary #3: Half of all boards cut to a specific length will be too short.

View Robert's profile

Robert

4554 posts in 2560 days


#25 posted 12-09-2017 02:56 PM

To answer the OP, the main reason for QS is to bring out figure.

Its not always the way to go for certain species like the walnut example.

Not always tho. QS lumber is more stable and is therefore the best choice for door making.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View dubois's profile

dubois

41 posts in 2911 days


#26 posted 12-09-2017 02:57 PM

Wood with this vertical orientation in relation to its face grain has a long history, one that may even call into question the label it is given here in this subject topic and is common. Going back even to the viking boatbuilders taking advantage of the properties of wood, in particular oak, they knew they could reliably split out long planks for the hulls which were flexible, strong and light weight and durable for constructing boats far superior to anything that existed in their part of the world and gave them a sort of dominance over their many foes. This technique of wood preparation was predominant prior to the improvement of suitable saws and in the middle ages splitting out broad planks is the common way furniture makers prepared their material. When splitting the wood from a billet, the most efficient and reliable way is orienting the split perpendicular to the growth rings. I suspect all these practices were motivated primarily by practicality, that is to say, being compatible with the nature of wood, and had very little to do with the appearance that happened to be a by-product not appreciated so much until later on in the game. This appreciation, as I see it, probably was wrapped up with the wealth of the merchant class that grew out of the dominance of the Dutch traders. They wanted to show off their opulence in the houses they put up in places like Amsterdam and Haarlem and other Dutch cities and would line the interior walls, floor to ceiling, with oak panels. The panels were made from quarter split oak 12 mm thick and these planks were known as “wagonschot” “wag” referring to wall and “schot” the cover of the wall – very old terms . Later the English adopted similar taste and they called it wainscoting which we all recognize today. Well, then people like William Morris and the Jugendstil clique continued on in the new vein taking advantage of the surface appearance gotten from the quartering of oak.
Now, what is true of oak is true of other woods as well. In general they split better in one way than another which in turn effects things like stability and strength, often woods vary in strength depending on the growth ring orientation. It’s not always true though. With ash for example the strength variable is the same for vertical grain and flat grain. I would guess it is safe to claim that probably any wood is dimensionally more stable in a quartered state. This is why it is a big advantage if your Douglas Fir floor planks are all showing that vertical grain. In America I must say in this regard they do excell but then there seems to be a preference for the look of narrow floor-boards there so you can get away with quartered wood without too much excess.

View skidiot's profile

skidiot

85 posts in 4725 days


#27 posted 12-10-2017 01:06 AM

I have seen some quarter sawn wood that I think is birch. It is really cool looking. No grain just millions of tiny spots.

-- skidiot northern illinois

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

1546 posts in 3841 days


#28 posted 12-10-2017 04:03 PM

You better believe there are demons residing in wood! They occasionally cause me no end of problems. My friends tell me I am just making mistakes, but I know better!

A cousin of these demons reside in electric motors too and actually make the motor turn. Occasionally these demons escape from the motor in the form of a vapor we see as smoke and the motor quits turning. I’ve seen this myself.

; ) Planeman

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

1483 posts in 1896 days


#29 posted 12-10-2017 04:17 PM

First of all, I didn’t claim that all flat sawn wood is less desirable than quarter sawn lumber – just oak and a few more species. Secondly, quarter sawn red and white oak are readily available at many saw mills and lumber yards in my area. You just don’t find it at places that cater to house builders. I don’t attempt to buy any furniture grade lumber in those places.


So if you could then Art, please explain why in your opinion most Q sawn, and even more so, rift sawn lumber products aren t as readily available as flat sawn products.
Why don t people commonly build furniture, etc. out of Q sawn maple? Or Q sawn Ash? Walnut?

- Tony_S


View Woodmaster1's profile

Woodmaster1

1724 posts in 3667 days


#30 posted 12-10-2017 04:54 PM

Here some quartersawn sycamore I got from my woodworking club kiln.

View Dark_Lightning's profile

Dark_Lightning

4543 posts in 4189 days


#31 posted 12-12-2017 02:51 AM

QSWO is a wood of choice for beauty and stability,as has been mentioned. I love the look of QS sycamore too, as shown above. I got a 1” X 1” wide piece about 4 feet long that I’m trying to figure out how to use. It’s not much wood.

Both count as “boutique” wood here in California, and the vendors get exorbitant prices for them.

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

View avsmusic1's profile

avsmusic1

682 posts in 1765 days


#32 posted 12-12-2017 03:30 AM



QSWO is a wood of choice for beauty and stability,as has been mentioned. I love the look of QS sycamore too, as shown above. I got a 1” X 1” wide piece about 4 feet long that I m trying to figure out how to use. It s not much wood.

Both count as “boutique” wood here in California, and the vendors get exorbitant prices for them.

- Dark_Lightning

Really? I guess I take QSWO for granted. It’s still pricey at the lumberyards here (CT) but oak is so prevalent its really easy to buy it green from basically any local sawer

View dubois's profile

dubois

41 posts in 2911 days


#33 posted 12-12-2017 07:52 AM

I’m surprised no one mentions the difference between working with quarter and flat grained surfaces, hand planing in particular. Just the uniformity of the wood when planing a quartered surface makes it a real pleasure to work. Try noticing when planing a wide board which has flat grain through the center and vertical grain near one or both edges, the change in resistance between the two areas. Of course, that sycamore in the quarter can pose difficulties and may need scraping in places in the end.

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