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Quarter sawing walnut

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Forum topic by Laughran posted 08-10-2019 11:50 PM 564 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Laughran

83 posts in 2405 days


08-10-2019 11:50 PM

Topic tags/keywords: walnut question milling

I just aquired a 30” diameter by 16’ walnut log.
I was wondering if it is benificial to have it quarter sawn or is it best for only certain types of wood like white oak or sycamore? Is it worth the extra money to have it quarter sawn? or for some wood does it really make a difference at all.

-- David


15 replies so far

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laterthanuthink

39 posts in 606 days


#1 posted 08-11-2019 12:00 AM

good question i have always wondered the same

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KYtoolsmith

83 posts in 337 days


#2 posted 08-11-2019 12:49 AM

There is no simple answer… It depends on what the lumber will be used for. Quarter sawing creates the most stable wood relative to warp, twist or cupping, no matter what species. Flat sawing yields the most lumber, but it may have a wide mix of poor boards and firsts and seconds. If the log is to be cut for one or two thick slabs, you may be forced to cut the remainder as flat or at best rift sawn. How a log is cut also depends on the quality of the log… Branch stubs , existing splits or rot will affect how the sawyer makes each cut. Has the log been down long? Are the ends sealed?
Just a few thoughts…
The Kentucky Toolsmith

-- "Good enough" is just another way of saying "it could be better"...

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Aj2

2420 posts in 2274 days


#3 posted 08-11-2019 01:09 AM

To me walnut is kinda boring looking quarter sawn. I also agree with Kytoolsmith esp stability when it’s quartersawn.
If you have a plans for a table riftsawn will make nice legs.
Good Luck

-- Aj

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avsmusic1

500 posts in 1162 days


#4 posted 08-11-2019 01:30 PM

You could plain saw one half and quarter the other if you wanted

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splintergroup

2825 posts in 1699 days


#5 posted 08-11-2019 02:25 PM

In my experience walnut is quite stable so cutting QS for wood stability is not really a serious issue. With traditional cutting you will end up with some QS, it all really comes down to the presentation of the wood. Some flat sawn walnut is exceptionally boring, other times it is fantastic. QS walnut typically looks the same, nice grain, but no real character. Flat sawn can reveal great grain and color shifts.

Either way I’d air dry if possible. Walnut has some neat colors like reds and purples that inevitably turn brown with steaming and forced drying.

All that being said, I prefer rift sawn when buying commercially since the flat sawn “good stuff” has already been culled.

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GBSteve

11 posts in 247 days


#6 posted 08-11-2019 02:41 PM

I go out of my way to find quartered or rift sawn walnut. I prefer the gentle waves and lines of straight grain to the cathedrals and swirls of flat sawn, but I also work with clean-lined, modern furniture designs.

Right now I’m working with a few nice boards of slightly curly, quartersawn black walnut.

As others said, air dried is the way to go. Some time ago, once I saw the beautiful colours of air-dried walnut, I swore off the steamed stuff if at all possible.

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therealSteveN

3585 posts in 1051 days


#7 posted 08-11-2019 11:06 PM

Interesting seeing points both ways. I’ve never give Walnut much thought to how it was sawn, at least not like so many other woods where QS was so showy, and also so much more stable. Out of a pile of walnut I have always been able to find what I needed. A recent buy of a bunch of Walnut crotch, is probably the most time I ever spent looking over Walnut.

-- Think safe, be safe

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Aj2

2420 posts in 2274 days


#8 posted 08-12-2019 01:38 AM

I would think any figure in a walnut truck would best sawn flat through and though. Then one could get a some of both but it’s been mentioned walnut is very stable.
At a lumber yard I visit Sapele in the racks is quarter sawn. Any pieces I’ve seen flat sawn had great quilted and curly grain but were horribly warped.
Walnut doesn’t suffer from that problem.
Here’s a never seen pic of some vanity’s carcass I made in the past of figured walnut.

-- Aj

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anthm27

1344 posts in 1586 days


#9 posted 08-12-2019 01:53 AM

Could the experts here please correct me if I am wrong but, a flat sawn log would still produce some nice boards that would pass as quarter sawn.
My point being, flat sawn would be better utilization and still get some premium 1/4 sawn boards from it.

Kind Regards
Anthm

-- To be a true artist one must stick to their own thought process

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avsmusic1

500 posts in 1162 days


#10 posted 08-12-2019 02:42 AM



Could the experts here please correct me if I am wrong but, a flat sawn log would still produce some nice boards that would pass as quarter sawn.
My point being, flat sawn would be better utilization and still get some premium 1/4 sawn boards from it.

Kind Regards
Anthm

- anthm27


You’re correct- boards closest to the middle will be QS.

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ibewjon

889 posts in 3270 days


#11 posted 08-12-2019 02:43 AM

Yes, the lumber from the center of the log IS quarter sawn because at that point the grain is perpendicular to the blade, even though the log is cut without turning. The outer cuts are flat sawn.

View Laughran's profile

Laughran

83 posts in 2405 days


#12 posted 08-12-2019 12:13 PM

Thanks for all of the responces.
I am thinking that I will go with flat sawing 1/2 and quarter sawing the other 1/2 and see what unfolds

-- David

View Robert's profile

Robert

3512 posts in 1957 days


#13 posted 08-12-2019 02:44 PM

If you’re looking for figure, you want flat sawn.

Walnut is generally quite stable, but regardless you’re going to get some QS not matter what you do.

Sounds like a nice log. Good Luck

I recommend sawing one board 12/4 for leg stock.

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

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laterthanuthink

39 posts in 606 days


#14 posted 08-12-2019 03:10 PM

Thx for this post David and all the replies. Very interesting.

In case you were more interested in learning than yield, because maybe the log was free, it would be really interesting to do half the log flat sawn, half QS. See the actual difference in yield and beauty.

Tom

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ibewjon

889 posts in 3270 days


#15 posted 08-12-2019 04:17 PM

Just by slicing the log straight through, the center q sawn part will probably be almost half the log. And if you cut the 12/4 slab from the center, legs cut from it will be q sawn on two faces, and flat sawn on the other two. And remember the Anchor Seal on the ends and a bit up on the edges and faces. Latex paint is not a valid barrier, so it will not do much for checking. Shellac is a vapor barrier.

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