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Quarter Sawn Oak is Best | by Good Millwork
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Quarter Sawn Oak is Best

Quarter sawn oak is widely considered the best cut of oak there is. Because of the way it is cut, quarter sawn oak is much less likely to cup or warp. It has less shrinkage, as well. That is important when building large structures. Nobody wants crevices and cracks the creepy crawlies can come in.


There are three types of wood cuts. Plain sawn is the cheapest. The tree is just cut all the way through to make boards. The problem is that the board contains both sapwood and heartwood. These are different densities and dry at different rates. Consequently, the board is likely to cup and warp. In addition, because the angle of the cut runs less than 30 degrees against the growth rings, they are not as strong as other boards.


Rift sawn board have an angle of 30 to 60 degrees to the growth rings. If you look at the edge of a rift sawn board, it will have a street grain pattern instead of the circular grain pattern seen with plain sawn boards. These boards are more stable than plain sawn boards.


Finally, you reach the pinnacle of boards, the quarter sawn board. This board is cut so that the angle to the growth rings is not less than 60 degrees. This results in an exceptionally stable and strong board. Cupping and warping are rare. The wood is beautiful when cut this way, as you can see from the picture of the quarter sawn floor.


Why, you may ask, would anyone cut a tree into boards any other way? Well, it does take more space to cut a proper board out of a tree, so you end up with fewer boards. Each board is so much stronger, however, it is worth getting fewer boards.


Sometimes, one comes upon an old building that is being torn down. This is how oak survives -- this is a very old oak plank from a North Carolina textile mill that was being torn down. Despite being plain sawn, it is still in usable condition.


If you want your moldings, floors, and other architectural features to last as long, buy quarter sawn oak products from Good Millwork. We would love to talk to you today.


[shameless plug: architectural wood trim? thousand of]

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Taken on September 24, 2010