Finding the Right Cut

Depending on a project's implementation, there are various ways to prepare and cut different types of wood. Alongside the basic rotary cut, the three primary methods of slicing lumber are plain sawn, quarter sawn and rift sawn. The difference between these methods is how the log is positioned as it is sliced and the angle that the cut makes against the growth rings. Let's take a detailed look at each.

Veneer

Plain sawn:

Plain sawn veneer is made by slicing the entire log lengthwise into thin sheets. This method makes up about 80% of sliced veneers. Plain sawn veneer is very cost effective because there is less manipulation of the log during processing and little waste. This veneer can have the appearance of flat sawn lumber with a cathedral grain pattern. A plain sawn cut works well for cabinetry, wall treatments and furniture. However, when choosing plain sawn veneer, be aware there can be inconsistencies in appearance from one log to another or even from the same log. Depending on the application, this could be desirable. If not, one of the other slicing methods is recommended.

Quarter sawn:

Quarter sawn veneer is made by first cutting the log lengthwise into long and round blocks of wood. Then, the blocks are sliced lengthwise perpendicular to the growth rings. The quarter sawn cut accounts for about 15% of sliced veneer. While more expensive than plain sawn, quarter sawn produces straight grains with varying degrees of ray fleck (color striations in the wood). This works well with oak and tropical species like Khaya and Sapele, producing distinct dark and light ribbons. The result is a veneer that adds dimension and complexity to the appearance, while also being more consistent than plain sawn.

Rift sawn:

Rift sawn veneer accounts for about 5% of sliced veneers. It is made by taking a slice at the widest diameter of the log, rotating it slightly, taking another slice and then repeating that pattern. This is the most expensive veneer and produces the most waste. However, rift sawn veneer has the most uniform and consistent look to the grain because all the cuts go across the growth rings at the same angle. This type of veneer is almost exclusive to red and white oak when there is a desire to minimize the ray fleck. Rift sawn does not produce benefits in other species to justify the extra cost.

If you have a specific look you’re going for in a remodel, don’t hesitate to reach out to Timber Products Company on our website; we can provide both direction and samples.

Image courtesy

Related Blog Posts

  • Whitemaple
    3 Hardwood Species to Keep in Stock and Why

    In a perfect world, you would have every kind of hardwood a client could ever want in stock and ready to go at all times. Sadly, having a selection of everything is not possible, there are certain species that we aim to have in stock year round.

    Read More
  • New homes blog
    New Homes on the Rise-The Right Wood for the Right Feel

    To say the market is hot right now would be an understatement; in October 2017, new home sales in the US hit their highest point in a decade with 685,000 units sold - an increase of 6.2%.

    Read More
  • Whitebirch
    Following White Birch from Forest to Flooring—And More

    White birch is known in the wild for its striking bark that peels to expose a smooth orange trunk beneath. It is known in the forest products industry for the strength of its wood, its fine grain and the beautiful ripple patterns that make it a prized veneer.

    Read More
  • Rugby
    Timber Products Serves as a Responsive Support System for Distributor Partner Rugby ABP

    When Tommy Heard, Regional Manager for Rugby Architectural Building Products, is pressed to describe manufacturer partner Timber Products Company in a word, he offers this: Responsive.

    Read More

Comments