Hardwood Flooring: Types of Cuts

For our second post in our series about hardwood flooring, we will explain the different types of wood cuts.

Wood Floor Cuts

Plain sawn, rift sawn & quarter sawn refers to the cutting method of the log. Each cut will produce a different pattern that will show on the face of the wood.

Plain Sawn Wood

Plain Saw

Plain sawn is the most cost effective way to saw a log with the least amount of waste. Within plain sawn wood, you will see the widest variation in grain patterns.

Quarter Sawn

Quarter sawn boards are produced by quartering the log followed by sawing it perpendicular to the growth rings. This technique produces medullary rays on the face of the wood, sometimes called flake. These boards are more stable than plain sawn, being less susceptible to distortion that comes with expansion and contraction from absorbing and releasing moisture. Stable quarter sawn lumber is often recommended for flooring in high moisture, high traffic areas like restaurants, bars and home kitchens.

Quarter Sawn (left) / Rift Sawn (right)

Rift Sawn

Each of these boards is cut radially perpendicular to the growth rings of the tree. There are large triangles of waste left from between each board. As a result, rift sawn lumber is costly to produce and therefore, the most expensive. Rift sawing produces a virtually straight grain appearance on the face of the board.

Rotary Peel

This process involves treating the wood by boiling the log in water After preparation, the wood is peeled by a blade starting from the outside of the log and working toward the center, thus creating a wood veneer. The veneer is then pressed flat with high pressure. This style of manufacturing tends to have problems with the wood cupping or curling back to its original shape. Rotary peeled engineered hardwoods tend to have a plywood appearance in the grain.

Looking for new hardwood flooring in your home? Contact us today to schedule a free in-home consultation.

Posted February 26, 2015
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