The Difference Between Quarter Sawn and Plain Sawn White Oak
White oak is one of the most popular choices for hardwood furniture. White Oak comes from the oak tree and tends to be a light beige or brown color. Customers praise white oak for its versatility and traditional look. While White Oak comes with several hues or colors, the grain patterns are what makes it extremely unique. Oak is generally straight grained, and has water resistance which lies in the pores sealed off by tyloses, and its rays run alongside the grain.
The two most common ways to cut lumber from logs are quarter sawn and plain sawn.
Plain Sawn Wood
Plain sawn is the most standard and least expensive way to slice White Oak, due to the higher yield it produces than other cuts—it uses virtually all the wood in the lumber slab. In the plain sawing process, the whole truck surface is used at once and cuts are made perpendicularly and parallel down the log in a box formation. Instead of cuts showing rings at 60-90 degree angles, cuts make 30 degree angles or less (also called tangential grain). This is the most efficient and still shows the oaks grain patterns.
Quarter Sawn Wood
Quarter sawn is the most expensive of the sawing techniques and is typically cut from a higher quality wood. In the quarter sawing process, the log is first cut into halves, then quarters. In the quarter slab, cuts are made from the widest part of the outside of the slab, towards what would be the center of the tree, alternating sides of which the wood is cut. These cuts create straight 60-90 angles, making it easy to identify the annual growth rings intersecting on the cuts. This is what also makes every piece of lumber unique. This is the most expensive type of sawing because it leaves room for some of the Oak to remain unusable, creates one of a kind prints, and requires more labor and drying time (about 30 days).
We love quarter sawn White Oak. Due to its high quality and unique rayflake / medullary rays visual appeal, we primarily use quarter sawn White Oak to create the best, one-of-a-kind chairs for our customers.