Wood Saw Cuts
Plain-sawn or flat-sawn, is the most popular cut in flooring. Plain-sawn lumber is obtained by making a series of parallel cuts to the log followed by a series of perpendicular cuts to yield the widest boards and the least amount of waste. It contains more variation in grain patterns and less overall uniformity.
Live-sawn wood is cut straight through the log at the center. All remaining cuts are made parallel to the initial cut. This method produces the widest boards, the least waste and combines the characteristics of plain, quarter and rift-sawn wood. Live-sawn wood reacts to moisture changes with shrinking or swelling in all directions.
Quarter-Sawn cuts are made at 45 to 90 degrees, where the log is first sawn into quarters and then perpendicular to the tree’s growth rings. The boards produced with this cut show vertical grain and a more uniform look, with a significant amount of flecking in the case of Red and White Oak. Quartersawn boards tend to cup less when exposed to humidity making it a more stable floor. It is a more expensive cut because it produces less board feet per log and more waste from the tree.
Rift-Sawn is similar to quarter-sawn but cut at 30 to 60 degree angles, highlighting the vertical grain in a tree or, once the floor is installed, the grain that runs lengthwise with the floor boards. It shows little to no flecking. Rift-sawn is usually the most expensive because of the very selective nature of the boards.