The Different Sawn Faces of Boards
Plainsawn (also known as Flatsawn) is the most common cut. Characteristics include a varied grain appearance.
Quartersawn is more expensive than plainsawn. Characteristics include a uniform grain appearance with ray flecks. Ray flecks give the wood a shimmering flake effect.
Riftsawn is more expensive than plainsawn. Characteristics are similar to quartersawn without the ray flecks.
Livesawn is a combination of plainsawn, quartersawn and riftsawn.
Why Does Quartersawn and Riftsawn Cost More than Plainsawn?
There are several reasons why rift and quartersawn cuts are more sought after than plainsawn. Some people enjoy the structural stability of rift and quartered, others enjoy the unique look of the finished cut boards. However, it is more work to manufacture with a higher price tag.
- The cuts of rift and quartered require specialized equipment.
- Rift and quartersawing logs require that the log pass through the machine more often than plainsawing a log.
- The sawyers must be skilled and know how to create these cuts.
- There is more wood loss due to the nature of the angles of the cuts.
- The logs are of a higher quality and must be straighter logs.
- The drying time in the kilns are longer. Rift and quartersawn cut boards take about 4 days longer than plainsawn cut boards to dry.
How Does a Tree Become Flooring?
Trees are properly selected by a forester according to their height and diameter. Proper timing for harvesting a tree is important to the ecological growth of a forest. Opening up the canopy in the taller trees allows the sustained longevity of the forest by allowing sunlight to reach the younger trees at the lower canopy levels.
Trees are rough cut, branches are removed and then are sent to a mill yard.
At the mill yard, the bark is removed along with the rounded edges. The excess wood is re-used in the manufacturing process as biofuel. Squared logs are cut into wood slabs which are trimmed into squares. At this point, the squared wood slabs are graded based on their quality.
Wood slabs are stacked in a way which allows for air to circulate through the stacks and the wood is dried to a moisture content of 18-30%. This process is called air-drying. To further stabilize the wood, the planks are gradually dried in a kiln heated at 100-180°F which helps to reduce the moisture content of the wood to 6-9%. This process is called kiln-drying.
The lumber is then cut to length, the knots are removed and edges are milled with the tongue and groove. The face of the lumber is planed and the back is hollowed out. The planks then go through a final grading, packaged and kept in controlled conditions to stabilize the wood.