How wood is harvested or cut from the log affects how the flooring with look. The cutting method also affects the cost of the wood. The way the wood is cut also affects the widths of the boards, the graining patterns and what character will be revealed in the wood. The floors performance can also be affected.
The Four Wood Flooring Cuts
The four ways that wood flooring can be cut are plain, quarter, rift and live. Each of these cuts is utilized for a different intended use and based on the species of the wood. The quality of the logs, the best way to create maximum yield, any known defects that need to be avoided and the desire to emphasize the wood grain also play a role in which cut is used for wood flooring.
Quarter-sawn: Quarter-sawn cuts are made at a 45 degree and 90 degree angle creating narrow boards. Quarter sawn cuts go perpendicular to the tree’s grown rings which create vertical graining and character in the boards. Quarter sawn wood is the most expensive cut of wood and create the must waste because it is an inefficient cut pattern. Quarter sawn wood creates a mores table board because shrinking and swelling is more common in the board’s thickness than in the width.
Plain-sawn: Plain-sawn or flat-sawn is the most common cut in flooring.Plain sawn lumber is created by making a series of parallel cuts in the log followed by more perpendicular cuts which yield the widest width planks. This technique for cutting creates wider boards than a quarter or rift sawn technique and creates boards with varying widths. Plain Sawn boards are cut parallel to the tree’s growth rings and are made at a 0 to 45 degree angle. These boards due tend to shrink and swell widthwise
Rift-Sawn: Rift-Sawn boards are produced by quartering logs and then cutting the planks from the center face working out from there. The boards cut from the outside edges have 45-degree annual growth rings on them. The inner boards have a narrower plank width because of the way the cutting technique works and wider boards come from the wedge of the log that is quarter sawn. Rift-sawn boards are narrower than a quarter or plain sawn board. The cuts in a rift sawn board are made at a 30-60 degree angle. The vertical grain of the tree is highlighted in the boards and the grain typically runs lengthwise on the planks.
Live sawn: Live sawn wood is made by cutting straight through the center of the log. The remaining cuts are also made parallel to the initial cut. This method produces the widest boards with the least waste and offers the characteristics or plain, quarter and rift sawn wood. Live wood does respond to moisture and shrinks and swells in all directions