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Author Topic: Rift sawing a log vs. rift sawn lumber  (Read 10920 times)

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Offline Thehardway

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Rift sawing a log vs. rift sawn lumber
« on: November 11, 2014, 10:41:57 AM »
I would like a little clarification from some of you who are experienced in quarter sawing and rift sawing.  I am pretty sure I know what flat, quarter and rift sawn boards look like according to grade, however, there are a lot of diagrams on line and a lot of sellers and distributors of lumber showing the terms rift and quartersawn used incorrectly or interchangeably and digrams which show the process of "Rift sawing" a log that would not yeild a board with rift sawn grade lumber but rather quarter sawn grade.

Most diagrams which show a log and are labelled as "riftsawn" show a log sawn using radial cuts, with all of them 90 degrees to the annual rings.  As I see it this would yield 100% of the boards grading as quartersawn vertical grain.  However, the diagram of a log that is quartersawn, yields boards that are graded as both Quartersawn (90-60 degrees to annular rings) and as Riftsawn (grain 60-30 degrees to annular rings).  I have also read numerous statements claiming that riftsawn boards are the most stable.  I agree with this if it is based on the riftsawing as the operational diagram shows but I would disagree if they are referrring to grade standard where grain can be 30-60 degrees as the shrinkage is not uniform like that of a true quartersawn, vertical grain board. 

Am I making any sense and why is this so confusing and contradictory. Can someone help me understand this more clearly so that I can answer customers intelligently when they ask for rift sawn or quartersawn stock.

 

 
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Offline drobertson

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Re: Rift sawing a log vs. rift sawn lumber
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2014, 10:58:23 AM »
I have pondered getting into the market for those that require rift sawn.  As far as I have found out it boils down to the angle of growth rings in relation to the sawn surface.  Rift, is like 60 degrees?  I have seen a pile of these boards which typically come from the quadrants of the log.  I've found the most often crook while green.  I have managed to reduce the crook by slight trim cuts, but ultimately they crook for me, and the result is a pile of wasted time and board,  keep in mind I in no way am in the market, but have experimented with it,  and my hats off to the craftsmen that do the craft.
only have a few chain saws I'm not suppose to use, but will at times, one dog Dolly, pretty good dog, just not sure what for yet,  working on getting the gardening back in order, and kinda thinking on maybe a small bbq bizz,  thinking about it,

Offline LeeB

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Re: Rift sawing a log vs. rift sawn lumber
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2014, 11:28:00 AM »
Your rift sawn diagram would yield all quarter sawn, while the quarter sawn one would yield some of each.
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Offline sealark37

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Re: Rift sawing a log vs. rift sawn lumber
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2014, 11:40:17 AM »
In addition to the above post, the plain sawn log will produce some quarter and rift sawn boards.  I have run into many sellers and lumber users who confuse quarter with rift cut.   Regards, Clark

Offline beenthere

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Re: Rift sawing a log vs. rift sawn lumber
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2014, 02:08:58 PM »
I'm curious where you found the diagrams and the labels? Published somewhere, or yours?

As LeeB suggests, the "rift" sawn is all quartersawn. And sealark37 also has a point about the plain sawn diagram.
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Offline Thehardway

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Re: Rift sawing a log vs. rift sawn lumber
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2014, 04:08:36 PM »
I found the image from a google search using the term Rift sawn.  There are hundreds of them showing similar.  Many of them are from hardwood floor manufacturers and guitar makers.   It just makes no sense to me why "rift sawing" yeilds no "rift sawn" lumber but rather quatersawn lumber and quartersawing lumber yeilds some rift sawn lumber and flat sawing yeilds some of all three.  No wonder it is confusing to customers.  how do you explain that rift sawn lumber is not rift sawn?

On the other hand, one website says rift sawn lumber is always 90 degrees to the annular ring and is "premium quartersawn"

Hayward says it is just another name for quartersawn lumber.  Very confusing....
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Offline LeeB

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Re: Rift sawing a log vs. rift sawn lumber
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2014, 01:56:03 AM »
 Quarter sawn boards have a grain orientation that is largely vertical (60-90 degrees) to each face. Rift sawn lumber is cut with the grain oriented 30-60 degrees to the boards face. And the most common cut is plain (or flat) sawn lumber with the grain running mostly parallel to the boards face. If you saw to the rift sawn pattern you posted, all of it will be quarter sawn. The quarters sawn pattern will produce both rift and quarter with the rift coming from the outer 1/2 to 2/3 of the quarters. If you flat saw a log through and through, you will get all three. Quarter from the middle third of the log, rift above that and plain from the outer boards. Some of the rift sawn boards will also contain some plain sawn in the middle of them with the rift being to the outer edges. Bet it's really clear as mud now? If you look at the diagram you posted for plain sawn, you will see in the drawing of the plain sawn boards that if you rip the middle third of the first board out, that will leave you two rift sawn and one plain sawn piece.

I suppose the confusion is that if you quarter the log, stand the quarters on edge so to speak and saw them, you would be "quarter sawing".
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Offline FarmingSawyer

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Re: Rift sawing a log vs. rift sawn lumber
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2014, 05:49:26 AM »
Quarter sawing is time consuming and wasteful enough....I couldn't imagine true rift-sawing. Nor could I imagine finding a log so valuable that it could be worth rift-sawing.....
I've done a fair amount of quarter sawing and think that if you graded the cuts into quarter and rift as you cut them then you could add a premium for the rift pieces, but you would have to be clear to customers that they aren't true rift-sawn lumber as I imagine the way it is sawn also effects the characteristics and workability of the wood for someone whose craft requires rift-sawn lumber.
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Offline dboyt

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Re: Rift sawing a log vs. rift sawn lumber
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2014, 08:48:11 AM »
"Rift sawing" is a sawing technique that produces quartersawn grain, whereas "rift grain" is at a 60 to 75 degree angle growth rings.  It's a contradiction, for sure.  Sort of why "why do you park on a driveway, but drive on a parkway?", or "why isn't a 2x4 2" by 4?".  The "rift" sawing technique gets its name from "rive" which means to split apart.  Riven shingles (hand split) are split to a radial pattern that yields true quarter grain.
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Offline terrifictimbersllc

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Re: Rift sawing a log vs. rift sawn lumber
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2014, 09:43:18 AM »
Seems like the diagrams refer to the method, not the commonly understood result.   And that they are somewhat archaic.
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Offline POSTON WIDEHEAD

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Re: Rift sawing a log vs. rift sawn lumber
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2014, 04:49:44 PM »
I Quarter Saw..not Rift Saw. You want Rift Sawn lumber..you'll have to check somewhere else.  :D
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Offline giant splinter

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Re: Rift sawing a log vs. rift sawn lumber
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2014, 07:46:21 PM »
Rift sawn boards are most notably used in marine construction and primarily by wooden boat builders, the grain pattern lends itself to holding fasteners better than any other grade and cut of lumber, it is true that some rift sawn boards are produced during quarter sawing and flat sawing. I agree there is some confusion and always has been, if you ask a wooden boat builder you will get a clearer picture of why he prefers rift sawn for the majority of his framing material and flat sawn (vertical grain) for his planking stock as the combination works best for holding fasteners. My best effort to confuse everyone even further ;D.
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Offline Dan_Shade

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Re: Rift sawing a log vs. rift sawn lumber
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2014, 08:11:39 PM »
I like to use riftsawn lumber for table legs and for rail and stiles on panel frames. 

For the table legs, the grain looks the same from both sides.

For panels, the non-descript grain pattern doesn't take away from wood selected for the panel.

The pictures in the first post are simply passing bad information. 
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Offline beenthere

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Re: Rift sawing a log vs. rift sawn lumber
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2014, 08:43:12 PM »
Quote
and flat sawn (vertical grain)

Are you suggesting these are the same?

What may be confusing to this thread are references to the sawing pattern and other references to the grain pattern of the wood in a board after it is sawn.

They may seem the same, but are not the same.
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Offline drobertson

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Re: Rift sawing a log vs. rift sawn lumber
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2014, 09:21:53 PM »
I have to say that I am amazed at the lack of response to how much waste comes from sawing this type and patter of grain.  these boards have consistently crooked on me.  Which lead me to believe that the usable lumber from such a cut is quite less than what it started from, in comparison to flat saw or even a true q-swn.  I must be doing something wrong.
only have a few chain saws I'm not suppose to use, but will at times, one dog Dolly, pretty good dog, just not sure what for yet,  working on getting the gardening back in order, and kinda thinking on maybe a small bbq bizz,  thinking about it,

Offline Swatson

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Re: Rift sawing a log vs. rift sawn lumber
« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2014, 09:51:54 PM »
My parents have an old book called Foxfire that has a story in there about it that I looked at last year (they have had that book since I was a kid) that had an old sawyer in there using a homebuilt circle mill rift sawing a large tree.  It looks incredibly wasteful on paper but this guy was actually using the angular cutouts for a kind of lap siding.  It looked pretty good but the pictures in that book are all black and white and pretty small. Anyhow that is where I got the impression that rift sawing was a method not necessarily a type of lumber because it mentioned that is where quarter sawn lumber was made.  I will look at it again next time I visit.  It looks like a ton of hard work to me.
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Offline giant splinter

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Re: Rift sawing a log vs. rift sawn lumber
« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2014, 12:34:44 AM »
Beenthere , I am not suggesting that these are the same and vertical grain is frequently used in a confusing manner, it is common to suggest that sel-str or struc-1 and select structural grade lumber is vertical grain while at the same time almost any grain pattern can be called vertical grain if its in a position where the grain direction is perpendicular to anything level or anything plumb. At this point I may be confusing myself but I have noticed these terms being intermixed at times ..... may just depend on where you learn the terms as well. I hope this helps clear this up a little.
roll with it

Offline 5quarter

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Re: Rift sawing a log vs. rift sawn lumber
« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2014, 12:43:57 AM »
Swatson...I love the foxfire books. I had them practically memorized when I was a kid.

Dboyt  nailed it. Quarter sawing and rift sawing describe two different sawing patterns. but when describing Lumber (esp. in furniture making) They have exactly opposite meanings. I suppose it's anyone's guess why, though it wouldn't be the first time. Originally, Awful was used to describe overwhelming beauty, as in, "The angel of the Lord carried an aweful countenance and I fell to my knees and wept." Whereas today we refer to cold French fries as being "aweful."
But anyway, Saw pattern diagrams are all over the map. I think Audel describes quartersawing  as first making the quarters then sawing pie slices as shown in your rift sawing diagram. My method is similar, but doesn't make wedge boards. the downside is that I can't make bookmatched pairs with my method since there is a narrow wedge of waste wood between adjacent boards.
As a side note, Steinway, in catalogs of 100+ years ago, advertised their sound boards as perfectly riven spruce. Another catalog from the 1920's touts the quality of their sounding boards, constructed from carefully rift sawn spruce. Knowing Steinway, I wouldn't be surprised if they had some fellow whose job it was to rive planks from bolts of spruce.  :D :D
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Offline beenthere

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Re: Rift sawing a log vs. rift sawn lumber
« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2014, 01:10:51 AM »
giantsplitter
I think flat grain and vertical grain are in general 90 to each other with respect to the surface.

To quote the WCLIB rules (West Coast Lumber Inspection Bureau)
Quote
in the Glossary
(e) Vertical grain (VG) (Edge grain EG) (Rift grain)
lumber is a piece or pieces sawn at approximately right
angles to the annual growth rings so that the rings form
an angle of 45 degrees or more with the surface of the
piece
(f) Flat grain (FG) (Slash grain SG) lumber is a piece or pieces
sawn approximately parallel to the annual growth rings so
that all or some of the rings form an angle of less than 45
degrees with the surface of the piece.
(g) Mixed grain (MG) lumber includes either or both vertical and flat grain pieces.

I just hope it helps to keep things a bit straight for less confusion.

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Offline kelLOGg

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Re: Rift sawing a log vs. rift sawn lumber
« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2014, 06:07:09 AM »
I read an article many years ago about an oldtimer (from Maine if I recall correctly) who had a log lathe called a Rosser which held the log fixed while a circular saw blade made a cut ~6" deep parallel to the pith. The log was then rotated several degrees and a 2nd cut was made. The resulting wedge which was broken off manually by a technique he devised producing the first wedge-shaped board. He continued in this manner around the whole log and if the log was big enough he would clean it up and make a 2nd set of passes. With this rift sawing process he ended up with perfectly qsawn wedge-shaped siding. He said the challenge in this process was keeping the blade from overheating and claimed to have solved the problem. The article was complete with pictures but I don't remember the magazine but I do remember that he rode his bicycle from his house to his mill. Anyone know of this technique?
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