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Author Topic: Understanding quarter sawn  (Read 4714 times)

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Offline Brad_bb

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Understanding quarter sawn
« on: November 08, 2007, 02:34:20 PM »
I was reading a quarter sawing how to in this forum.  Please forgive my newbie ignorance, but is quarter sawn defined by quartering the log or by the direction you saw relative to the ring direction?  It seems like true quarter sawing is where you keep the growth rings perpendicular to your cut.  Is this correct?
Additionally, is a quarter sawn board weaker than one that is sawn parallel to the growth rings? Of course this partially depends on the direction the load is applied I would presume, but in general... :P
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Offline getoverit

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Re: Understanding quarter sawn
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2007, 03:51:35 PM »
True quarter sawing is where you quarter the log, then lay one quarter on the mill so that you take a board off of the quarter, then flip it and take a board off of the other face. This will yeild progressivly narrower boards and is the least wasteful way to quarter saw.

One other method is to quarter the log, then take wedge shaped cuts off of that quarter. This will yeild wedge shaped boards, but they will all be the same width (or close to it). This will require further milling to get the faces of each board parallel to each other. This is a wasteful way to quarter saw, but the advantage is that all of the boards will be close to the same width.

One way to produce quarter sawn wood is to square up a log, then flat saw it. The boards just before the pith continuing to just beyond the pith will be closely vertical grained, and close enough for many to be considered quarter sawn. Of course, only a few boards per log will be vertical grained enough to be considered quarter sawn, but if you are sawing alot of logs, they add up in a hurry.

As far as strength, it depends on which way you lay the board. If you stand it up on edge, then no, it isnt stronger than a flat sawn board of the same dimensions laid out the same way. If you lay it flat, then it will be stronger than a flat sawn board of the same dimensions laid out in the same manner. Strength goes with the growth rings.

Most wood workers want quarter sawn wood because it is less likely to move due to heat and humidity changes, thus making a stronger  and more stable woodworking project.
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Offline Tom

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Re: Understanding quarter sawn
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2007, 06:00:02 PM »
Pretty true, Getoverit.

In reality, quartersawn is a means of talking about two subjects.  When referencing the board that is "quartersawed", you are describing a board that has "vertical grain".  The grain that is at a 90° to the wide surface of the board down to about 30°, is considered true Quartersawn.  The grain whose slope falls between 30° and 45° is called Rift or sometimes Bastard sawed.  The grain whose slope falls between 45° and parallel to the wide surface is "flat sawed".

Quartersawing is actually just a means of producing vertical grained boards. The means and the results have come to be synonomous with one another, Quartersawing, quartersawn, quartersaw or vertical grain.  In actuality, the term vertical grain has been more commonly used in softwoods.  I don't know where I read that, but the book made a distinction between the terms for softwood and hardwood.  Anyone familiar with the product should recognize any of the names.




Stability depends on the orientation of the grain, among other things.  Quartersawn boards tend to crook, Flatsawn boards tend to bow.
 

Forum searchs, specifically in the sawmill topic, for grain, vertical grain, quartersawn, quarter, and rift, will bring up a lot of threads talking about he subject.
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Offline Bibbyman

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Re: Understanding quarter sawn
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2007, 06:09:46 PM »
Most wood workers want quarter sawn wood because it is less likely to move due to heat and humidity changes, thus making a stronger  and more stable woodworking project.

I guess the many thousands of bf of kiln dried oak Ive sold over the years must have gone to guys that only thought they were wood workers. 

The amount of quarter sawn oak Ive had inquiries about and actually sold totals less than a thousand board feet.  Itd surely not add up to 1% of the total.
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Offline getoverit

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Re: Understanding quarter sawn
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2007, 07:12:16 PM »
Bibby, you are so right too.

I have noticed that lately on the woodworking shows on the DIY channel, most all of them use quartersawn hardwoods for their projects. I have built hundreds of book cases, shelfs, and other projects that were all flat sawn and held up fine. It is only in the last year or so that I have seen the preference to quartered woods being made.

WIth musical instrument builders, they almost always insist on quarter sawn woods. In reality, flat sawn woods will do fine and dont make any difference at all int he tone of the woods. It is just a traditional thing for the most part.

As I said, Norm Abrham and the other guy.... david something.. are making it sound like you cant build with anything except quarter sawn woods.
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Offline jackpine

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Re: Understanding quarter sawn
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2007, 08:04:26 PM »
Bibbyman, I agree with you 100%. In the 7 years I have been custom sawing I have had one customer ask for some quartersawn and then from only one log out of approx. 30. When I mention quartersawing to most customers they ask me what that is and I have to point out the ray fleck in oak :D And most of these guys consider themselves woodworkers

Bill

Offline Bibbyman

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Re: Understanding quarter sawn
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2007, 08:26:51 PM »
Ive noticed that Norm and David Marks have started to used plywood or particle board panels covered with veneer rather than use glue ups or raised panels.  May as well go buy it at Wal-Mart.  :-\
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Offline getoverit

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Re: Understanding quarter sawn
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2007, 08:56:34 PM »
If you are wondering why I have been almost begging for quartersawn hardwoods, cut to my specs, here is a LINK that should open your eyes.

When you can cut 2 boardfeet of lumber and sell it for over $100, why would you not want to quartersaw your woods?  Why would you rather flat saw 500 bdft of wood at $2/bdft when you can quartersaw it and sell the same 500 bdft for over $50/bdft?  Even selling billets of lumber cut to the right sizes and sold at half the going rate is still 5 times the price you get from normal woodworkers.

There are other markets out there for specialty sawn woods. With the CITES treaty cutting down on mahogany and other imported woods, the North American hardwoods are beginning to get their due respect.  It doesnt cost much money or time to quarter saw some woods, take pictures of it and sell it on a web site, targeting a particular market.  For the hobby sawyer, a little time spent learning how to saw for specialty markets would pay off big time.
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Offline LeeB

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Re: Understanding quarter sawn
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2007, 09:25:26 PM »
$135 just for four little boards? They're pretty but, $135?
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Offline getoverit

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Re: Understanding quarter sawn
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2007, 09:34:18 PM »
Do you still think I'm crazy for wanting to buy vertical grained hardwoods from you guys? I can supply you with a number of links just like that one and with similar woods, all of them cut just like those are. For those of you that live in the far north where spruce grows, there is even a greater market for good spruce, cut to specs. Adirondack spruce is the highest priced of all of the woods right now and is in high demand. You just have to saw it right and then let someone like me know what you have... it will sell. Western red cedar is another good seller. Even a lowly wood like cypress brings high prices if it is cut right.

I have ben trying to tell you that there are other markets out there and easier ways to make money. For those of you that think luthiers dont spend much money on wood, I have spent over $2,500 in wood purchases in the last month.

I am just one of hundreds of luthiers in the US. All luthiers have a disease called "WAS" (wood acquisition syndrome) and we buy good looking wood whether we need it or not.
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Offline MikeH

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Re: Understanding quarter sawn
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2007, 09:38:54 PM »
 $135  looks like a good price for clear curly quartersawn wide walnut(air dried over 20 years). That is a rare find.

Offline Bibbyman

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Re: Understanding quarter sawn
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2007, 10:00:51 PM »
Well,  you can get a clue as to haw big a market there is for wood like this when theyve been trying to sell the same stuff for over 20 years! 
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Re: Understanding quarter sawn
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2007, 11:23:48 PM »
 :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D smiley_flipping smiley_flipping smiley_flipping smiley_flipping smiley_flipping

Offline woodmills1

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Re: Understanding quarter sawn
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2007, 08:22:00 AM »
I have one quartersawn customer, who is a cooper.  I call him only when I have top quality larger oak.  I only sell him true quartered clear lumber, but he will accept pieces down to 3 inch wide and 3 foot long.  He has also ordered some quartered pine and cedar to make buckets with.  We have developed quite a good working relationship as well as a friendship over the years.  He pays me very well for the time it takes to produce boards he can use.  Through his contacts my wood has been on TV, mostly PBS shows that are true to certain historical time periods, as well as history based sites like Jamestown, and also for breweries such as red hook.  He has turned out to be one of my best repeat customers.

An ofshoot of this is that I always have a large supply of narrow rift and flatsawn oak boards that end up filling orders I get for molding, flooring, or glued up panels.
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Offline Brad_bb

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Re: Understanding quarter sawn
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2007, 03:13:52 PM »
Thank you, that confirms my understanding of quartersawn.
Brad_bb
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Offline thedeeredude

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Re: Understanding quarter sawn
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2007, 06:12:58 PM »
Ive heard that in oak or sycamore, woods with rays, you saw parallel to the ray which is not always 90 degrees to the growth ring.  Speaking not from experience, never had a sawmill, never ran a sawmill, still want a sawmill :D

Offline Bibbyman

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Re: Understanding quarter sawn
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2007, 07:19:46 PM »
Did you ever hear the old saying Never talk about any one elses kids because someday yours will do something just as bad or worse.

Well,  I shouldnt have spoken so lightly about quarter sawing.  Its come back to bite me.

Had a new customer come with a couple of logs to be custom sawn.  He thought they may be white oak because they were white.  A little too white.  They look like they could be box elder.  Im going to do some research and see if I can figure out what they are.

He had to go back and get three more logs.  He returned in an hour with a big, lumpy, sap rotten, chunk of water oak and two other water oak logs off he same blown down trees.  He was pretty sure it was some kind of oak.  He got that right.

 

Here is the "before" with Sthil 044 w/26" bar for size comparison.



Here is after the amputations have been preformed.

He wants the big lumpy one quarter sawn.  He admitted he should have trimmed the ugly one better but he was running out of time.  (Right then I should have told him I have a $60/ hr. labor rate.)  It took me about 30 minutes to trim this one and the other two by the time I got them out and rolled them around, etc.

The guy professes to be a furniture maker as a business, not a hobby.  In the hour or so exposure I had with him,  he knows very little about wood.   
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Offline woodmills1

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Re: Understanding quarter sawn
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2007, 07:52:27 PM »
don't ya just love those custom cut customers.

and by the way that is why I am by the hour only

I have some nice lumpy maple Ifin ya wants to see if he is interested
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Offline TexasTimbers

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Re: Understanding quarter sawn
« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2007, 12:43:28 PM »
I am suprised to see so much pessimism. Everyday people who have been in certain industries, heck just pick one at random, suddenly "discover" a "new" niche market or a "new" way of thinking or marketing that had existed for years right under their nose, but they just din't see it or had not sought it, or just had not yet had the fortune to be exposed to it.

I hope I never come to the point in sawmilling or any other facet of life where I actually think I know it all, because then I will be unable to learn anything new much less reap the benefits of new discoveries whcih can only be found by realizing no one knows it all.

Some of you ought to listen to what GOI is saying. the only thing he has wrong is that there arenot hundreds of luthiers in the states alone, there are thousands on every level,, but they all have one thing in common: they know they have to buy quartersawn wood. Now this is just luthiers mind you. there are at least two other "niche" markets I sell to that also use it exclusively and they dwarf luthiers need for it.
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Offline woodbeard

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Re: Understanding quarter sawn
« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2007, 03:16:07 PM »
Precicely why I am hanging onto mine for myself. ;D


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