The Forestry Forum

General Forestry => Sawmills and Milling => Topic started by: qbilder on December 16, 2013, 03:16:33 PM

Title: Quarter sawing
Post by: qbilder on December 16, 2013, 03:16:33 PM
Not sure how yall do it, but I lay the log on the mill and begin my first cut just below the pith on small end, so to keep the grain running parallel to the mill bed. I take the top half & flip it, and repeat. What I have left over is a wedge shaped slab with the pith centered in it. It gets tossed and I have two halves with grain running parallel to the mill. I shave the sharp edges off then get a few wide QS boards from each half. What's left of each half I turn upright and slab through. This gives me the highest yield of wide but true QS boards, and the rift sawed boards are the narrowest.

If that description makes sense to anybody, am I doing this right? Am I missing or seeing something wrong? It seems to work very well with maple, but the wide oak boards seem to cup. Is it because they are cut too close to where the pith was? What causes the cup on a seemingly perfectly QS board? The narrow boards stay flat & straight. My problem is the wide center cut boards. Thanks in advance for any tips.               
Title: Re: Quarter sawing
Post by: beenthere on December 16, 2013, 03:24:20 PM
Why quarter saw maple?
For stability?
Just curious. 
Title: Re: Quarter sawing
Post by: dboyt on December 16, 2013, 03:59:09 PM
I think I have a picture of what you're doing, though I have never heard of anyone doing i quite the way you described.  If you look at the grain of the wide pieces, you will notice that it is NOT quartersawn near the pith, but, for a short distance is flat sawn down the center of the board.  Quarter sawn wood shrinks in width radially, and the flat sawn part is shrinking tangentially.  Since the wood shrinks more tangentially than radially, the board will have uneven shrinkage, and will warp.  Different species have different properties in this regard.  This kind of cupping gives a fairly sharp "V" cupping.  The other thing is that the only wood that you are cutting parallel to the grain is the outer wood.  As you move toward the center of the log, the slope of the grain will increase, until it matches 1/2 the angle of the wedge.

Tight strapping or lots of weight will help keep the boards flat during drying.  I'm sure others will have additional ideas.
Title: Re: Quarter sawing
Post by: woodmills1 on December 16, 2013, 04:09:59 PM
I don't cut the faces off the quarters, I cut the whole quarter as you are doing after you cut the faces off.  My quartered wood is and stays flat.
Title: Re: Quarter sawing
Post by: terrifictimbersllc on December 16, 2013, 04:21:28 PM
The idea of QS boards cupping I don't understand.  If your QS boards have too much juvenile wood on the edges this can cause them to crook.   Also don't understand discarding the "wedge shape slab with the pith centered in it"...if I understand what you describe,  this board would have at least several boards worth of thickness and would therefore contain some of the prime QS material on either sides of the pith.   

I know it depends on the size of the log but logs that are big enough to be worth quartersawing I remove and discard the equivalent of at least a 4x4, sometimes up to 6x6 (2-3" at least from the center) of juvenile wood from the customer's boards.   I've also heard it said get rid of the first 15 years worth.
Title: Re: Quarter sawing
Post by: Ianab on December 16, 2013, 04:42:15 PM
Quote
If you look at the grain of the wide pieces, you will notice that it is NOT quartersawn near the pith, but, for a short distance is flat sawn down the center of the board.

This is what I'm thinking too. You effectively have 2 x Quarter sawn boards there, joined with a small piece of unstable rift / flat sawn material from near the pith. The centre piece is going to (mis)behave differently to the quarter sawn section, and probably cup.

If you need the wide board, then dry it on the bottom of the stack. LOTS of weight might help.

If you need quarter sawn boards, then rip that middle section out and throw it on the firewood pile as well. It won't behave any better on it's own, but the 2 good Q-sawn boards should behave better without it.

Ian
Title: Re: Quarter sawing
Post by: qbilder on December 16, 2013, 05:35:43 PM
Thanks, guys! Yes you are correct that the center of the board is not QS. There's about an inch or two of curved grain, and that's where it cups. From now on I will rip that area out.

I quarter saw maple for pool cues. The quarter sawing makes for very stable wood. 
Title: Re: Quarter sawing
Post by: beenthere on December 16, 2013, 05:45:40 PM
Quote
I quarter saw maple for pool cues. The quarter sawing makes for very stable wood.

Seems straight grain for a pool cue would be the most important wood characteristic.
I assume the are turned so end up round.
Don't understand how being from quarter sawn stock can have much of an effect unless it is easier to identify the straight grain for ripping out blanks.
Title: Re: Quarter sawing
Post by: Nomad on December 16, 2013, 06:10:09 PM

I quarter saw maple for pool cues. The quarter sawing makes for very stable wood.

     I don't doubt you a bit.  But it seems to me that flat sawn wood would move in one direction, and quarter sawn in the other.  Am I missing something?  Maybe the quarter sawn doesn't move as much?
Title: Re: Quarter sawing
Post by: mesquite buckeye on December 16, 2013, 07:37:50 PM
I'm thinking BT is right here, unless you are working with wood that is still a bit wet and will move. Are we talking a diamond distortion issue?
Title: Re: Quarter sawing
Post by: Jeff on December 16, 2013, 07:46:05 PM
I too can not see where quarter sawn makes a difference in a pool cue or how you would ever tell once it was cut out. You rip a strip from flat or quartersawn that is roughly the size you need, and flip either a quarter turn and the one becomes the other.
Title: Re: Quarter sawing
Post by: POSTON WIDEHEAD on December 16, 2013, 08:04:33 PM
I too can not see where quarter sawn makes a difference in a pool cue or how you would ever tell once it was cut out. You rip a strip from flat or quartersawn that is roughly the size you need, and flip either a quarter turn and the one becomes the other.

This reply is enough to make me go get an Advil. 
But the more I thing about it…..you are right!  :D
Title: Re: Quarter sawing
Post by: POSTON WIDEHEAD on December 16, 2013, 08:26:54 PM
I have thought about a quarter sawn pool stick.
I have a pool table and I shoot pool a lot.
I am thinking…..by quarter sawing a pool stick……it is to gain stability in the pressure that goes through the stick when hitting the Q ball to break open a rack.

There are pool sticks used just for breaking a rack that are made in one piece. And usually your professional shooting pool sticks come in two pieces.

Y'all see what I am talking about?
Title: Re: Quarter sawing
Post by: qbilder on December 16, 2013, 08:46:08 PM
Quarter sawing doesn't have any affect on the finished cue. It dries with less stress, so the tendency to warp is lessened. I could, and have, cut turning squares from flat sawn stock & it's a crap shoot on whether it'll warp or not. Many times it's warping as I am ripping it from the board. Quarter sawn wood for the most part stays true. Once turned round, there's absolutely no way to know how the log was milled, and doesn't even matter so long as it's straight. In a nut shell, flat sawn wood warps more often & more severely than quarter sawn wood. At least it does as a cue. Another benefit to quarter sawing is that the grain is on the face of the board, so I can take a straight edge & make a line parallel to the grain for ripping. This centers the grain to the line of the cue. That's also why I saw the log the way I do, cutting below the pith so that the grain of the log runs parallel to the mill bed. I even choose my trees for straightness and minimal defects. Once the cue is completed, there's no way to know tell how it was cut. Everything I'm doing just makes less waste due to warp. A finished shaft is 29" long and tapered from around 7/8" big end to 1/2" small end, and it has to be straight or else the buyers get upset.           
Title: Re: Quarter sawing
Post by: Magicman on December 16, 2013, 09:01:16 PM
It sounds like you have a very specialized niche' market.
Title: Re: Quarter sawing
Post by: mikeb1079 on December 16, 2013, 09:45:54 PM
his ques are awesome!  i've seen some pics in the past but q you should post up some more!!
Title: Re: Quarter sawing
Post by: beenthere on December 16, 2013, 11:12:04 PM
qbuilder
That makes good sense. Thanks for the info.
Title: Re: Quarter sawing
Post by: Nomad on December 16, 2013, 11:51:21 PM
     Yes, if you're ripping it to center the grain in line with the center of the que it does make sense.
Title: Re: Quarter sawing
Post by: terrifictimbersllc on December 17, 2013, 08:20:33 AM
I have thought about a quarter sawn pool stick.
I have a pool table and I shoot pool a lot.
I am thinking…..by quarter sawing a pool stick……it is to gain stability in the pressure that goes through the stick when hitting the Q ball to break open a rack.

There are pool sticks used just for breaking a rack that are made in one piece. And usually your professional shooting pool sticks come in two pieces.

Y'all see what I am talking about?
Absolutely, wooden pool balls don't matter how they were sawn.
Title: Re: Quarter sawing
Post by: qbilder on December 17, 2013, 12:44:13 PM
Thank you for your thoughts, gentlemen.
Title: Re: Quarter sawing
Post by: Jeff on December 17, 2013, 02:27:30 PM
I can now see why quartersawn would be better to use, but is it really a matter of the wood being quartersawn, or that the quartersawn enables you to see and use the grain in the proper direction and weed out anything that is not?
Title: Re: Quarter sawing
Post by: beenthere on December 17, 2013, 04:35:54 PM
I think it is as you see it. The Q sawing is the first step to get the grain straight (parallel to the bark) and the second step is to rip out the squares after drying straight grain.  A smart way to do that, as I see it.

Highest strength lumber from a log can be obtained by sawing parallel to the bark as well, taking log taper out of the center of the log where the quality is often less. However, efficiency of sawing and volume yield is somewhat affected by sawing parallel to the bark so the practice is no(t) a popular one.
Title: Re: Quarter sawing
Post by: qbilder on December 18, 2013, 11:33:40 AM
I can now see why quartersawn would be better to use, but is it really a matter of the wood being quartersawn, or that the quartersawn enables you to see and use the grain in the proper direction and weed out anything that is not?

Both. I find it very easy to dry the QS maple as it stays flat & straight without having to strap it down or add weight. This stability follows all the way through to the end product. I lose much less wood to warp than I do when using flat sawn wood. Internal stress that you'd never see in cabinets or furniture, reveals itself when cut down to a long, thin cylindrical shape. The QS wood simply doesn't warp when cut down, or at least not nearly as much. Even though it seems I am wasting a lot of good wood in the milling process, I lose a lot less wood once I begin working with it. I actually lose about 30% of the QS wood where I would lose 60-70% of flat sawn. 

And yes, being able to sight the grain and keeping the grain centerline to the cue makes a huge difference. With what I do, quality heavily outweighs quantity. On a good cue, you should be able to pick a grain line in the center of one end of the shaft and follow it to the center of the other end. If the grain runs off to the side before it gets to the end, then it's junk and is liable to snap in half when flexed or linearly compressed. That's why it's important even when picking the tree, to be sure there are no wiggles, curves, or twists in the grain. Worse yet, my high end buyers want the wood void of any sugar lines or mineral stain, so being able to see the edge grain allows me to pick out the cleanest shafts before I invest so much time in turning. QSing offers a few advantages for what I do.               
Title: Re: Quarter sawing
Post by: Jeff on December 18, 2013, 11:39:49 AM
See, now I'm the kind of guy that would want mineral stain or better yet, spalting. But I suppose that any spalting would make for a weaker que. :)
Title: Re: Quarter sawing
Post by: qbilder on December 18, 2013, 11:45:03 AM
However, efficiency of sawing and volume yield is somewhat affected by sawing parallel to the bark so the practice is no a popular one.

Yeah I know all about that. That's pretty much why I have to do it myself. Nobody else will do it. Many have tried, but soon find out that the waste is too much so making profit is a tough gig. The few others that do cut maple for cue shafts do it more efficiently and have other markets to take up the loss from waste. They don't cut the way I do, so stability is always an issue, and they sell a 1"x1"x30" square stick of maple for $8 on the low grade end up to $40 on the high end. That's a considerable cost when I would be buying several hundred per year. Much cheaper for me to have a saw mill, and I end up with much higher control over every step so I end up with better wood than I can buy, anyway. My problem is finding maple trees or logs that are straight & clean enough to supply what I need. There's no lack of hard maple, but sure aren't very many that are cue quality. That's another reason it's tough finding a good supplier that will stay around for the long haul while keeping prices affordable. It's not a very lucrative job for a miller.             
Title: Re: Quarter sawing
Post by: qbilder on December 18, 2013, 11:48:25 AM
See, now I'm the kind of guy that would want mineral stain or better yet, spalting. But I suppose that any spalting would make for a weaker que. :)

In the butt half of the cue, that stuff is desirable. I use burls, curls, eyes, & spalted woods often in the back half of my cues. That's what makes them pretty, and expensive. But in the top half, the shaft, it's best to be clean and uniform color. The players gripe that the color moving back & forth catches their eye & distracts them. I have a very finicky market  :D