Quarter Sawn Oak vs. Rift Cut

Quarter sawn oak is is a cut of lumber made by first cutting the wood into four pieces, or quartering it, then sawing each segment at a 45 degree angle from the cut edge to the outer edge of the quarter. The rift style lumber cut is very similar, except that the angle is adjusted as the cuts are made, which makes the rift style more complex style and more expensive and gives the grain a different line pattern. Both cuts are well liked for their ability to take a stain, but quarter sawn is often preferred because it yields a more unique pattern.

Pros and Cons of Each Cut

Quarter sawn wood is often desired for the patterns achieved in the sawing process. Becaue of the angle of the cut it is common for quarter cut wood to have long, well-defined rays running the length of a board. It is also far more stable than plain sawn wood, but because it is more difficult to produce and yields more waste, it is more expensive than plain sawn wood.

Rift sawn wood is the more stable cut style. It also produces uniform patterns of angular lines on the end grain, as opposed to the straight parallel lines of quarter sawn. Rift sawing yields a lower percentage of waste than quarter sawn wood, though without the same type of design patterns. Its main disadvantage is that it is the more difficult sawing method which increases the cost of the product.