Cuts of Wood

When looking for wood products, whether it be furniture, flooring or anything else, you may want to consider what cut of wood it comes from. The answer is more important than you think. Are you looking for something aesthetically pleasing? something cost efficient? or perhaps something that will last you a long time? Whatever your answer may be, just take a closer look at your potential purchase.

The 4 major cuts of lumber are Live Sawn, Plain Sawn, Quarter Sawn and Rift Sawn, each different from the other.

Live Sawn

plain sawn, cuts of wood

The most efficient method to cut a log, each piece is cut straight off the log in one direction which results in a wide range of grain patterns and no waste. Because 1/3rd of the cuts are quarter sawn, live sawn lumber is also highly stable.

Advantages: Efficient milling method, environmentally friendly, stable, beautiful mixture of grain patterns.


Plain Sawn

plain sawn, cuts of wood

Commonly referred to as ‘flat sawn’ is the most common type of cut. It is the least expensive way to cut logs and the resulting grain is that of a cathedral pattern. However, a higher chance of cupping and twisting arises because of the tangential grain, especially if moisture present.

Advantages: Least expensive, minimal waste, beautiful grain patterns.


Quarter Sawn

Quarter sawn wood is more expensive than live and plain sawn because it is more labor intensive and produces more waste than the other two. The lumber that is obtained from this method is the most stable. It is more resistant to moisture penetration and exhibits almost no twisting, warping or cupping. Quarter sawn wood also displays a desirable grain pattern.

Advantages: Most stable, desirable grain pattern.

Rift Sawn

Rift sawn milling is the most expensive method and produces the most waste, and because of this it is the least common. It is however the most stable of the 4 methods.

Advantages: Consistent grain patterns, most stable.


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