Wood Cuts 101-Plain, Quarter or Rift

An overview of the most common wood cuts and the wood grain look achieved.
Plain Sawn
This is both the most common wood cut and inexpensive method of cutting. Wood is sliced in parallel planks through the center of the log so that the angles of the rings are about 35 degrees. This result is visible knots and a varied wood grain pattern. The looks is always unique, piece to piece. Plain sawn wood is easy to produce and, since very little wood is wasted, it is the most affordable and common of the wood cuts available.
Quarter Sawn
With a similar look to rift, but repeating grain patterns, quarter sawn wood is more expensive than plain sliced but less than Rift. It too takes more time, wood and labor to create and results in more waste than plain sawn wood. How is it made? By cutting a log into quarters then plain sawing each quarter. The result? A unique, straight grain pattern. Many times you can get visible flecking depending on the wood species (such as white or red oak). Quarter sawn wood varies in price based on the type of wood selected, but it is always more expensive than plain sliced wood.
Rift Cut
Rift cut wood has a rope like appearance, and what’s referred to as a tight grain. The pattern is not repeating like in quarter sawn. It is the most expensive cut of wood to purchase. Why? It requires the most labor and wood to produce. Rift sawn wood is made by cutting perpendicular to the log’s rings, (like slices of a pizza), producing a straight linear grain pattern.
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