To create Quarter Sawn lumber, the log is first cut radially into four quarters. However, this technique leaves large amounts of waste wood. In a quarter sawn board, the growth rings of the tree are closer to perpendicular to the surface of the board than in most plain sawn boards. In certain species of wood, most notably Oak, this creates a beautiful visual effect. These boards are more stable than plain sawn, being less susceptible to distortion that comes with expansion and contraction from absorbing and releasing atmospheric moisture. Stable quarter sawn lumber is often recommended for flooring in large homes, high moisture, high traffic areas like restaurants, bars and home kitchens.
Oak is the most common quarter sawn wood, although it is also available in walnut, cherry and maple. Plain sawn flooring often times can expand, buckle, cup, warp, and twist-off the subfloor, even to the point of pushing out the walls. But these problems are not present with Rift and Quarter sawn flooring by the nature of the milling.
Quarter and Rift sawn hardwood costs more due to the highest rate of log waste during manufacturing process (only approximately 20% of the log can be utilized for quarter sawn hardwood production).
Rift Sawn (Rift Cut)
The most stable boards, and also the most wasteful to produce, are rift sawn planks. Each of these boards is cut radially, perpendicular to the growth rings of the tree. There are large triangles of waste left from between each board. As a result, rift sawn lumber is costly to produce and therefore, the most expensive type of planks available from a log.