Quartersawn white oak is one of my favorite woods, and we’re fortunate in Cincinnati that the largest source for this wood in North America is just a couple hours away. Frank Miller Lumber in Union City, Indiana has been producing this wood for more than one hundred years, and it’s worth a visit, as Glen Huey and I did a couple years ago. The way the logs are cut produces the flaked figure. The vertical lines on the end grain in the photo below are the growth rings, and the thin, almost horizontal lines are the medullary rays that radiate from the center of the tree out to the edge. When a ray crosses the surface of a board, the flaked figure appears.
I was looking for an illustration of how the end grain relates to the figure, and visited the Frank Miller Lumber website this morning. I found an entire new section of the site called the Learning Center where I came across a cool animation about how the logs are cut. Here is a link to the video on the FML site: Quartersawing Process or you can see the YouTube video below.