How Quartersawn White Oak is Sawn
Most woodworkers have an idea of what quartersawn wood is. The accepted definition is that the growth rings are between 60° and 90° to the wide face of the board. In some species, notably white oak, this exposes the medullary rays and changes the figure from “that’s nice” to WOW!”
Where things fall apart is when people try to visualize how the saw blade passes through the log as the lumber is milled. I just did a Google image search on the term “quartersawn lumber” and 75 percent or more of the images are incorrect. The methods shown range from absolutely crazy to just plain silly. Like most things about the Internet, the right answer is there, you just need to find a qualified source.
Down the road from our offices here in Cincinnati is the Frank Miller Lumber Company, in Union City, Ind. Glen Huey documented a trip he and I made several years ago in this blog post, and we shot some video of their retail operation in this blog post. Frank Miller Lumber saws more white oak than anyone, and has for more than 100 years. The company recently released an animated video that shows how they do it in Union City. It’s nicely done and fun to watch.
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