WHAT IS QUARTER SAWN?
Quarter sawn is a process of sawing logs into boards that exposes the medullary ray or “flake”. The German term for this is “Spiegel Shnitt” or “Mirror Cut”. The whole log must first be quartered (hence the name), then each quarter is sawn separately. When sawing quarter sawn lumber, the yield drops 15% or more, and sawing times may increase by 20%. Quarter sawn is therefore more expensive lumber. White oak has the largest and most distinctive flake pattern of any wood and is the species of choice for quarter sawn.
Plain sawn, by contrast, is a process that exposes the large “open” grain pattern usually associated with oak. The log is turned each time it is cut until the center is reached.
WHY USE QUARTER SAWN?
There are two main reasons why you would want to use quarter sawn lumber in furniture: Quarter sawn is more stable. It expands and contracts from top to bottom instead of side to side. And more importantly is the decorative style that many love.