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Quartersawn Red Oak Lumber
Photo 1 - Red Oak

Quartersawn White Oak Lumber
Photo 2 - White Oak
Quartersawn Oak

Botanical Name: N/A

Family: Fagaceae

Other Common Names: N/A.

Uses: Arts & Crafts
furniture, flooring and cabinetry.

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Quartersawn Oak

General Characteristics: Quartersawn Oak, a material little used today, is one of the hallmarks of the Arts & Crafts and Prairie styles. At the sawmill, the log will get split into four quarters, hence the name 'quartersawn', then cut on the diagonal from the center of the tree out toward the edges. The unique thing about oak is that it has very strong, well defined ‘Medullary Rays’ running from the center of the tree outward. If you look closely at the end of a sawn oak board you can easily pick out the rays. They look like fine, straight lines spreading out from the center of the tree, perpendicular to the grain of the wood.

Quartersawing places these rays on the face of the board, revealing the distinctive stripe or 'ray fleck' running across the grain that is the signature of quartersawn oak. According to Gustav Stickley "The quartersawing method of cutting...renders quartersawn oak structurally stronger, also finer in grain, and, as shown before, less liable to warp and check than when sawn in any other way."

Quartersawing fell out of favor in the first half of this century because it yields less lumber per tree and takes more labor than plainsawing. Because almost all oak furniture today is plainsawn, we associate the quartersawn figure with prized period pieces. Therefore, this unique figure is an important ingredient in accurately recreating the look of turn-of-the-century furniture.

Red Oak and White Oak can be both quartersawn. Each specie has it’s own unique ray flecking due to the slight difference in the medullary rays.

For the specific properties of the lumber, please refer to the Red Oak lumber page or the White Oak lumber page.

For an informative article on the Quartersawn Process click HERE.

Mechanical Properties



Please refer to the Red Oak and White Oak Pages



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