Quarter Sawn White Oak
is a very popular wood type for Amish furniture—but why is that, and how’s it different than traditional Oak wood
? Let’s take a look, in this Quarter Sawn White Oak video.
What You Need to Know About Quarter Sawn White Oak Wood
Quarter Sawn White Oak, also referred to as “Quarter Sawn,” is a popular type of lumber for furniture—particularly Mission style furniture. But how’s it different from traditional oak wood?
Oak Wood vs. Quarter Sawn White Oak Wood
Cutting Plain Sawn Lumber vs. Quarter Sawn
Whereas traditional oak lumber—also known as plain sawn—is cut from the log in a traditional method, to produce Quarter Sawn, they start by quartering the log. Then, it’s turned and cut again into planks. With just a few creative cuts of the log, oak is transformed with a unique, wavy, speckled grain pattern.
Comparing Grain Patterns of Oak and Quarter Sawn
Oak’s typical grain, with its long loops, is distinctive and traditional. Quarter Sawn maintains oak’s character and rough grain while displaying unpredictable patterns of tight waves and ripples. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind look.
Advantages of Quarter Sawn lumber
But the difference is more than aesthetic: Quarter sawing produces a strong and stable lumber that is more resistant to cupping, warping, and moisture than traditional oak. In fact, Quarter Sawn rates as significantly harder than straight sawn oak in the Janka hardness test.
Are Hardwoods Better than Softwoods?
Wood hardness is important, but perhaps not in the ways you think. Both hardwoods and softwoods can split and crack if they are not cared for properly, so hardness doesn’t have a major impact on its likelihood of breaking. However, the primary advantages of hardwoods over softwoods are that hardwoods are less likely to dent and that fasteners like nails and screws will stay tight longer. Nails in softwoods, like Pine, will likely work their way loose over time and dent with use.
Straight Sawn Oak and Quarter Sawn are both hardwoods, but Quarter Sawn is even harder. This means it is more likely to withstand writing on a desktop or accidental drops on a tabletop without taking dents and nicks as often as traditional oak.
Solid Wood vs. Manufactured Wood Furniture
All solid wood furniture has a natural woodgrain that is incredibly strong, which is why it’s been used for thousands of years as a construction material. In recent years, Americans started using “manufactured wood” for furniture: typically just woodchips and sawdust glued together into planks. These simply can’t replicate wood’s quality and durability. So, any solid wood is better than the average manufactured wood product.
Best Uses for Quarter Sawn White Oak Wood
This dynamic wood is a great choice for any furniture that sees heavy use, from dining to living room to bedroom furniture. You’ll most often see a medium to dark stain on Quarter Sawn White Oak wood, which gives it a distinctive Mission style look!
Mission Style Furniture
Mission style is defined by a few characteristics:
- Square, vertical wooden slats
- Visible mortise-and-tenon accents at the joints
- Square cuts and flat surfaces with very few curves
- Textured, visible woodgrain—typically Oak or Quarter Sawn White Oak wood
Due to this lumber’s limited availability and the added work required to produce it, Quarter Sawn is a more expensive wood type than traditional oak. In 2020 and 2021, all Oak wood and many other wood types experienced an unprecedented increase in lumber cost
as a result of the COVID pandemic.
Summary of Quarter Sawn White Oak
If strength and durability are your top priorities…or if you embrace mission style design and this unique grain pattern provides the look you love, Quarter Sawn is a great choice for your furniture. So, is Quarter Sawn the right choice for you?