Understanding Quartersawn Figure
After resawing pieces of old, quartersawn oak, I found that some of the boards with rings that were 5º to 10° off perpendicular to the surface showed even better figure than some with fully perpendicular rings. Is there an industry-standard range defining quartersawn? And how important is it to stay within that range when buying oak for its ray-fleck potential?
John Gansauer, Moneta, VA
The National Hardwood Lumber Association defines quartersawn wood as having growth rings that are 60º to 90º to the surface. I use that as a starting point when choosing white oak for my Arts and Crafts chairs, but it’s not the final word.
Think of growth rings as undulating waves running the length of a tree, not as rigidly straight structures. (They’re essentially a history of the stresses put on the tree as it grew, varying in shape and direction as those stresses came and went.) White-oak…