# Width, Length and other Ambiguities

You mention the different cuts, Karl. When I see them drawn in magazines, I understand the difference among rift-, quarter-, and plain-sawn...but damned if I ever could tell by looking at an actual piece of wood. Maybe it's just that I've only "played at" woodworking off and off for 30 years....
Although....thinking about it, I *do* see that the oak in front of me has those weird spots ("pickling"?) only on the "edge" and when I make banding I prefer to put the "face" out front of the plywood shelf.
john
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For quartersawn look at the end grain. A quartersawn board will have the rings perpendicular to the face or very close to perp. This is where it gets its stability. Even when they just cut up a log willy nilly, some of it will end up QS.
On Mar 24, 3:02 pm, snipped-for-privacy@triton.net wrote:

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On 03/24/2010 04:02 PM, snipped-for-privacy@triton.net wrote:

Look at the end grain and you should be able to clearly see the growth rings. The angle of the growth rings relative to the surface determines whether its quarter or plainsawn. If the ring is less than 45 degrees relative to the face it's plainsawn, more than 45 is quartersawn.
Rift-sawn is sometimes also called bastard-sawn, and means that the rings are 30-60 degrees relative to the face. This can be useful for legs as it means you get similar figure on all four sides.
Chris
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On 3/24/2010 5:23 PM, Chris Friesen wrote:

As in "That bastard sawn my wood rong!" ? :-)
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On 3/24/2010 5:02 PM, snipped-for-privacy@triton.net wrote:

http://community.klipsch.com/forums/storage/88/1036787/sawn_wood.jpg
http://i29.tinypic.com/wla3m.jpg
Those weird spots are medullary rays and characteristic of quarter and rift sawn, particularly noticeable in red and white oak.
You will notice that often plain or flat sawn woods do have a very apparent quarter sawn edge. AAMOF, I often seek these pieces out when I want to show the edge in a drawer/dust divider where the rest of the wood is quarter sawn, as you can see here:
http://www.e-woodshop.net/images/MSB5.JPG
If the wood is thick enough, say 3 or 4", you can actually make a wider quarter sawn board out of it by ripping it to thickness.
If you really have an eye for picking out and buying rough lumber, you can save money by buying rough stock and seeking out a real thick plain or flat sawn board (which are generally cheaper) that exhibits the typical quarter sawn medullary rays on the edge, and then rip it to the appropriate thickness in the shop for some nice quarter sawn boards.
Lots of graphic info here on all the above:
http://tinyurl.com/ykqu527
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