What is Rift Sawn and/or Quarter Sawn?

Rift and quarter sawing are methods of sawmilling logs designed to yield boards with a specific grain orientation. The grain orientation is best viewed from the butt ends of the boards and is defined as the angle at which the growth rings intersect the face of the board. Between 30 and 60 degrees is defined as Rift Sawn and between 45 and 90 degrees is Quarter Sawn. These angles could change across the width and along the length of the board, but, as long as the majority of the board conforms, it is considered in compliance. The resulting appearance is reasonably uniform and predominately straight parallel lines running the length of each plank and as the grain approaches 90 degrees, a “figure” can appear. While most woods do not exhibit a particular figure, both Red and White Oak can display an impressive array of iridescent flecks and flashes when the grain approaches 90 degrees.