Understanding hardwood flooring: saw cut methods
To the uninitiated, hardwood flooring simply consists of planks cut from a tree. The popular conception of lumber is that it is all cut in basically the same way. This does not match reality, however. In actual fact, there are three main ways in which timber for hardwood flooring may be cut. Planks may be riftsawn, quartersawn or plainsawn – terms that the average hardwood flooring customer has probably never heard before.
Plainsawing is the most popular technique, in part because it possesses efficiencies missing from the other methods. When lumber is plainsawn, the first cut of the saw is applied at an angle to intersect the length of the log. All subsequent cuts are made parallel to the original one. This method is efficient because it minimises the amount of the log that will be wasted; in addition, it creates the widest possible boards from any given log.
Plainsawing a log will produce planks with a flat grain pattern. This tends to produce a high degree of variability in the grain from one plank to the next. Plainsawing, however, does have some disadvantages. Floorboards produced in this way will exhibit less dimensional stability than lumber that is quartersawn instead. This means that the planks that make up the floor will be subject to more expansion and contraction due to weather or humidity conditions than is typical for quartersawn wood.
The average hardwood floor is made from plainsawed lumber. Like all hardwood floors, it will need periodic attention from a wood floor repair firm.