Understanding Saw Cuts

Understanding the Cuts: PART 1

There are three main ways to saw a log. Plainsawn, Quartersawn, or Cathedral Cut (a.k.a. Livesawn, European Cut, French Cut). These sawing methods can be applied to any species.

Plainsawn is the most popular because it is the most efficient and allows the lumber mill to saw for grade.

Understanding the Cuts: PART 2

Quartersawing is a method most popular with White Oak, but can be done to any species.

Wood expands and contracts mostly with the direction of the annual rings when exposed to moisture content change. Sawing lumber for vertical grain cuts your side movement almost in half. Better dimensional stability is the key benefit to this style of sawing.

The process is slow, tedious, and has more yield loss than seen in plainsawn lumber, hence the higher price.

Understanding the Cuts: PART 3

Cathedral Cut has many names; Livesawn, European Cut, French Cut. They generally mean the same thing. Most homeowners looking for European Oak are typically referring to the cut, not actually oak from Europe.

This is one of the oldest methods of sawing and these types of floors are seen across Europe in grand structures like cathedrals and castles. This history gives this cut a level of grandeur that many homeowners are drawn to.

Muscanell Millworks lengths are unique in that Cathedral Cut White Oak will be 2′-10′ with possible lengths up to 12′. The average length will be 6′-7′.

Understanding the Cuts: PART 4 OF 4

Three different cuts for three different reasons. Shown in the pictures below are all white oak.

Plainsawn: Least amount of yield loss. Lowest price. Allows mill to saw for grade.

Quartersawn: Vertical grain resulting in lineal, straight grain floor. Can show medullary flecking/ray flecking. About twice as moisture stable compared to plainsawn.

Cathedral Cut: Consistent grain pattern (quarter/plain/quarter). Long lengths. Wide widths. Pronounced character. History of prestige.