While investing in such a significant part of your space, there are several factors to consider that will contribute to the cost, quality and appearance of your floors. Some of these factors aren’t as apparent as the width and length of your plank.

Have you ever noticed a floor that you loved but didn’t particularly know why? Chances are its due to the specific cut of the wood that was used. There are many ways to divide a log into planks and while you are weighing your options, you’ll encounter them all. The key is to know what you’re looking at, what you’re looking for- and most importantly what you want. Knowing the common methods and terms used to manufacture these various cuts are important as well. The technique used to cut will give the finished product a specific character, and affect the overall appearance of your floors. Below you’ll find the three main cuts that transform logs into lumber.

Live sawn milling is the most efficient way to cut a log into planks. A slicing method is used, beginning at the top of the log and working its way down. The cut goes across the length of the entire log. This particular technique has hardly any waste and showcases a blend of all cuts.

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Quarter sawn milling is more expensive than live sawn. The log is first divided into lengthwise ‘quarter’ slices, and then each individual quarter is divided up into individual planks. This method produces more waste than the live sawn method. It is desirable due to its dramatic grain patterns and ‘flecking’ in oak species. This pattern is sought out not only in wood floors but high-end furniture as well.

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Rift Sawn milling is the most wasteful, and most expensive technique. The cuts of each plank are milled perpendicular to the logs’ growth rings, ideally at 45-degree angles. This process showcases a predominantly straight grain pattern with no flecking. They are commonly milled as a compliment to quarter sawn planks.

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Now that you have a better understanding of the various terms and techniques manufacturers use when transforming logs into lumber, you’ll be able to take everything into consideration when shopping for your forever floor. Along with length, width and overall color tone of your floors- the cut of the plank plays a large role in the overall appearance of your floors.

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