Woodworking Tips
Woodworking Tips Index
Lumber Grain, Part 2
Last week, we started a three-week look at different ways lumber is cut and sold at a lumber yard, and why you should care. I talked about flatsawn lumber, identified by growth rings (in the end grain) that are 30 degrees or less to the face of the board.

It's the most common type of lumber because it yields the most boards per log, and so the least expensive to buy. But they are the boards with the wildest grain, and the ones most likely to cup and warp.

Today, lets look at riftsawn lumber. When I'm looking for more attractive boards than flatsawn, I look for riftsawn.

In this case, the growth rings (in the end grain) are greater than 30 degrees, but less than 60 degrees to the face of the board. Riftsawn lumber generally has straighter, clearer grain than flatsawn lumber.

Usually riftsawn lumber is mixed right in the same stack as the flatsawn. In fact, many boards in a flatsawn stack will have both riftsawn and flatsawn grain. When a single board has both types of grain, what you actually see on the face of the board is wild grain running alongside nearly straight, clear grain.

Another reason to look for riftsawn wood is for its stability -- it's more dimensionally stable and less likely to warp or cup than flatsawn lumber.

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