About Our Quarter-Sawn Flooring
Most hardwood flooring has a wide range of grain angles extending from 0 to 90 degrees. This produces wide variation in quality and in grain pattern. "Quarter-sawing" is considered the best hardwood flooring, and generally refers to wood that ranges in grain angle from 60 to 90 degrees. Our product is the best of the best, with grain angle at the very high end – from 80 to 90 degrees. By having the grain running perpendicular to the surface of the flooring we achieve a tighter grain pattern that has the added feature of being "ray-flecked". While far more time intensive, this method produces flooring that cuts across the wood's ray cells yielding the spectacularly iridescent and shimmering "flake figure" best described by the word chatoyance — the property of changing in luster or color like a cat’s eye. Others have described this luxurious pattern as one that presents subtly varying color in much the same way that fine silk's color varies depending on your angle of observation.
This flooring is superior in other ways as well. By having such a high grain angle, the usual expansion and contraction that hardwood floors experience with changes in humidity are kept to an absolute minimum because the expansion of the flooring is up and down rather than side to side, virtually eliminating cupping or enlarged gaps between planks. Also, because of this reduced expansion we can offer wider 4-6" planks.
Just as no book or print can fully reproduce the feeling one gets standing before a great original painting, no photograph can capture the visual quality of this flooring. Our Quarter-Sawn Flooring has to be seen to be fully appreciated.
In addition, we have rigorous quality control standards, eliminating knots and imperfections with detailed hand inspection of every board. Every step from choosing the logs through final delivery of the tongue and groove planks is focused on maximizing the outstanding quality of our final product.
Quarter-Sawn Flooring was founded by Kent MacPherson, a flooring craftsman who has won a national "Floor of the Year" award and produced a wide variety of noteworthy installations in connection with his other company, Flame Figured Woods.
Hardwood Flooring with a Minimum of Shrinkage and a Maximum of Fine Grain
Wood shrinks when it gets drier, and expands when it gets wetter. On average, wood shrinks twice as much “across the grain” as it does “through the grain”. This fact has a considerable impact on flooring. Let's define “flat-sawn” and “quarter-sawn” grain in a board. A flat-sawn board is sawn off the outside of a log, and the tree's growth rings run along the width of the board. A flat-sawn board shrinks and expands mostly across its width, which can cause gaps and buckling in a finished floor during seasonal changes in humidity. For this reason, floorboards are typically narrow (2-4” in width) to minimize the gaps that occur during these seasonal changes. A quarter-sawn board is oriented from the center of the log out to the outside edge. The tree's growth rings pass through a quarter-sawn board from the face to the bottom of the board, and consequently a quarter-sawn board expands and shrinks mostly across its thickness. Therefore, a floor made of quarter-sawn boards shrinks and expands significantly less across its width, making a much more stable floor.
Quarter-Sawn and Perfect Quarter-Sawn
There's a difference between our propriatary sawmilling method known as "perfect quarter-sawn" and the industry standard "quarter-sawn".
Quarter-Sawn refers to the direction of the grain in a board as viewed from the end of the board. "Flat Sawn" refers to the angle of the grain as it is related to the surface of the board. Flat-Sawn's angle of grain is 0-30 degrees (or flat with the surface of the board). Rift-Sawn angle of grain is 30-60 degrees and Quarter-Sawn's angle of grain is 60-90 degrees to the face of the board (vertical grain).
Here is how these numbers are important, wood shrinks and expands twice as much with the grain as it does across the grain. Therefor a Quarter-Sawn board used as flooring shrinks and expands seasonally in thinkness (up and down) more than it does across the board (across the floor) which could cause gaps and buckleing. So a "Quarter- Sawn" floor is a more stable floor. OK, now the industry has a set of rules for what wood is allowed in a "quarter-sawn" mix. NOFMA (National Oak Flooring Manufacturers Association) sets the rules. They say that in a "quarter-sawn" selection, that most of the boards have a grain direction of 60-90 degrees yet some boards may slip through with grain angles as low as 45 degrees. As you can see from the "flash video" above, our boards are sawn radially out of a log resulting in a near vertical grain direction which we guarantee is 80-90 degrees. The resulting floor is significantly superior to a standard "quarter-sawn" board in the following ways: First, our boards shrink and expand less across the face of the board due to the higher angle of grain direction. Secondly, the grain (lines) on the face of a board are closer together (tighter grain) thus a more pleasing visual experiance and Thirdly, the grain line itself is slightly harder than the surrounding "early wood" and so a vertical grain board has a slightly harder surface.
Kent MacPherson has been producing fine wood flooring for over 15 years.
“A quarter-sawn board is special.
Dimensionally more stable than a board sawn any other way, it won’t cup as it dries, and as the seasons change, it won't move very much in width. This stability makes quarter-sawn boards ideal for drawer slides, tabletops, frame rails and stiles – wherever cross-grain movement or cupping could be a problem.
Because their surfaces wear more evenly than those of plain-sawn, or flat-sawn boards, quarter-sawn boards are often used for flooring . When quarter-sawn, some hardwood species, such as the oaks, also reveal spectacular, shimmering flake figures scattered across the grain.”