Quarter Sawn Oak: A Process Worth The Price

Over the past month or so, we have explored the many different types of wood that furniture makers, designers, and consumers use to produce and purchase beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces.  There is a comfort to wood furniture that transcends generations.  It can be a nod to the past, and it can also be the wave of the future.  It can fill a traditional aesthetic just as easily as it can fit into a modern design.

There are many attributes that make wood unique. The variations in color, grain pattern, density, and durability, are a few things to consider when shopping for wood furniture.  But what can really make a difference when choosing wood furniture is the way that it is harvested and the way that it is constructed.  That’s why this week we want to look at quarter sawn oak.  The process and end result is something special.  Although this technique may come with a bigger price tag, it may just be worth it.

What is quarter sawn oak?

The most basic way to explain this process is that the oak log is cut, then it is turned and cut again.  This gives it a distinct grain pattern that showcases the variety of light and dark color patterns along with unique flecks that produce a wavy grain pattern.

Why is quarter sawn a popular choice in the world of wood?

A wood aficionado would gravitate toward quarter sawn wood for the same reasons that a novice would: the beautiful grain pattern.  This is why we all love wood furniture.  No two trees are the same, therefore each piece of wood furniture has its own design.  Utilizing the quarter sawn method enhances this even further.  Additionally, quarter sawn wood is some of the most durable and stable lumber choice you can find.  It is easy to work with and produces almost no twisting, warping, or cupping.

Is quarter sawn wood more expensive?

As with anything in life, quality comes with a cost.  Quarter sawn wood is often more expensive than other types of common lumber because it is more labor intensive to produce.  As we mentioned, this unique process of turning the wood creates a certain effect.  This is achieved by using equipment at the sawmill to turn and cut at quarterly angles (hence the name quarter sawn).  Not every sawmill offers this technique which can lead to a limited supply, therefore a higher price.

What is quarter sawn oak used for?

We often see quarter sawn oak used in the construction of Mission style furniture.  Since the wood has such a beautiful grain pattern and is also easy to use and durable, it is used for many types of cabinetry, flooring, and custom craft furniture.  Other woods that also use the quarter sawn method are maple, walnut, and cherry.


In a world where you can buy furniture with the click of a button, we can see big differences in pricing of wood furniture.  You may wonder why you would pay more for quarter sawn oak furniture if you can find something cheaper.  Rest assured that if you purchase furniture constructed with this wood type, you have made a solid investment and now own a beautiful and unique piece that will last you a lifetime.