Why is oak the only species that can be purchased as quartersawn?

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Forum topic by Chuck posted 05-29-2010 02:50 AM 2334 views 0 times favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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88 posts in 2622 days

05-29-2010 02:50 AM

I don’t get it. Quartersawn refers to the angle at which the board was sawn out of the tree, right? Is there no such thing as qtrswn cherry? Oh, and while I’m at it, am I just cheap or is wood expensive? Depending on the species and thickness, one could pay anywhere from $4 to $10 per board foot. Your average bookcase would have several hundred dollars of wood in it. Am I alone on this?

-- Chuck, Washington D.C.

29 replies so far

View Chuck 's profile


88 posts in 2622 days

#1 posted 05-29-2010 03:08 AM

But I thought the reason for quartersawn is that its more stable, doesn’t move as much in response to moisture.

-- Chuck, Washington D.C.

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 2999 days

#2 posted 05-29-2010 03:23 AM

Hey Chuck
!/4 swan wood is more stable but in many cases it’s appearance is very special so it’s both. Depending were you are there are many species available in quarter swan.

-- Custom furniture

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


17577 posts in 3098 days

#3 posted 05-29-2010 03:35 AM

Qtr sawn curly maple makes the best looking Kentucky rifle stocks.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View TheWoodsmith's profile


108 posts in 2342 days

#4 posted 05-29-2010 03:46 AM

Oh man, you can get almost anything quartersawn if you go to the right mill, The guy I go to has beech, maple, poplar, white oak, hickory and a few other species on hand all the time, they QS about everything because of the stability benefits.

-- I know its around here somewhere...

View Dark_Lightning's profile


2620 posts in 2531 days

#5 posted 05-29-2010 03:47 AM

“Quarter sawn curly maple” inspires drooling in me. Tiger maple is crazy nice. Now, if I could find quartersawn curly Brazilian rosewood, I would have found my little slice of heaven.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2497 days

#6 posted 05-29-2010 03:58 AM

I’d love to get any Brazilian rosewood since, as I understand it, it is illegal in Brazil to export it. I’ve worked with a lot of different rosewoods but never a Brazilian rosewood.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Ger21's profile


1047 posts in 2553 days

#7 posted 05-29-2010 04:34 AM

Wood is expensive, and get’s more expensive every day. I wish I’d have stocked up 25 years ago when I started woodworking. One way to cut costs is to use veneer, although that’s not exactly cheap either.
If you think $10 is expensive, I’ve seen wood for $20-$30/bd ft.

20 years ago, I built a guitar from a single piece of quilted maple. I paid $75 for it. I saw a similar piece go for $375 on Ebay the other day.

-- Gerry,

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1509 posts in 3547 days

#8 posted 05-29-2010 07:48 AM

So the things I do to work around the price of wood:

1. Use veneers and plywood, with the design such that I’ve got real wood at a reasonable thickness on the edges and for visible structural stuff (like this). Legs happen with real wood, but if I can possibly use plywood for a carcase I will. Of course if I use a really nice plywood, that doesn’t save me too much…

2. Find cool sources for interesting lumber. Watch craigslist materials: I’ve gotten a whole bunch of Massaranduba (among other places, used on the entrance to my house and a lighted glass plate frame) and Ipe from the seconds/scrap pile at a local high end decking place; Peruvian Mahogany as box beams from a remodel re-decided (cost a little extra ‘cause I missed a few nails and dinged a blade when disassembling them, they’re becoming baseboards and cabinet door panels); and a whole bunch of eastern hard maple from a company that makes stamp handles, and they can’t use the lumber at the heart/sap interface, which I think looks more interesting! Join your local woodworking club: Recently one of our club’s meetings was at Luthier’s Mercantile, which got me the opportunity to buy stuff from their rejects bin, which resulted in a whole passel of bookmatches that are a little thin, but will make good door panels or drawer fronts.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View WoodenSoldier's profile


161 posts in 2367 days

#9 posted 05-29-2010 08:11 AM

Again, being stuck on an island is expensive. You guys are complaining about $10 B/F wood! I’d kill to get some that cheap. I bought some plain old walnut last week that was $14 bd ft. Most wood around here is in the $20-30 range.

Moving back to the mainland is going to make buying wood a hell of a lot less painful.

-- Create something everyday.

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 2473 days

#10 posted 05-29-2010 09:29 AM

Hey Captain Wooden Soldier, Sir!

First, bellyaching about island life in Hawai’i? I should live so hard. The solution to your over-priced wood problem may require the services of a Command Seargent Major, but I guarantee you know a good one. Have him lay on a TDY to Kentucky, Tennessee, or North Carolina, or Virginia, whilst fulfilling your duty, scope out the wood scene, buy what you need, and have the CSM secret it with “research material” for the mission, get you on a Herky-Bird or C-17 and back to Oahu. They’ll even supply forklifts, transport, and enlisted help to unload and stash. Be all You Can BE, SON. And sincere thanks for your service. This taxpayer wouldn’t mind a bit if such a mission improved morale and therefore made you a more effective leader-of-men.
Stay safe and healthy. We need guys like you. And Happy Memorial Day.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View WoodenSoldier's profile


161 posts in 2367 days

#11 posted 05-29-2010 10:40 AM

Ha, thanks, Fussy. I did a stint as an executive officer and I had some pretty good connections but unfortunately the Army doesn’t deal much in exotic hardwoods.
The only place it’s harder to find wood is in Iraq!

-- Create something everyday.

View Eagle1's profile


2066 posts in 2487 days

#12 posted 05-29-2010 12:55 PM

If you are buying from the lumber yard it is going to be expensive. If you have mill around you it is alot cheaper. Especially if you can get a good repore going with him.

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

View Brian024's profile


358 posts in 2822 days

#13 posted 05-29-2010 07:04 PM

The place I go has usually has q/s maple, sometimes they have others like cherry but you have to catch it at the right time.

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 2692 days

#14 posted 05-29-2010 07:54 PM

You have to look for good deals mostly – lots of folks clear their land and sell to small millers who will sell the wood for a much better price. Wood is definitely not cheap though. You also need to be stingy on how you cut and configure your projects….Like stated above, use cheap woods for frames and hidden areas. Also, use of vaneers can reduce the costs and spice up a project quite nicely. As for quartersawn, I have seen almost every wood available as quartersawn except, perhaps, some of the more exotic hardwoods that are milled in the jungles or rainforests.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Knothead62's profile


2581 posts in 2383 days

#15 posted 05-30-2010 01:06 AM

WoodenSoldier, how about driftwood on the beach or is it at a premium? Take some leave and go the northwest and stock up. Lots of redwood, I hear. I was always told that the Army regulations book had a soft cover and was very flexible.
I knew a green Beret stationed in Hawaii in the late 60’s. He said it was nice but after two weeks, he wanted to go somewhere where he could climb higher ground and see more land (he was from eastern Kentucky mountains). He also said the Hawaiians went to the mainland for vacations.
BTW, thanks for your service!

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