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Rift sawn vs. Quartersawn walnut

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Forum topic by CharlesA posted 11-03-2014 05:32 PM 2544 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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CharlesA

3018 posts in 1258 days


11-03-2014 05:32 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question walnut

I’m considering building this coffee table for someone

The plan calls for rift sawn walnut for the legs (Walnut plywood for the top—huh?). 90% of the info on the web around this concern oak. Around here, QS walnut isn’t easy to come by, but it is possible. I’d have to special order rift sawn. I know a bit about the difference, and why rift sawn is better for this application.

Two questions (feel free to express any thoughts on this):
1) What will be the difference in appearance? Some places I've read that with Walnut, there is no difference in appearance.

2) is there any difference in strength, at least that would concern me?

Thanks, Charles

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson


17 replies so far

View mahdee's profile

mahdee

3548 posts in 1228 days


#1 posted 11-03-2014 06:16 PM

I found this in GI:

Looks like it is more about the stability of the wood than anything else. I don’t think those legs will bend or twist on you regardless of how they are cut.

-- earthartandfoods.com

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CharlesA

3018 posts in 1258 days


#2 posted 11-03-2014 06:23 PM

Thanks, I saw that. Seems like no real diff. If i do it,
I think I’ll go for solid glue-up top.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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mahdee

3548 posts in 1228 days


#3 posted 11-03-2014 06:45 PM

It looks like a floating top table it will be interesting to see how you attach the top.

-- earthartandfoods.com

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bondogaposis

4024 posts in 1812 days


#4 posted 11-03-2014 06:46 PM

If you get rift sawn the the legs will look the same on all sides. Many times 8/4 plain sawn boards will yield rift sawn wood on the edges if you look carefully at the end grain. If you carefully select the right 8/4 board you should get enough rift sawn to make the legs easily without having to go to quarter sawn. If you look at the photograph, yes it’s maple but the principal is the same, you see where I marked a line delineating the rift portion of that plain sawn 8/4 board. You could rip that length off of there and if the board is long enough it could yield 4 rift legs of the coffee table from one cut.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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pintodeluxe

4853 posts in 2274 days


#5 posted 11-03-2014 07:20 PM

It’s always good to make legs from rift sawn stock if you can. End grain is more or less angled to 45 degrees, and it yields straight grained and stable legs. It makes a big difference in the way oak table legs look, but I think walnut looks pretty good any way you slice it.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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joey502

487 posts in 978 days


#6 posted 11-03-2014 07:27 PM

Look up bonesteel sawmill in sellersburg.. They have quartered walnut.

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CharlesA

3018 posts in 1258 days


#7 posted 11-03-2014 07:31 PM

I buy from bonesteel regularly. They do offer QS, just not rift sawn. I just checked the other two sawmills I sometimes use, Bagdad and McInturf, and neither lists any rift sawn lumber.

I’d probably have to request and wait for QS walnut, IIRC.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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CharlesA

3018 posts in 1258 days


#8 posted 11-03-2014 07:35 PM


If you get rift sawn the the legs will look the same on all sides. Many times 8/4 plain sawn boards will yield rift sawn wood on the edges if you look carefully at the end grain. If you carefully select the right 8/4 board you should get enough rift sawn to make the legs easily without having to go to quarter sawn. If you look at the photograph, yes it s maple but the principal is the same, you see where I marked a line delineating the rift portion of that plain sawn 8/4 board. You could rip that length off of there and if the board is long enough it could yield 4 rift legs of the coffee table from one cut.

- bondogaposis


That’s interesting, Bondo. The left portion is the rift, as the grain begins to curve on the right, correct?

What would be the advantage of doing this instead of just using QS—is it that the grain on QS is not the same on all 4 sides?

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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joey502

487 posts in 978 days


#9 posted 11-03-2014 07:46 PM

You may be able to find an 8/4 not called out as rift sawn that has the grain you want.i have had good luck there in the past.

View 12strings's profile

12strings

434 posts in 1845 days


#10 posted 11-03-2014 07:50 PM

On Bondos picture, unless there is some weird computer flipping going on…the right diagonal grain is the rift-saw section…the left is the plain-sawn.

The point is that on prominent grain, like oak, those diagonal rings mean the legs will look similar on all 4 sides.

When speaking of a 4-sided square leg, there is no real difference between quarter-sawn and plain-sawn. If you turn the leg one way, it looks quarter-sawn, and vice versa. 2 of the sides will have lots of tight grain lines, and possible ray flecks…the other 2 sides will have much wider grain patterns.

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!

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CharlesA

3018 posts in 1258 days


#11 posted 11-03-2014 07:52 PM

Gotcha. I clearly wasn’t thinking correctly.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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Tony_S

605 posts in 2543 days


#12 posted 11-04-2014 12:33 AM

For the small quantity you’ll need(if you decide you want to go the ‘rift route’) Bondo’s suggestion is the simplest.
The example he shows (the right hand side) is borderline rift. The growth rings should be anywhere between 30 to 60 degree’s, 45 being optimal for best effect and stability.
For legs that shape and size, using flat sawn wouldn’t be an issue at all regarding stability, but the table design it’s self would be complimented by the rift cut Walnut Imo.

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

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bondogaposis

4024 posts in 1812 days


#13 posted 11-04-2014 01:46 AM

That’s interesting, Bondo. The left portion is the rift, as the grain begins to curve on the right, correct?

No, the right side is rift, diagonal grain.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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Aj2

686 posts in 1258 days


#14 posted 11-04-2014 03:47 AM

I agree with rift sawn is the best looking table leg,With no cathedral grain showing,Quarterd sawn will have cathedral grain on two opposite sides.One more advantage of using rift is sometime you may get lucky and get nice runout in the grain placed correctly at the bottom of the leg can give your table nice movement.
Imagine how the bottom of a tree sweeps out from the trunk.Aj

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Rick M

7907 posts in 1840 days


#15 posted 11-04-2014 04:52 AM


It looks like a floating top table it will be interesting to see how you attach the top.
- mrjinx007

http://odengallery.com/purchasing-gallery/jens-risom-coffee-table/

The stretchers are inset and elevated. Nice looking table.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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