Let’s use White Oak for this demonstration. In addition to the specific features of each wood species, sawing methods can create many different visual effects. The most common methods are plain sawing, quarter sawing, and rift sawing. None of these sawing methods can guarantee the same results on 100% of the boards.
The plain sawing method is the most common. It consists of sawing boards off the log in strips parallel to the pith. These boards are then sawn lengthwise again. Every board sawn this way has a unique appearance. Floors made with plain sawn boards have greater color and pattern variations than floors made with boards sawn using other methods.
As the name implies, the quarter sawing method starts by sawing the log into quarters. Boards are then sawn off the top parts of the faces of each quarter, cutting through the growth rings at about a 90-degree angle. This method usually produces fairly uniform boards with similar grain patterns. These patterns are created by the rings in the oak.
If we continue sawing boards off the faces of the quartered log, we get rift sawn boards, which are differentiated by the fact that the growth rings on the outer edge of the log are different from those nearer the pith. The grain on the top of the board will be linear, while the grain on the ends will be somewhat slanted.