Quartersawn wood for pens

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Dehn0045

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I've been pondering this for a while, did some searching and couldn't find what I was looking for. My hypothesis is that for pen blanks there is no fundamental difference between quartersawn wood and flat sawn. The only differences that I can come up with are: quartersawn wood is probably cut from larger trees which may result in tighter figure; and a quartersawn blank will have two sides showing the quartersawn figure (but once turned round both will be the same). What am I missing?
 
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Marcros

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for a spindle blank there is no difference. You will have 2 flat sawn and 2 quarter sawn faces, which blend into one when turned.

Of course, you may start with 4 faces that are neither quartered or flat to start, but you will end up with the same thing nevertheless.
 

Edgar

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It may not make much difference in small spindle work for many woods, but in my experience (limited as it is), some woods (sycamore & oak in particular) look much different when a pen is made from quarter sawn vs flat sawn wood.
 

Marcros

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It may not make much difference in small spindle work for many woods, but in my experience (limited as it is), some woods (sycamore & oak in particular) look much different when a pen is made from quarter sawn vs flat sawn wood.
I don't understand how you mean- part of that pen would be qs, the other part flat sawn.

the best picture that I can find is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rift_sawing#/media/File:AWI_Lumber_Cuts.svg. the tree represents the pen blank, when rounded. at 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock you get the qs features, at 12 and 6 the flat sawn features.
 

Dehn0045

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It may not make much difference in small spindle work for many woods, but in my experience (limited as it is), some woods (sycamore & oak in particular) look much different when a pen is made from quarter sawn vs flat sawn wood.
This article (https://www.popularwoodworking.com/techniques/great-wood-quartersawn-sycamore) mentions that flat sawn sycamore is difficult to dry without defects, whereas quarter sawn is much easier to dry. I wonder if this might contribute to the difference between the two?
 

Maverick KB

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It won't make much difference once turned unless you've got a cross cut blank. Pay attention to the growth rings in any blank and you'll get very similar results from both.

If you're turning something like a bowl on the other hand, it makes a big difference.


http://shedlifellc.com/
 

Sylvanite

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The difference between quartersawn and plainsawn lumber

Quartersawn:
The term "quartersawn" originated from the miliing practice of initially cutting a squared tree bole through the pith at right angles, resulting in four "quarters". Each of these quarters was then turned and cut so that the wide side of the resulting board showed straight grain. The piece would be turned for each (or every few) subsequent cut(s).

Boards with straight grain on the wide side are desirable primarily because they are stronger, but also because they cup less when drying.

Plainsawn:
The term "plainsawn" refers to the milling practice of cutting the squared bole repeatedly without turning it. This is quicker (and therefore less expensive) than quartersawing and also yields wider boards. Boards cut from the middle of the bole show grain like quartersawn lumber. Boards cut from the sides have face grain on the wide side.

Boards with face grain on the wide side are desirable for drawer fronts, cabinets, and other furnishings where the appearance is more important than strength.

In common usage, the terms "quartersawn" and "plainsawn" are used to describe the grain orientation of an individual board, regardless of how it was actually milled. For square stock, such as pen and bowl blanks, there is no wide side, and therefore no difference whatsoever between quartersawn and plainsawn.

I hope that helps,
Eric
 
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