Rift and Quartered grain is produced through a specific milling technique that differs from the more common, plain sawn style. Logs are cut with the grains intersecting the face of the board at an approximate 60-degree angle. The log is sawn into four quarters and each quarter of the log is sawn perpendicular to the growth rings at an angle, therefore being called rift and quartered. This produces the traditional long-lined grain that rift and quartered is recognized for.
Another distinct attribute of rift and quartered hardwood is the presentation of medullary rays. Medullary rays are cellular structures located in timbers, consisting of small capillaries inside wood that run from the center of the tree to the outer growth ring. When quarter sawn, they produce a wavy, ribbon-like effect in the board known as "flecking". Hardwood only has a straight grain with flecking when sawn into four quarters and cut at a 60-degree angle. Essentially, only rift and quartered grain can have a straight grain with flecking because of the way it's milled.
Numerous timber species can be cut in a rift and quartered grain; it is often understood to be more secure with less expansion and contraction caused by changes in temperature and humidity. Making it more preferable and usable in a broader range of applications. Rift and quartered grain is most common with White Oak.
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