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Thread: Flatsawn vs Quartersawn Lumber - Which is preferred?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario
    Posts
    2

    Default Flatsawn vs Quartersawn Lumber - Which is preferred?

    I am making a sign approximately 36X27 inches in size using 2 inch western red cedar . I will be gluing three pieces of 2X10 inch lumber together to create the panel. There is no 3D image going on this sign, however there is a lot of raised lettering and trees with some v-carved sections etc. with larger pocketed areas. There is also a border around the perimeter of the sign that I plan to v-carve using the 60 degree bit.

    I have two options for wood, one board is flatsawn while the other is more like quartersawn. The quartersawn piece would be preferred because it is more clear (no knots) and has a nice darker red colouring however I want to used the wood that will produce the best finish without a lot of fuzz/sanding if possible.

    Can anyone comment on which piece would yield the best result? Any general comments about carving on flatsawn vs quartersawn wood wood also be helpful.

    For future reference, if there were a 3d image to be carved, any recommended settings for the router e.g. rpm and Aspire settings that would be best re. rastering angle wood also be appreciated?

    Thanks in advance for any advice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Diamond Lake, WA
    Posts
    1,665

    Default

    Quartersawn is more stable then flatsawn because of the grain direction. Cedar is going to be fuzzy no matter what grain you have. Most soft woods cut/carve/engrave with fuzzies. Just the nature of the wood. I've tried super sharp, brand new bits and get the fuzzies. Most of your hardwoods (maple, oak, cherry, etc.) cut/carve/engrave pretty clean, much cleaner then soft woods. The only thing I've found that helps a little bit with softwood fuzzies is higher spindle RPM and slower feed rate. The down side of this approach is it dulls your bits faster. Always trade-offs.
    Don
    Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks, LLC
    www.dlwoodworks.com
    ***********************************
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well preserved piece; But to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, bank accounts empty, credit cards maxed out, defiantly shouting "Geronimo"!

    If you make something idiot proof, all they do is create a better idiot.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Thorp, WI
    Posts
    2,732

    Default

    Quartersawn and tighter growth rings will be more stable and cut cleaner. Flatsawn, especially if you glue up the full width of the 10" will guarantee that your panel will cup, even if you alternate growth rings in the glue up. If you see wide growth rings, you'll get more tearout/fuzzies (soft wood between rings). If you have no choice but to glue up the 2x10's, rip them into three strips and then do your glue up, but try to not put the same three back together and if possible, try to alternate growth rings.

    I recently had a customer, have sent to me, three "butcher block" type glued up 28"x28"x1.5" blanks and they were very stable and cut the cleanest that I have ever seen. Granted, they were of premium tight grain WRC from Perfect Plank in California, but they cut great and stayed flat even after v-carving out three 0.5" deep pockets! Downside is that the color/grain appearance can be rather busy. Butcher block glue up is ripping the boards the width of your desired thickness, plus some for surfacing, and flipping them on edge to glue up.
    .

    "He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security" - Benjamin Franklin
    "Make yourself sheep and the wolves will eat you" - Benjamin Franklin




  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario
    Posts
    2

    Default

    Thank you both for your prompt feedback. I will go with the quartersawn board since it seems I should get the best result.

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