Rift and Quartersawn White Oak: It’s a Grain Thing

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Rift & quartersawn white oak flooring from Carlisle
This Long Island, New York, home selected 10″ wide Rift & Quartersawn White Oak with one of our custom stains to create this stunning effect.

White oak is a very unique wood since its grain lends itself to a variety of different looks, depending on how it is sawn.

Normally, a log is “plain sawn,” that is, it is first cut into a rough square by taking off four sections of the outer bark and sapwood and then sawn with a series of parallel cuts — as if a loaf of bread were cut lengthwise to yield long slices. Grain-wise, this typically gives a floor a little bit of everything: straight lines as well as a variety of swirls and “cathedral patterns” — several swirls inside one another. This is the way most floors are cut.

Quartersawn and rift-sawn cuts generally only apply to oak and a few other hardwoods. They are made by first cutting the log into four pie-shaped wedges and then making a series of cuts that are more or less perpendicular to the tree rings, which produces straighter grain. Without getting too technical, let’s just say that quarter sawn White Oak produces more “rays” or “flecks” in the grain pattern, which is the hallmark look of mission furniture/cabinetry. Rift-sawn, on the other hand, produces few flecks but rather an amazingly straight grain pattern that has a beauty all its own radiating elegance and traditional beauty.

Rift & quartersawn white oak flooring from a dark stain from Carlisle
Another Long Island residence features a beautiful mixture of wide Rift & Quartersawn White Oak topped with one of our signature stains.


Both of these grain patterns produce extremely stable boards. Various stains can then be used further enhancing the grain or make it more subtle as seen in these two Long Island NY projects.

Notice how the wide boards and long lengths in these two Rift & Quartersawn White Oak hardwood floors minimize the number of butt joints and seams elevating the luxurious feel of the home.  This beautifully illustrates how a Carlisle wide plank floor can reduce the number of seams by 80% compared to a standard wood floor.

To see more options of this cherished hardwood, check out our Elegant and Manhattan Collections which offer on-trend colors and finishes on Rift & Quartersawn White Oak.

Still not what you are looking for?   Call us and talk with our experienced specialists.  They have the expertise to customize this much sought after hardwood in more ways than we can count.

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