Flat Sawn vs. Quarter Sawn Lumber

Before hardwood products ever make it to your deck, house or boat, a decision must first be made on how to cut the lumber. There are three ways that the lumber can be cut: flat sawn, rift sawn, and quater sawn.

Flat Sawn Rift Sawn Quarter Sawn Lumber Illustrations

Flat Sawn  |  Rift Sawn  |  Quarter Sawn

Each method makes a difference in the appearance of the wood grain and its durability. For this article, we’re going to focus on the flat sawn and quarter sawn techniques (since they are more common). Here are the basics of the flat sawn and quarter sawn methods to help you make a decision on which is the best for you.

flat sawn ipe deckingFlat Sawn Ipe Decking

Flat Sawn

This is the most common method, also known as plain sawn. This method has minimal waste and also showcases a “cathedral” look of annual rings. This look is the result of the annular rings being 45 degrees or less to the face of the board (known as tangential grain).

Flat sawn lumber is the most inexpensive option because it is the easiest to obtain. Generally 60-70% of the lumber from a log is flat sawn. The rest is quarter sawn or somewhere in between. This makes flat sawn more widely available and therefore cheaper. Logs can be cut to produce more quarter sawn but the yield from the log is lower and therefore more expensive. 

Overall, the flat sawn boards are popular for a reason — they are easy to come across and are more cost-effective than other cuts. If you’re looking for a solid cut that won’t go over-budget, you can’t go wrong by choosing the flat sawn method.

 

quarter sawn teak deckingQuarter Sawn Teak Decking

Quarter Sawn

The quarter sawn method is a little bit more costly. However, it’s also more dimensionally stable than the flat sawn boards. Just as the name suggests, quarter sawn lumber is cut into four quarters and then cut using the plain sawn method. The process overall is more time intensive, but it creates a unique pattern that stands out against the plain sawn lumber.

While quarter sawn boards are more expensive, they are going to hold paint better and wear more evenly on the surface. In addition, when it comes to abosorbing moisture, quarter sawn boards expand more in thickness than flat sawn boards. This causes the boards to be more stable than flat sawn boards (which expand more in width when abosrbing moisture).

Quarter sawn lumber is a little harder to find, but it’s worth it if you’re willing to spend a little more money on a more stable board that boasts unique designs.

What should you choose?

There are many factors to consider when choosing a cut for your hardwood. If you’re more concerned about budget and availability, plain sawn lumber will be the best choice. However, if you want a board that will withstand more moisture and has a more interesting design, you will want to consider the quarter sawn lumber. We suggest visiting your nearest hardwood distributor and seeing the boards for yourself before you make a decision.

Have any more questions about flat sawn vs. quarter sawn lumber? Give us a call at 1-800-999-7616.

Posted in Teak, Ipe, Marine, Teak Decking, Hardwood Decking, Siding & Soffits, Millwork, Outdoor Living, Technical Data | Leave a comment

Plantation Teak Vs. Burmese Teak

When one lists the attributes of Teak, it almost seems too good to be true. Teak naturally resists rot, insects, and decay; doesn’t corrode when in contact with steel; has a beautiful, tight grain and weathers to a regal silver; is naturally non-skid; and is highly stable and easy to mill. It’s even been nicknamed “The King of Hardwoods.”

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Burmese Teak is selectively harvested from well-managed forests in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), and these trees supply some of the most stable, durable lumber in the world. Decades ago, there was a time when many countries refused to source from Myanmar due to political and humanitarian issues. During that time, Teak plantations in other countries began to crop up, and as demand for Teak increased “plantation Teak” (Tectona grandis) was grown in areas as widely varying as Costa Rica, Indonesia, and Mexico.

Unfortunately, the soil chemistry in these non-native locations is different enough from Myanmar’s soil that plantation Teak is inferior. The high silica content in Myanmar’s soil contributes to the water- and weather-resistance of the wood, so the soil chemistry and climate variations in other parts of the world result in a much less consistent color and grain. The color of plantation Teak is less lustrous and is slightly lighter in tone. As an interesting side note, the high silica content of the soil in Myanmar also contributes to the species’ non-skid texture.

Aside from soil chemistry, plantation Teak differs in another major way. Burmese Teak is extremely stable and durable. Plantation Teak, on the other hand, is more rapidly grown and harvested. This fast growth and harvest rate results in a lesser quality and may affect the denisty of the wood. Boards from plantation Teak are more likely to crack and warp as a result of the fast growth. These plantation trees have a larger percentage of lower branches, which, despite pruning, causes pin knots which create greater defects and slope of grain issues resulting in less stability. Plantation Teak requires more maintenance to make up for these deficiencies.

Because responsible harvesting practices are so important to us at OHC, we vet all of our sourcing mills/partners to ensure that harvesting, processing, manufacturing, and shipping meets and exceeds local, state, federal, and international regulations. We’ve toured mills across Myanmar to find the right suppliers to produce well manufacrtured Burmese Teak with the best quality, grain, and size selction for 

Thanks to Half A CenTury of importing international hardwoods, we have the knowledge and skills to source only the highest quality, responsibly sourced, 100% Burmese Mountain Teak available.

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Spring Boat Commissioning Checklist

Flowers are blooming, temperatures are rising, and you’re starting to imagine yourself out on the water with the wind in your hair and a light spray of water across your face. The only thing between you and your dreams is commissioning your boat for spring!

boat and yacht commissioning

Here are some important areas to check to get your boat ready for the season:

Engine

This is a great place to start, as it will take the most time and create the biggest mess. If you didn’t change the oil before winterizing your boat, do so now. This will eliminate water and acid buildup, as well as preventing corrosion, poor fuel economy, and engine failure. While you’re changing the oil, replace the oil filter as well. Flush the cooling system and replace antifreeze with a 50/50 ratio of water to coolant. Replace seawater pump impellers on main engines and generators. Check all fluids and even lights. Install fresh spark plugs. Reconnect fuel lines and tighten or replace hose clamps if needed. Replace the batteries and perform an engine test.

Canvas and Vinyl

Check all vinyl and canvas items, including bimini top, seats, and covers for tears, dirt, and mildew. Repair any tears or holes and clean with an appropriate cleaner.

Hull

Inspect the hull for blisters or cracks, as well as chalky residue. Repair any blisters or cracks. The gelcoat on the exterior repels water and keeps the outer surface looking smooth. If you discover a chalky residue, it likely means oxidation is present. If only light oxidation is discovered (the finish will look mostly shiny with a few dull patches), then an oxidation removal compound may be applied and will restore the shine. For more severe oxidation, buffing and/or sanding will be required and professional intervention may be necessary. Once the gelcoat is restored, keep it cleaned and polished throughout the boating season using proper cleaning agents and polishes. Clean the rest of the exterior using a marine-safe cleaner. Apply a fresh coat of wax to the hull.

Brightwork

The metal and wood components, known as brightwork, bring beauty and personality to your boat. These parts need to be cared for to prevent pitting and degradation. To care for the metal, use a specialized metal polisher. For Teak or Meranti, it’s best to lightly sand and then apply stain and varnish. Four coats of varnish are the minimum for UV protection, but eight to twelve coats offer superior protection and less maintenance over time.

Electronics & Interior

Test all electronics, including radio, GPS, depth finder, compass, and any other marine electronics. This way you won’t be caught off guard on the water if you discover an electronic component isn’t working properly. Clean the interior thoroughly to remove dirt and debris. Dirt and debris invite moisture and moisture brings rot.

Boat Trailer

An often-neglected part of boating, you will increase the life of your boat trailer with a little care taken every year. Prevent rust by keeping it painted, repairing dings and nicks, and rinsing off salt water with fresh water. Check the winch straps and chains for wear, and lubricate winch if necessary. Check the bearings, light bulbs, tire pressure, and the license plate. Getting a ticket for an expired license plate is not the way to start off boating season!

Safety Gear

It can be easy to overlook this important component, but it’s essential to have all signaling devices, hand pumps, life preservers, first aid supplies, and fire extinguishers in good, working condition. Check expiration dates on anything with time-sensitive components.

Taking the time to adequately prepare for boating season will pay off in the long run with fewer repairs and hassles, ultimately giving you more time to enjoy your boat.

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Why is Teak so Expensive?

The word “Teak” is synonymous with quality outdoor furniture, decking, and prestigious yachts. But as anyone who’s purchased Teak knows, that quality comes at a cost.

teak-on-yacht

The basic law of supply and demand dictates much of this high cost.

Teak is in high demand because of its properties. It is durable; water-, pest- and rot-resistant; has only minor shrinkage; doesn’t corrode with steel; and very importantly, has a beautiful look, naturally weathering to a silvery-gray tone.

Teak (Tectona grandis) comes from Myanmar (formerly Burma), a country of 51 million people in Southeast Asia, bordering Bangladesh, India, China, Laos, and Thailand. Myanmar’s forests contain half of the world’s naturally occurring teak. Teak has also been cultivated in other parts of Southeast Asia, but this plantation Teak is generally viewed as inferior to indigenous Burmese Teak.

Several changes in Myanmar have contributed to an increased cost of Teak. For instance, the increase in government regulations have led to a decline in logging. While these measures exist to preserve the ecology of the country, they have caused the price to increase.

There is simply less Teak available.  

Formerly, companies were able to legally export logs, which has now been banned in favor of exporting only processed lumber. Paying more for a more processed product has led to an increased cost. It’s also difficult to obtain teak logs from the forest. OHC’s Teak is logged using ancient, traditional methods which are less disruptive to the forest than a skidder..

Another factor affecting the cost of Teak is civil unrest in Myanmar. Unfortunately Myanmar has had one of the longest-running civil wars in history. This unrest made it difficult and costly to do business there. While the dictatorship officially ended in 2011, many current political players are former military officers. Even so, the political situation has improved since 2011.

OHC’s Teak is 100% responsibly harvested and our partners in Myanmar participate in reforestation. However, the cost of Teak isn’t going to decrease any time in the near future.

Its limited supply, logging restrictions, and highly desirable quality are reflected in the price, but thankfully that high price is attached to an excellent, long-lasting product.

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