This section is from the book "A Treatise On Architecture And Building Construction Vol2: Masonry. Carpentry. Joinery", by The Colliery Engineer Co. Also available from Amazon: A Treatise On Architecture And Building Construction.
36. In order to obtain as many boards as possible from the tree, which possess the many merits arising from this disposition of the rings on the end section, a method of first cutting the logs into quarters, and then reducing them to the required sizes, is adopted.
This method is shown in Fig. 9, where a b and c d are lines showing the first saw cuts which divide the log into four quarters, ac, cb, bd, and da, each of which is then sawed into plank by some one of the methods shown, according to the purpose for which the lumber is intended and the economy of the material, which it is necessary to observe.
The quarter, sawed as shown from a to c, gives by far the best results, as the annual rings cross the plank nearly at right angles to its face, and the medullary rays being parallel to this face will exhibit the lines of the silver grain, so sought and admired in quartered oak. But it is not economical in material, and requires more time and attention to divide it, than does any of the other methods.
The waste of material is over twenty-five per cent.,and, though this waste can often be utilized, it is usually counted as loss in estimating the amount of timber which can be cut from a log. The time required to reduce this quarter to plank is thirty per cent, more than is required to reduce the quarter cb, and fifty per cent. more than the quarter da. Therefore wood quartered in this manner is expensive, and its use is confined almost exclusively to furniture and fine cabinet work.
The method used in sawing the quarter from c to b is, as above shown, much more economical in time, though the waste of material is about the same. These waste pieces, however, are much larger and fewer than in the former case and can usually be utilized to better advantage. This is the usual method of cutting hardwood logs, and lumber produced by this method is used for all ordinary high-grade work in carpentry and joinery, especial attention being given to the position each plank occupied in the original log, according to the purpose for which it is required.
The method of sawing shown from a to d can hardly be called quartering in the sense we consider the results of that term. It is somewhat of an improvement on the method of bastard sawing, shown in Fig. 6, but there is but one-fifth of the finished lumber that presents the advantages of beauty and durability secured by either of the two former methods of sawing, and this fifth is generally selected by the dealers, and classed with the plank produced by the middle cut of the section from c to b. The other four-fifths is used almost entirely in cheap furniture and for the interior finish and trim of houses, where the terms oak floors and hardwood trim sound very well in the description, but refer to details which would give better service and be more in keeping with the character of the building, if constructed of the less aristocratic sounding pine or spruce, which had been reduced from a properly sawed log.
The method shown at b d is for securing large pieces, and the heavy planks are cut in the order their end sections are numbered. Numbers 1 and 2 are the choice pieces, and should always be selected for floorbeams, where a long span demands a beam that is not liable to warp or twist.
The selection of certain cuts for particular purposes, will be considered when those purposes are taken up for discussion, and attention is here again called to the careful study of Figs. 6, 7, 8, and 9, as illustrating the influence which the original position of a stick of timber in the tree has upon its subsequent behavior.