A look at the four common cuts:

Rotary: The log is centered in the lathe and turned against a knife blade at a slight angle following the growth rings, producing a multi-patterned grain. Less expensive than sliced patterns, this is ideal for large surface applications where a broad grain pattern will suffice.

Quarter slicing: Growth rings of the log strike the blade at right angles, producing a narrow, striped grain pattern, straight or angled, depending on species, exposing ray flake. This cut is ideal for Mission-style or other applications requiring a uniform appearance.

Rift cut: This is generally used only with red and white oak. The log is cut an angle of about 15 percent off the quartered position, producing a rift or comb-grain effect similar to quarter slicing. Because of the low yields, it is generally higher in cost than quarter slicing. This would be used for applications that require white or red oak without ray flake.

Flat or plain slicing: This is the most common cut, creating a cathedral grain pattern.  The half log or flitch is cut along the growth rings, parallel to a line through the center of the log. This is typically the least expensive slicing method, yet produces an eye-catching pattern.

Source: Timber Products. For information call 800-557-5131 or visit TimberProducts.com.