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Veneers: Rotary Cut v Flat Cut

There are different types of cuts.

Plain Sliced (or flat cut) veneer: The most commonly used to produce solid oak floors. Using this method, the log is repeatedly sliced parallel to the center. It’s the way most boards are cut, just much thinner layers.

Rotary-cut veneer: Is used to make many unfinished engineered hardwood planks. It is created by spinning the log and peeling off a continuous sheet. Think of it like a roll of paper towels. It is the least-expensive way to produce and it can be laid onto the plywood core layers in one big sheet, so this type of plywood is usually the least expensive. Rotary-cut veneer has wild, random grain patterns.

Rift-sawn veneer: This is a more straight-grained look. It’s made by tilting the log to a slight angle, so that the slices are more perpendicular to the growth rings. Just like with the plain-sliced, the slices get laid out side by side, but the grain pattern shows up as fairly straight lines instead of as a repeating arches. There is a premium price for rift-sawn because the veneer-making process is more involved and it creates more waste.

Quarter-sawn veneer: This is also made for very specialized applications. Oak is probably the most common species that gets made into quarter-sawn flooring because when it is cut this way, it has distinctive “flecks” in the grain. Other types of wood can be species are made in quartersawn, too, but they’re less common.

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