Cuts and grades

From natural grain patterns and color variations to significant knots and wormholes, the cut and grade of the wood are perhaps the most important factors to consider in the unique design and overall look of your floor.

Different sawing methods produce different grain patterns in wood which significantly impact the overall appearance of the boards. The four common cuts used for flooring include plain sawn, quarter sawn, rift sawn and live sawn. The following graphic shows how each cut affects the grain pattern.

Owens Flooring plain sawn

Plain Sawn

Cut parallel to the growth rings so that the growth rings are cut from 0° to 45° to the wide face of the board (a tangential cut) and displays a cathedral peak pattern on the face of the board.

Owens Flooring quarter sawn

Quarter Sawn

Cut perpendicular to the growth rings so that the growth rings are cut from 45° to 90° to the wide face of the board (a radial cut) and shows dramatic flecking in red oak and white oak.

Owens Flooring rift sawn

Rift Sawn

Cut neither parallel nor perpendicular to the growth rings so that the growth rings make angles of 30°to 60° to the face of the board and a grain pattern that shows parallel lines with the least amount of variance.

Owens Flooring live sawn

Live Sawn

Cut from the outside diameter through the heartwood, incorporating the full range of the above characteristics on the face of the board which is typically wider and features all of the grain patterns resulting from the various milling methods.

Lumber mill

Wood grades

The various grades of wood are not intended to be a measure of board quality, but rather to capture the physical variations in the wood.

Commonly referred to as character, these variations include knots, burls, wormholes, nail holes, and other characteristics found in nature.

Many customers prefer the more rustic look of flooring that features significant variations in the overall appearance, while others prefer flooring with clean lines and an appearance that is extremely uniform and more traditional.

Our floors feature these commonly seen grades:

  • Premium: Owens offers a unique premium grade that is hand-selected to include the least amount of variation possible. The boards should contain virtually no knots, burls or pinholes.
  • Select: This grade typically has boards with very uniform color and few to no knots and pinholes.
  • #1 Common: This grade typically contains more color variation and an increased chance of visible knots and pinholes.
  • #2 Common: This grade typically has both darker and lighter boards, shorter board length, with an increase in visible knots and pinholes.
  • Character: Offers a rustic look and allows checking, unfilled knot holes and worm holes, no splits, no loose knotholes.

To provide the most visual appeal, we combine grades. For example, 1&Better and a mix of #1 Common, Select and Premium boards.

With more than ten domestic and exotic species offered in a variety of standard and designer finishes,
our floors are incredibly versatile and will deliver optimal performance for many years.