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What are the different uses for plain sawn (flat sawn), rift sawn, and quarter sawn boards? is starting to garner some comment discussion on its value.

It was originally moving toward closure as a duplicate, but has been edited and seems to be to be a good question now. There is a question about it now being too broad or opinion based.

It's now a combo of "How to identify..." and "What are example uses..." which seems to be OK to me.

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My intent with the question is to guide new woodworkers through the process of consciously choosing a particular cut of wood for a project, then going to a hardwood dealer or store to buy it.

The blanket recommendation for buying lumber is always to use quarter sawn boards because it's more stable, but there are reasons to use plain sawn and rift sawn boards, besides the differences in cost.

The objection that prompted this meta discussion was,

I think that the "when would you choose to use each one" makes this question both way too broad and opinion based.

...however, I intended you to mean any woodworker, not you as an individual reader. An individual woodworker may have an opinion on what looks nice, but I think it's entirely possible to write an answer that concisely lists a few examples and acknowledges a small variety of possible general preferences without being primarily opinion-based.

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    I'm with you. Looked like we were starting to get a discussion going in the comments, and I thought this would be a better way of handling it. I'd be interested in finding good reasons for using flat or rift sawn lumber! – FreeMan Mar 26 '15 at 17:10
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    I don't think it's broad or opinion based. The question is asking what the strengths and/or weaknesses (aesthetic or physical) are for each cut. I think that's pretty straightforward, even if I'm not the right person to answer it. – Daniel B. Mar 26 '15 at 21:35
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So don't know if I have done the best job but to start I have broken up my answers into 2 parts as best I can

Covers milling only: What are the common cut patterns used to mill a log into boards?

Board appearance and usage: What are the different uses for plain sawn (flat sawn), rift sawn, and quarter sawn boards?

I plan on improving both unless there are better answers as I dont want to copy.

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The reason that I marked it as possibly either opinion based or too broad, is that the "when to use" each one is subjective. Sure, there are recommended types of cuts to use for various things, but even those can be changed if you want a different grain showing, or other personal enhancement.

SE sites generally stay away from general recommendations such as situational "when would you use X", but if it's more specific it's generally allowed.

I think the question is on the edge and can be judged either way, but since it's the private beta, just wanted to bring it up.

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  • I answered with what i believe to be fact. Moisture absorbtion, grain appearance and strength. Those would lend to certain applications. – Matt Mar 27 '15 at 0:41
  • @Matt - Understood, and I'm not faulting the question or the answers. But even your defense "lends to certain applications" opens the door for people to argue about the suitability both for and against. I may be out in left field, but I thought it important enough to discuss. – JohnP Mar 27 '15 at 2:28
  • Will evaluate the potential vagueness of that sentence. Was that in an old edit. I think I already removed it. – Matt Mar 27 '15 at 2:34

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