Please note: this information is based on the experience of Luke Hughes; it is not intended to be the final word.
Log conversions methods
1. Through and through
This produces one or two boards of quarter sawn wood but the majority of the boards show contour markings; these boards are more susceptible to distortion.
2. Billet sawn
A similar method for large diameter logs or where there is a large central shake in the heart of the tree
3. Plain sawn
This boxes out the heart but does not provide a good yield of stable material.
4. Quarter sawn (traditional)
This enables all the boards to have the growth rings perpendicular to the face giving the most stable timber; it is rarely used by large commercial mills because it is time-consuming and wasteful.
5. Quarter sawn (modern)
Two through and through cuts are first made to box out the heart of the tree, then the remainder is cut into narrow boards which yields a reasonable percentage of true quartered boards.
More technical knowledge on timber and more can be found in our new eBook 'Furniture factors: Designing around materials'.