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Questions: Quartersawn Wood

Questions: Quartersawn Wood

by Alan Ollivant

Originally published in American Lutherie #74, 2003 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume Seven, 2015

John Forcade of Poulsbo, Washington asks:

I have acquired six large maple rounds and would like to quartersaw them and let them dry out for a few years. They are about 45" long and 3' in diameter.

I am not an experienced woodworker so I am looking for some specific directions on how to quartersaw. I would assume I am going to have to split the rounds into fourths by hand and then cut a board off one face, then cut the next board off the opposite face until each quarter is completely cut? Am I on the right track? Also, once I split each round open, how can I determine the quality of the maple? Am I going to be primarily looking for figure? If the wood is good and I keep it, how long should I let it dry before using it? Should it be kept in a controlled environment from day one?

I also have some koa from the big island. What differentiates quality koa from average koa?

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