The appearance of the wood determines its “grade.” All grades are equally strong and serviceable, but each affords you a different look.
Plainsawn is the most common cut. The board contains more variation than the other two cuts because grain patterns resulting from the growth rings are more obvious.
Quartersawing produces less board feet per log than plainsawing and is therefore more expensive. Quartersawn wood twists and cups less and wears more evenly.
Riftsawn is similar to quartersawing, but the cut is made at a slightly different angle.