Logs of appropriate lengths are cut and then split into four lengthwise. The bark and sap wood are cut off so that staves may be cut from radial (rather than tangential) sections of wood.
Because American oak is so much less porous than European, staves of American oak can simply be sawn from each quarter to maximize the yield of each log. This is traditional quarter sawing. The mill worker tosses a quartered bolt on to a conveyor belt. A band saw parallel to the conveyor belt lops off a stave, which is sent on its way, while the rest of the log comes back on the conveyor belt to be sawn again.