Wednesday, 14 September 2016 16:10

Hardwoods: Grade Lumber vs. Industrial Lumber

One of the things we can say about the hardwood lumber industry is we know how to get the most out of a log!  Even after the process of cutting the round log into boards, we’ll even find a way to get a productive use with by-products such as the hardwood chips, bark and sawdust.  Every aspect of the log is used in one form or another and nothing goes to waste.

TimberMats 1The goal of most sawmills is to produce as much grade lumber as possible.  Grade lumber is manufactured from the most valuable parts of the hardwood log and typically produces the highest return on investment for a mill.  Grade lumber is what is used for furniture, cabinets, flooring and specialty items.  It uses the standard industry grading categories of FAS, F1F, Select, #1 Common, #2A & #2B Common, and #3A & #3B Common.  All of these grades are a measure of the amount and size of clear cuttings achievable from the individual board.  This is different from the grade categories of softwoods which are more of an indication of the lumbers strength, load carrying capacity and safety.

Industrial hardwood lumber is what is made from the remaining part of the log that cannot be sawn into usable grade lumber. It is commonly used to create products such as hardwood pallets, railroad ties, timber mats and board road.   In general, these type of hardwood products are lower in value per board foot than graded lumber, but extremely important to a sawmill to be able to find customers for so they can maximize the value of each log.

Over the years, as the hardwood industry has grown and evolved, many different hardwood lumber grade names and product names have been introduced into the market.  The important thing to remember is that you receive from your hardwood lumber supplier the most appropriate lumber for your use.  We like to say that all lumber can be put to good use.  It is our job to match the needs of our customers with the lumber produced from each hardwood log.

If you would like to learn more about the wide variety of hardwood lumber products we provide click here.

Tony Cimorelli
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