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FW1035

Lecture 13
Bowyer et al, Chapter 13

Lumber Grades
Grading is typically by:
1. Strength (softwoods)
1. Visual Estimation
2. Measured

2. Appearance (hardwoods)
3. Specialty product needs

Hardwood Lumber Grading


Factory Lumber
Lengths from 4 to 16 feet in one foot increments, random widths.
Graded according to the size and number of small clear cuttings
that can be cut from board.

Dimension and Component Parts


Small board or part machined to a size for a particular application.
Finished as specified by customer. May be partially or completely
machined to final size and shape

Finished Market Commodity Products


E.g. strip flooring, railway ties, stair threads, etc.
Typically graded according to relevant trade association rules.
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Hardwood Factory Lumber Grading


Hardwood lumber grading scheme is set by
the NHLA (National Hardwood Lumber
Association).
Factory lumber is typically sold by sawmill to
a furniture or cabinet manufacturing plant
Grade is a function of board size and the
amount of clear surface area
a higher grade board is long and wide, with a large
percentage of its area being defect-free
the clear lumber can be removed in a few relatively large
cuttings
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Furniture is typically an assembly


of small pieces of wood, hence
the grading rules for hardwoods.

Hardwood grades are determined on poorer side of board,


except for FIF and Selects.
NHLA National Hardwood Lumber Association
FAS Firsts and Seconds
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FIF FAS on one face

Example of Specialty Market Product Grading


Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association

First Grade one face practically free of all imperfections;


variations in natural color of wood allowed.
Second Grade tight, sound knots (except on edges or
ends) and other slight imperfections allowed; must be
possible to lay flooring without waste.
Third Grade may contain all visual features common to
maple; will not admit voids on edges or ends, or holes over
3/8 inch in diameter; must permit proper laying of floor and
provide a serviceable floor.
Fourth Grade may contain all visual features, but must be
possible to lay a serviceable floor, with some cutting.
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Examples of Maple Flooring Grades

First Grade

Second Grade

Third Grade
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Softwoods Graded in Two Major


Categories

1. Construction

Intended for use as it comes from lumber mill


Strength properties are most important
Two subcategories

Visually graded Lumber


Machine graded lumber

2. Appearance

Intended for remanufacture


Grade is based on appearance
Also called shop lumber
Uses: pencil stock, ladder parts, boxes, mouldings, siding,
flooring
Also includes specialty species lumber products e.g. redwood

Softwood lumber in the United States is most commonly graded


according to the guidelines of the American Softwood Lumber Standard
PS 20-70, established by the U. S. Department of Commerce.
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Visually Graded Construction Lumber


Defects are allowed to become larger and more frequent
as the grade drops. Commonly considered defects:
1. Location, size and placement of knots
2. Slope of grain
3. manufacturing defects (splits from drying
4. Wane
5. Warp
It is assumed that as the defects become larger and more
frequent, strength properties drop.
Lengths in 2 foot increments (6 to 18 feet)
Common widths 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 inches nominal
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National Softwood Construction Lumber Grades


Lumber Class
(Nominal Dimensions)

Grade Name

Bending
Strength (%)

Light Framing
(2 to 4 inches thick, 4 inches wide)

Construction
Standard
Utility

34
19
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Structural Light Framing


(2 to 4 inches thick, 2 to 4 inches wide)

Select Structural
1
2
3

67
55
45
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Studs
(2 to 4 inches thick, 2 to 4 inches wide)

Stud

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Structural Joists and Planks


(2 to 4 inches thick, 6 inches and wider)

Select Structural
1
2
3

65
55
45
26

Appearance Framing
(2 to 4 inches thick, 2 to 4 inches wide)

Appearance

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Bending Strength is percentage of properties of clear (defect-free) wood.

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No. 1

No. 2

No. 3
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Appearance Softwood Lumber Grades


Two primary grades Finish and Select
- Finish grades are higher than Select grades
- Subgrades are usually letters A, B, C, D
To simplify grading at the mill, grades are often
combined.
- E.g. A and B combined to B&BTR

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Appearance Lumber Select Grades


A Select - No knots, splits, or other visible defects. Used for
fine furniture, exposed cabinetry, trim, flooring
B Select - A few, small defects but nearly perfect. Used for
fine furniture, exposed cabinetry, trim, flooring.
C Select - Small tight knots. May be nearly perfect on one
side. Used for most furniture, shelving, some trim and
flooring.
D Select - More numerous "pin" knots and other small
blemishes. May be used for some furniture, shelving, some
trim and flooring.
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Moisture Content Marking on Grade


Stamp
S-GRN Surfaced in green condition.
S-Dry Surfaced dry. MC is less than 19% after manufacture.
MC15/KD15 MC was 15% or less at time of manufacture.
KDHT Kiln-dried and heat-treated. Dried to <19% MC with core
brought to 56 C for 30 minutes. HT kills insects and decay fungi
spores. Done to meet global shipping requirements.
The stamp only shows the MC of the lumber at time of manufacture.
Subsequent history (rain, sitting in mud or puddles) may have raised
the MC.
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Softwood Grading Certification


Agencies
RIS Redwood Inspection Agency. Grades redwood lumber only.
NELMA Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association. New
England and the Middle Atlantic states.
NHPMA Northern Hardwood and Pine Manufacturers Association.
Lake States.
SPIB Southern Pine Inspection Bureau. Grades southern pine lumber
only.
WCLB West Coast Lumber Inspection Bureau. Pacific coast states.
WWPA Western Wood Products Association. Thirteen western states.
There is a similar set-up in Canada with similar grades.

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Example of Softwood Specialty Grading


California Redwood Association, Architectural Grades
Clear All Heart
Free of defects one face, reverse
face may have slight
imperfections. Uses - Siding,
paneling, trim, cabinetry, molding,
fascia, soffits, millwork. Also fine
decks, hot tubs, garden structures,
industrial storage and processing
tanks.
Heart B
Heartwood grade containing
limited knots and other
characteristics not permitted in
Clear All Heart and Heart Clear.
Uses - Siding, paneling, trim,
fascia, molding and other
architectural uses. Quality
decking, garden shelters and
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other outdoor uses in contact
with the ground.

Clear
Same general quality as Clear All
Heart except contains sapwood in
varying amounts. Uses - Siding,
paneling, trim, cabinetry,
molding, fascia, soffits. Also
quality decking, garden shelters
and other above-ground
applications.

B Grade
Grade containing sapwood,
limited knots and other
characteristics not permitted in
Clear. Uses - Siding, paneling,
trim, fascia, molding and other
architectural uses; quality
decking, garden shelters and
other above-ground outdoor
applications.
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Machine Graded Lumber

MSR Machine Stress Rated


- Based on measured MOE in bending
MEL Machine Evaluated Lumber
- Based on estimated density (using x-rays)

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Grade Stamp
Eastern SPF:
Black spruce
Red spruce
Jack pine
Balsam fir

Western SPF:
White spruce
Engelmann spruce
Lodgepole pine
Alpine fir

OLMA Ontario Lumber Manufacturers Association

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