Could changing your perspective on hardwood lumber grades allow you to buy materials that meet your needs more effectively? A custom grade of hardwood lumber might be exactly what you need!
The grading system that is used for the hardwood lumber industry was established over 100 years ago by the National Hardwood Lumber Association, (NHLA). Unlike softwoods, which are graded on the entirety of the board, hardwoods are graded based on the amount of clear cuttings that can be yielded from that board. The grading system provided by the NHLA gives the buyer and the seller universal standards and language to allow for effective communication of product quality. Specifically, the amount of clear cuttings and usable fiber obtainable out of a single board.
The grades set by the NHLA, and the ones the industry adheres to still today, can be categorized as follows:
- FAS, First and Second, contain 83%-100% clear-cuttings per board.
- Number 1 Common, contain 66% clear-cuttings per board.
- Number 2 Common, contain 50% clear-cuttings per board.
When we speak with customers we often suggest that they place more emphasis on the amount of clear cuttings that they would need to yield from their lumber rather than simply focusing on grade and price. If we are able to shift a customer’s perspective from focusing on shape, size, and defects found in boards, to focusing on the amount of clear cuttings that can be yielded from a board then we are able to provide our customers with lumber that fits their manufacturing needs more effectively.
When having discussions like these with customers we are also able to identify specific board characteristics that are exactly what the customer needs to maximize their production. With this information we are then able to develop a custom grade specifically for them which helps them realize better lumber yields.
Next time you are in the market for hardwood lumber consider the type of clear cuttings you need to produce your product. Then contact your hardwood lumber supplier and see what type of lumber products or sorts they offer that would fit your needs most effectively.
If we can be of any assistance let us know. We would be happy to discuss creating a custom grade just for you!