Some might say that hardwood lumber is all the same and is generally a commodity. Others will tell you buying hardwood lumber can be a very complex process and the types of lumber you can get, even in the same industry grade class, can vary greatly.
We tend to believe that not all hardwood lumber is created equal. Therefore, we recommend our customers ask a few key questions before making their purchase decisions.
Questions to Ask Before Purchasing Hardwood Lumber:
- What region is the lumber from? Hardwood trees grow all across North America. The majority of the hardwood forests are found across the eastern United States and are in three primary growing regions. They are referred to as the Northern, Appalachian, and Southern regions. Lumber form one region is not necessarily better than the other, but depending on the region the tree was grown in, the lumber could have different characteristics. So it is important to understand the region the lumber was harvested from.
- How is the lumber tallied? Since hardwood lumber invoices are based on measured board footage it is important to know if the price you are being quoted and paying is based on a gross, (before kiln drying), or net, (after kiln drying), tally. Since lumber shrinks in the kiln drying process getting an accurate measure of footage for pricing is important. Be sure you clarify if the transaction you are conducting is measured on gross measure, which is green lumber, or net measure, which is kiln dried lumber.
- What special services do you offer? Hardwood lumber suppliers offer several different services when it comes to preparing a load of lumber. Hardwood lumber can be surfaced to a specific thickness such as 15/16” for 4/4” boards, it can be straight line ripped on one edge, (SLR1E), or it can be ripped to an exact width such as 2.78” by ripping both edges, (SLR2E). These type of services could be valuable and help a manufacturer save time and money in their manufacturing process, but they come at a cost so identifying this up front is important.
- Is the lumber sorted a certain way? Typically, hardwood lumber is packaged in random width and length bundles 48” wide and 48” tall. However, suppliers regularly sort lumber into special products for customers. Special width sorts, length sorts, color sorts and even feature or character sorts, (think rustic, wormy, or heartwood), can be provided by suppliers. So discussing this ahead of time is a good idea!
If you have questions about hardwood lumber give us a call. We would be happy to help in any way we can!