Not all width sorts are the same. Those that are newer to the hardwood lumber industry might be surprised by the subtle differences that different hardwood suppliers have when sorting and packaging width sorted product. And these differences can really make an impact on the value of a load of hardwood lumber.
Width sorting is a common hardwood industry practice across all species and grades. The purpose of this is to provide manufacturers with lumber bundles that are more consistent throughout. This helps the manufactures to increase their lumber yields with much less waste during the manufacturing process.
The NHLA standard measure for width sorts are, for example, 4.5” – 5.5”, measured as 5.0” However, there are other ways that lumber is width sorted. Some are sorted by the full inch, and some are sorted by the half inch. It all depends on how that particular supplier tallies their lumber.
The key is for buyers to understand the sort, how it is tallied, and the percentage of boards over and under the tally criteria.
For example, a width sort that is 5.5” to 6.5” and tallied as a 6” bundle has a completely different value than a bundle that is 6” to 7” and tallied as a 6”. The difference lies in the fact that for any boards greater than 6.5” you are getting more usable fiber, this allows you to increase your yields. When dealing in a half inch sort span that has been tallied at the midpoint, in this instance 6”, you are taking the average into account which can work both for or against you.
With this in mind, we provide various width sorting options at American Lumber. Prime Walnut strips and Rustic White Oak strips are just a few of the popular hardwood products that we provide in width sorted bundles. Also, for strips such as rustic White Oak, we offer width sorts in full-width increments such as:
- 10” and wider
If you require width sorted or even ripped-to-width hardwood lumber, let us know how we can help you improve your yields!