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Hardwood Lumber

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Board - A piece of hardwood lumber that is less than 2" thick. Sometimes in the industry, board refers to any piece of lumber, regardless of thickness.

Bright - Unstained, fresh material, recently milled, free of discoloration.

Clear - Free or practically free of all blemishes, characteristics, or defects.

Hardwood BF - The formula for calculating hardwood lumber board footage is BF = SM x T (inches) and SM = [L feet) x W (inches) / 12] where L = nominal length (truncated to closest foot, not rounded upwards), W = actual width including fractions of inches, and T = nominal thickness. The SM is rounded to the closest whole number (no fractions) before multiplying by the thickness. To calculate the board footage for a bundle of lumber containing many pieces, the SM is determined for each piece of lumber individually. The sum of the SM for all pieces of the same nominal thickness is determined and then multiplied by the nominal thickness to obtain the board footage, rounding to the closest board foot. (In practice, to measure the SM, a scaling stick is used, similar to a log scaling stick, with SM numbers for various lengths of lumber. The stick is placed across the width of the lumber.)

The nominal thickness of hardwood lumber is traditionally the minimum thickness when green or air-dried. So, 4/4 lumber is at least 1.00-inch thick in the portion of the lumber used to establish the grade of the piece; 6/4 is 1.50 inches thick; and so on. Pieces under 1.00-inch thick (such as 3/4) use a nominal thickness of 1-inch when calculating board footage. In order to achieve the required minimum thickness, hardwood lumber usually has an average thickness 1/8-inch greater than the nominal thickness. However, this over-thickness is not required (although it may be expected). In fact, many modern mills can and do meet the minimum thickness requirement by producing lumber only 1/16-inch thicker than the nominal thickness. Often there are special rules or agreements between buyer and seller concerning average thickness and minimum thickness. Such specifications are especially important for lumber that is measured after kiln drying, where actual sizes are below the minimum sizes specified for green or air-dried lumber.

Cant - A partially processed piece of wood that is intended to produce lumber or veneer. Usually two or more sides have been processed.

Flitch - A partially processed piece of wood that is intended to produce lumber or veneer. Usually only one (or sometimes two) side has been processed.

Free of Heart Center (FOHC) - Lumber sawn to exclude the pith or heart center of a log.

Hardwood Dimension - A processed piece of wood that has been cut into a rough size for furniture, cabinets, millwork, etc.; usually dry.

Janko Hardwood Rating - Represents the resistance of wood to wear, denting, and marring. It is measured by the load required to embed a 0.444 - inch steel ball to one-half its diameter in the wood. Janka hardness ratings are generally based on an average of tests on both tangential and radial (plainsawn and quartersawn) samples. Higher number is better.

Kiln Dried - Lumber that has been seasoned in a kiln to a predetermined moisture content, normally 19% or less. Lumber - A wooden rectangular parallelepiped

Select - A high quality piece of lumber graded for appearance.

Select Tight Knot (STK) - A grade term often used for Cedar lumber. Lumber graded "STK" is selected from the mill run because of tight knots in each piece.

White Speck - A fungus that develops in a living tree. It does not develop after the tree has been harvested. Causes small white honeycombed areas in the wood.

Softwood Terminology     |     Logs Terminology