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Hardwood Lumber

Softwood Lumber


And Better - Usually abbreviated "& Btr", indicates that lumber so graded contains an unspecified percentage of pieces that are of a higher grade than the lowest acceptable grade.

Appearance Grade - A grade of framing lumber intended primarily for exposed use in housing and light construction where fine appearance is required; sound, tight knots are permitted.

Board -
A piece of lumber that is less than 2" thick and 2" wide or wider. The thickness and width measurements refer to nominal size, not actual. (See below for a discussion of actual softwood lumber sizes). Sometimes called "Shop Lumber" when it is intended to be cut into smaller pieces.

Board Footage Conversion: The formula for calculating softwood board footage is BF = L (feet) x W (inches) / 12 x T (inches) where L = nominal length (truncated to closest even foot), W = nominal width, and T = nominal thickness. Do not use the actual thickness or width. The product is then rounded to the closest 1/100 board foot (i.e., xx.xx).

Linear Foot

Thickness x Width ÷ 12 = board foot per linear foot

(i.e.: 2x10 = 20, 20 ÷ 12 = 1.667 board foot per linear of 2x10)

Board Foot

Thickness x Width x Length ÷ 12 = board foot per piece

(i.e.: 2x8x12' long = 2x8x12 = 192 ÷ 12 = 16 bd. ft. per piece of lumber)

Nominal v/s Actual Size - For the sake of convenience, lumber sizes are identified by their nominal sizes, rather than actual sizes, which are smaller due to drying and/or dressing (planing). For example, the actual size of a planed 2-by-4 (nominal size) is generally 1½ by 3½ inches.

Actual size is the minimum acceptable size as described by the North American lumber standards after drying and dressing the wood.

  • other widths same as above
  • Note: Metric sizes shown are merely equivalents, rounded to the nearest whole millimetre. They are not official sizes for use in any conversion to metric system
In North America all invoicing is done on nominal length basis. Thus, any sale into any other country will be done on a nominal length basis as well, except for Pakistan where we shall convert and quote on real board footage.

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

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

Dense v/s Non-Dense Wood - Increases in density are associated with increases in the strength of lumber and are related to a tree's rate of growth. Dense lumber is normally classified as lumber having six or more growth rings per inch.

Dimension lumber - A piece of lumber that is 2" up to .5" thick and 2" wide or wider, nominal size.

Economy - The lowest recognized grade in lumber. Economy permits serious defects in the lumber, including large knots and holes, unsound wood, splits, wane and others.

Light framing - A piece of softwood dimension lumber that is 2 or 4" wide, nominal width.

Joist or plank - A piece of softwood dimension lumber that is 6" wide or wider.

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

Pressure Treating - A process of impregnating lumber or other wood products with various chemicals, such as preservatives and fire retardants, by forcing the chemicals into the structure of the wood using high pressure.

Reman - Remanufacture or remanufacturing; a process of converting a common product to a more specialized or higher grade product by further manufacturing.

Standard and Better (Std & Btr) - Lumber containing a mixture of grades, the lowest of which is the Standard grade of light framing; the "and better" signifies that a portion of the lumber is of higher grade or grades. While Std & Btr is fully suitable for general construction purposes, the proportion of higher grades included is a factor in determining market value.

Structural v/s Non-Structural - Structural lumber is manufactured and graded for its strength properties. It is used in roof rafters and trusses, wall studs and floor joists. Although nonstructural lumber has some structural properties, it is manufactured and graded on its appearance and is used for applications such as furniture, windows and doors.

Stud Grade - Lumber of this grade has the strength and stiffness values that make it suitable for use in load bearing walls.

Tally - A numerical breakdown of the various lengths and/or sizes in a load of lumber. The price of a random length load is generally dependent on the tally, with those loads having a high proportion of the desired lengths bringing the higher price.

Utility - A grade of softwood lumber used when a combination of strength and economy is desired. It is suitable for many uses in construction, but lacks the strength of Standard, the next highest light framing grade, and may not be allowed for certain applications where high strength is required.

Utility and Better (Util & Btr) - A mixture of light framing lumber grades with the lowest being Utility. The "and Better" signifies that some percentage of the mixture is of a higher grade than Utility (but not necessarily of the highest grade).

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.

Hardwood Terminology     |     Logs Terminology