Hardwood Lumber Grading Can Help You Plan Your Projects
This episode focuses on hardwood lumber grading. I do get a bit into plywood grades. Softwood grading I try not to touch with a 10 foot pole. At least not without copious amounts of Scotch. I'm also lean heavily on NHLA (North American Hardwood Lumber Association) grading system because it is the most widespread system in use. European systems are also discussed specifically in terms of clear vs cutting grades.
The real point behind this is that by understanding lumber grading you can better plan your woodworking projects and your lumber shopping list. The goal is to make your lumber yard trip more successful.
"Unofficial" Lumber Grades
There are a lot of grades and terms used that I do not cover in this episode. Probably more terms missed than covered actually. This is because a lot of unofficial grades have spun up over the years as industry specifications have demanded higher grades than the NHLA system requires. "Superior", "A Grade", "B Grade", etc immediately come to mind.
When I say unofficial I don't even mean that these grades are less valid. However, without a standard set of rules you will find the interpretation of them vary from yard to yard and mill to mill. I would love to hear from any of you that have experiences with these grades and if there are questions surrounding them. Like I said in this episode, the point is to give a basic understanding rather than a comprehensive professional grading course.
I find that these other grades show up with lumber yards or industries who have very specific uses for their lumber. They have developed a classification to easily denote whether or not the lumber fits the bill for that very specific use. The problem is that same seller then lists those packs of lumber by that grade to every end user and outside of the specific use it gets confusing fast.
This is why in this episode I focus only on the standard lumber grading terms. Maybe in a future episode we can dive down the rabbit hole of some of these other grades.