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Title: Commercial lumber

Author: McDonald, Kent A.; Kretschmann, David E.;

Date: 1999

Source: Wood handbook : wood as an engineering material. Madison, WI : USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, 1999. General technical report FPL ; GTR-113: Pages 5.1-5.20

Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)

Description: In a broad sense, commercial lumber is any lumber that is bought or sold in the normal channels of commerce. Commercial lumber may be found in a variety of forms, species, and types, and in various commercial establishments, both wholesale and retail. Most commercial lumber is graded by standardized rules that make purchasing more or less uniform throughout the country. When sawn, a log yields lumber of varying quality. To enable users to buy the quality that best suits their purposes, lumber is graded into use categories, each having an appropriate range in quality. Generally, the grade of a piece of lumber is based on the number, character, and location of features that may lower the strength, durability, or utility value of the lumber. Among the more common visual features are knots, checks, pitch pockets, shake, and stain, some of which are a natural part of the tree. Some grades are free or practically free from these features. Other grades, which constitute the great bulk of lumber, contain fairly numerous knots and other features. With proper grading, lumber containing these features is entirely satisfactory for many uses. The grading operation for most lumber takes place at the sawmill. Establishment of grading procedures is largely the responsibility of manufacturers’ associations. Because of the wide variety of wood species, industrial practices, and customer needs, different lumber grading practices coexist. The grading practices of most interest are considered in the sections that follow, under the major categories of hardwood lumber and softwood lumber.

Keywords: Timber trade, lumber, log grade, wood properties, wood products, sawnwood, wood anatomy, structure, cost benefit analysis

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

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McDonald, Kent A.; Kretschmann, David E. 1999. Commercial lumber. Wood handbook : wood as an engineering material. Madison, WI : USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, 1999. General technical report FPL ; GTR-113: Pages 5.1-5.20

 


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