Trees are classified as either softwood or hardwood (table 3-3). Therefore, all lumber is referred to as either "softwood" or "hardwood." The terms "softwood" and "hardwood" can be confusing since some softwood lumber is harder than some hardwood lumber. Generally, however, hardwoods are more dense and harder than softwoods. In addition, lumber can be further classified by the name of the tree from which it comes. For example, Douglas fir lumber comes from a Douglas fir tree; walnut lumber comes from a walnut tree, and so forth.
The quality of softwood lumber is classified according to its intended use as being yard, structural, factory, or shop lumber. Yard lumber consists of those grades, sizes, and patterns generally intended for ordinary building purposes. Structural lumber is 2 or more inches in nominal thickness and width and is used where strength is required. Factory and shop lumber are used primarily for building cabinets and interior finish work.
Lumber manufacturing classifications consist of rough dressed (surfaced) and worked lumber. Rough lumber has not been dressed but has been sawed, edged, and trimmed. Dressed lumber is rough lumber that has been planed on one or more sides to attain smoothness and uniformity. Worked lumber, in addition to being dressed, has also been matched, shiplapped, or patterned. Matched lumber is tongue and groove, either sides or ends or both. Shiplapped lumber has been rabbeted on both edges to provide a close-lapped joint. Patterned lumber is designed to a pattern or molded form.
The grade of a piece of lumber is based on its strength, stiffness, and appearance. A high grade of lumber has very few knots or other blemishes. A low grade of lumber may have knotholes and many loose knots. The lowest grades are apt to have splits, checks, honeycombs, and some warpage. The grade of lumber to be used on any construction job is usually stated in the specifications for a set of blueprints. Basic classifications of softwood grading include boards, dimension, and timbers. The grades within these classifications are shown in table 3-4.
Lumber is graded for quality in accordance with American Lumber Standards set by the National Bureau of Standards for the U.S. Department of Commerce. The major quality grades, in descending order of quality, are select lumber and common
Table 3-3.-Different Types of Softwoods and Hardwoods
|Western larch||American elm|
|White fir||Sweet gum|
|Western red cedar||Birch|
*Open-grained woodContinue Reading