The lumber industry relies heavily on the National Hardwood Association to create and maintain the standards for lumber sales. J. Gibson McIlvain, an industry leader for over 200 years, follows those standards carefully and specializes in keeping a large inventory of the highest grade (FAS) lumber in their yards. Providing their customers with premium wholesale lumber is J. Gibson McIlvain’s trademark. They work with domestic and international mills to fulfill custom orders with high quality lumber.
Knowing as much as possible about the meticulous process of lumber grading helps builders and other wood working professionals understand the market for whole sale lumber. Extensive knowledge of wholesale lumber grades makes J. Gibson McIlvain a top quality wholesale lumber supplier.
Professionally grading lumber is a grueling process full of minutia and complicated guidelines. However, any customer can come to understand this process by internalizing ten simplified steps. Amateur evaluations will not provide the assured quality of a professional grading, but following these steps and understanding the NHLA terms allows anyone to loosely determine the grade of a piece lumber.
Look up the specifications related to the species of lumber being graded.
Determine the SM (surface measure) of that specific piece of lumber.
Determine the lowest grade face, also known as the poor face. This is the face with the lowest quality, and this is the face to use initially.
According the specific species rules, decide which grade the wood falls under. Double check the decision against the conditions for the grade.
Check the size requirements for the determined grade, and make sure the lumber measures up.
Measure how many clear and sound cuttings are available, and check that number against the grade requirements.
Multiply the required cutting yield by the SM:
- For FAS, multiply by 10.
- For No. 1, multiply by 8.
- For No. 2, multiply by 6.
- For No. 3A, multiply by 4.
- For No. 3B, multiply by 3.
Figure out the maximum cutting area and how many cuttings are available. Make sure the cuts will not be smaller than the minimum for trial grading.
Determine the grade of the opposite side, and decide on a final grade for the whole piece.
Go through each qualification for the board again. Include specifications for wain, pitch, and imperfections to finally determine the grade.
For more details, illustrations, and discussions on the grading system of the NHLA, visit their website. You can also read a more in-depth article by clicking here. If you want more information or if you’re ready to purchase lumber, J. Gibson McIlvain, one of the country’s oldest and most reputable lumber wholesalers, is more than willing to give an extensive in-person explanation of this process at their headquarters in White Marsh, MD.
Want insider tips on the lumber industry? Visit McIlvain’s website, or check out these selections from their lumber blog: