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Firsts and Seconds (FAS) - The best and most expensive grade. Boards 6" and wider, 8' and longer. Yields 83-1/3 percent of clear face cuttings with minimum sizes of 4" x 5', or 3" x 7'. Suitable for fine furniture, cabinetry and applications where clear, wide boards are needed.
Selects - Face side is FAS, back side is No. 1 Common. Boards are 4" and wider , 6' and longer. Yields 83-1/3 percent clear face cuttings with minimum sizes of 4" x 5', or 3" x 7'. A cost effective substitute for FAS when only one good face is required.
No. 1 Common - A typical thrift or "shop" grade. Boards are 3" and wider, 4' and longer. Yields 66-2/3 percent clear face cuttings with minimum sizes of 4" x 2', or 3" x 3'. Provides good value, especially if relatively small pieces can be used.
No. 2A & 2B Common - Boards are 3" and wider, 4' and longer. Yields 50 percent clear face cuttings 3" and wider by 2' and longer. Suitable for some paneling and flooring applications.
Sound Wormy - Same requirements as #1 Common and better but wormholes, limited sound knots and other imperfections allowed. Not commonly available.
No. 3A Common - Boards are 3" and wider, 4' and longer. Yields 33-1/3 percent clear face cuttings 3" and wider by 2' and longer. Economical choice for rough utility applications:, crates, palettes, fencing, etc.
No. 3B Common - Boards are 3" and wider, 4' and longer. Yields 25 percent clear face cuttings 1-1/2" and wider by 2' and longer. Applications same as No. 3A Common.
No. 1 (Construction) - Moderate-sized tight knots. Paints well. Used for siding, cornice, shelving, paneling, some furniture.
No. 2 (Standard) - Knots larger and more numerous. Paints fair. Similar uses as No. 1.
No. 3 (Utility) - Splits and knotholes present. Does not take paint well. Used for crates, sheathing, sub-flooring, small furniture parts.
No. 4 (Economy) - Numerous splits and knotholes. Large waste areas. Does not take paint well. Used for sheathing, sub flooring, concrete form work.
No. 5 (Economy) - Larger waste areas and coarser defects. Not really paintable. Applications are similar to No. 5.
A Select - No knots, splits, or other visible defects. Used for fine furniture, exposed cabinetry, trim, flooring
B Select - A few, small defects but nearly perfect. Used for fine furniture, exposed cabinetry, trim, flooring.
C Select - Small tight knots. May be nearly perfect on one side. Used for most furniture, shelving, some trim and flooring.
D Select - More numerous "pin" knots and other small blemishes. May be used for some furniture, shelving, some trim and flooring.
Veneer Grade Characteristics
N - Smooth natural finish select heartwood or sapwood veneer, free of open defects. This grade does not allow more than six wood-only repairs per 4 ft. x 8 ft. panel. Grain and color must be well matched.
A - Smooth paint-grade veneer; may be used natural for less demanding applications. No more than 18 repairs per 4 ft. x 8 ft. panel.
B - Solid surface veneer. This grade allows tight knots (no more than 1 inch. in diameter), round repair plugs and shims. Permits repairs of minor splits.
C - Plugged Upgraded "C" veneer
Splits limited to 1/8 inch max. width. No knotholes or borer holes permitted larger than 1/4 x 1/2 inch. Synthetic repairs permitted, as well as some limited broken grain.
C - This veneer can have tight knots up to 1 1/2 inches in diameter, and knotholes up to 1 inch across the grain, or up to 1 1/2 inches if the total width of knots and knotholes is within specified limits. Wood and/or synthetic repairs allowed. Discoloration and sanding defects which to not impair strength are allowed.
D D - This grade allows knots and knotholes up to 2 1/2 inches width across the grain as well as limited splits and stitches, and is limited to interior or Exposure 1 panels.
Fully waterproof bond. Designed for applications where panels are subject to permanent ongoing exposure to moisture.
Exterior - Exposure 1
Fully waterproof bond, but not intended for permanent ongoing exposure to moisture.
Exterior - Exposure 2
Interior type with intermediate glue. Intended for protected applications where only slight exposure to moisture is likely to occur.
Designed for interior applications only.
Article provided by Chris Messier - Messman
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Purchasing wood can get very expensive and if you are not sure what you are buying it can be more than a bit intimidating. When you are standing in front of thousands of board feet of wood, all priced differently and you don't know exactly what to choose, this should be your clue it's time to understand wood cuts. Wouldn't it be nice to walk in to your lumber store and know what kinds of boards you need before you arrive, or at least have some idea of the different cuts and why they differ. Here is you will find these answer.
You have probably heard the term "quarter-sawn", which is often referred to as the "best cut" of wood. Well, quarter-sawn is one of the terminologies but it is not always the best cut as you will see in Part 2. The other cuts of wood are called Rift-sawn and Flat-sawn and all depend from where in the tree the boards are cut.
In order to identify which cut of wood has come from what part of the log, it is necessary to look at the end grain of the board. This is because some Rift-sawn and some Quarter-sawn can look the same on the face side of the board.
Before we get too deep into the different cuts, we should take a moment to consider one other factor of wood cuts, and those are the "rays". Rays are those fine lines that seem to radiate from the center of the tree, almost like the spokes of a wheel. The purpose of the rays is help transfer food and water and oxygen within the tree. In some woods and species, rays are easy to spot in others they are hard to see. The problems with rays is that they can often be point where boards crack, especially as they dry. For this reason it is critical that the ends of ALL boards, especially green wood, is sealed to encourage the moisture in the wood to evaporate through the sides of the boards and not through the ends. Wood wants to dry through the ends because that is the easiest way for water to escape because wood is build like a bunch of tiny soda straws all fastened together. When you block the ends of the soda straws water takes much longer to dissipate, therefore there is less twisting and movement in the wood.
Flat-Sawn boards are cut from the log where the growth rings of the tree are stacked on top of one another, and are basically parallel to wide faces of the board.. One of the advantages of this type of cut is the beautiful grain structure which causes "cathedrals", that are visually appealing to many projects, especially those where large panels of wood are exposed.
Rift-sawn boards are those that lie between flat and quarter-sawn cuts. The rift-sawn boards will appear that growth rings will be a little wider than those of quarter-sawn, because of the angle of the cut. The ring pattern of the wood will be at a diagonal across the edge of the board as you can see in the diagrams. Rift and quarter boards will show only straight lines across the face of the boards.
Quarter-sawn boards, as you can see from the diagrams, are cuts from the log where the rings are stacked vertically to one another. These cuts, as with those of any Rift-sawn boards will not show the beautiful cathedrals as a flat-sawn board would .
Be sure to read Part 2 of this article to understand the advantages and dis-advantages of these types of cuts and how you can make them work for you in your woodworking projects.
copyright - Colin Knecht
- Read Time: 4 mins
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Even though wood has been around as a building product for millions of years, it remains one of the most complex building products due to it inherent properties. THe more you learn about wood the more there is know, and when you are a woodworker, understanding your building medium will put you miles ahead in saved time, costs and satisfaction with your projects. Have you ever wondered why some of your woodworking projects buckle, bend or crack? Well, the answer may be the way it was built, or it could have been the "cut" of wood you used. This article will attempt to help explain some of the charcteristics of wood to help you make some better choices in selectinb your building materials and assembling your products. Click below to read more ...
If you are starting off by reading this article, stop and go back and read Part 1 of this article first, it will only take a few minutes and it will make this article much easier to understand and apply.
When we look at the three primary cuts of boards, Flat, Rift and Quarter, it is evident that the growth rings run at different angles. This is critical to understanding how wood behaves. You should first of all know that all wood is constantly moving. The reason it is constantly moving is that wood is always either absorbing or dissipating moisture. Where ever wood is stabilizes itself to the conditions around it, if the air is moist, wood absorbs moisture, if the air is dry the wood sheds moisture until it is stable with its environment.
Another thing to know about wood is that during it expansion and contractions it only moves is certain directions. Wood will not expand in the direction of the grain. To explain this a bit more, it you purchase a simple 8 foot 2" x 4" board, and put it in either a moist or dry environment, the board will not get any longer or shorter, it will always remain (with in mico meters) of its original 8 foot length.
The same 2' x 4" board in placed in moist or dry atmospheres WILL change width and depth. This is because wood absorbs water within it growth ring directions. Predicting how much a board will expand across its width and depth is very difficult because it depends on th type of wood and the cut of the board. For example a quarter-sawn board will expand more across it face than will rift sawn, and a flat-sawn will expand very minimally across its face, but it will expand a lot across its depth.
It is these same reasons, those of expansion and contraction that make Rift-sawn boards the worst culprits for turning out "propellers" (boards that are often twisted beyond use and end up as firewood).
So ... what are the pros and cons of each type of board and where should they be used?
Flat-Sawn boards are often considered the most beautiful of the cuts with the grain displaying the beautiful "cathedrals" up the grain of the board. These boards are ideal for large visual areas like kitchen cabinet doors, drawer fronts or the sides of dressers or other large similar projects. These boards are quite stable dimensionally, across their width. Where you may not want to use them are as treads when building a stair case as these boards will flex and bend under pressure, they would be great for risers on steps with the visual appeal and their strength in that direction. For treads on a stair rift would be better but quarter-sawn would be best for the treads. Flat sawn is also a poor choice for decking or flooring. Besides always tending produce slivers, they will also tend to warp or cup due to the expansion across the depth of the boards.
Rift-sawn boards are probably the least desirable of all the cuts. This is because these cuts can vary quite a bit depending on where in the log they are cut. They also tend to "move" in two directions with makes them poor choices for flooring, table tops and decking. Rift cut is often left for building materials like 2x4, 2x6s, 4x4 and so on. This does not mean that good quality hardwoods are not available in rift-sawn cuts, only that it is often not the ideal cut.
Quarter-sawn is considered by most the ideal cut, and in some ways it is. Quarter-sawn is not as attractive as flat-sawn and is really designed for different building area. Quarter-sawn wood is ideal of table and chair legs, spindles and other long straight pieces. If you are looking for real wooden flooring you will want to lay down quarter sawn (also called edge grain) flooring. It lasts for ever, is quite stable, very strong and does not easily produce slivers.
There is a lot more to learn about wood but this will at least give you a sampling of how woods react and where to use them for more effective and pleasurable projects.
copyright Colin Knecht
- Read Time: 6 mins
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I spend good money buying what I am assured is "good quality plywood ", so why, when I get it home, does it make me want to turn it into firewood?. That was the hard hitting comment from an associate of mine recently. He's not the only one who is disappointed in the quality of plywood ... thousands more just like him have the same comments, I hear it ALL THE TIME!!.
So, lets talk about plywood and why it is the way it is, how can we best use it and what are some alternatives. First of all there are two kinds of plywood, "sliced" and "rotary". These terms are used when talking about the face of the plywood. So if you were to purchase a three-quarter inch 4x8 sheet of "Oak Plywood", you would have the choice of purchasing either "sliced" or "rotary". So ... what's the difference other than price you ask ... whew, a LOT .......
Of the two kinds of plywoods "sliced" is the most expensive and the most attractive as it simulates boards of wood. Rotary plywood manufacture costs less than the sliced method and it looks more like "plywood", but here are the two methods for actually making plywood.
"Sliced" plywood is just as it says, slices of wood are sheared off with a giant knife, just like slicing cheese. These are then assembled on the face of the plywood core where they are glued and then sanded to make the finished sheet.
"Rotary" plywood on the other hand is made quite differently. A select log is mounted on what is essentially just a huge lathe. When the tree is spinning a high rate, a large blade digs into the tree deeper and deeper and at the same time a long flat veneer is unfurled off the blade. It is this veneer that is then glued to the plywood core, then sanded to make the finished sheet.
Now ... lets talk about the "core" for a minute. Most hardwood sheets of plywood use less expensive softwood cores on which to build the hardwood face of the plywood. Much of the problems with plywood are a result of these cores, and here's why. Some of the cores are not well made, they may have "voids" in them, or the quality of the wood they are made from may just be of poor quality. To compound these quality issues, some of the wood that is used to create these cores is dryer that other portions. Some of these veneer sheets within the plywood expand or contract depending on how wet they were when they were used to make the "cores", and what the atmospheric conditions are where they are stored.
When you purchase plywood that says its 3/4". According to the Plywood Manufactures Codes, it does not mean the plywood is exactly 3/4" ... it means the plywood will not EXCEED 3/4", which means it is always somewhat less than the 3/4" ... sometimes by 1/16th" (or more).
This means that if you are sizing a project or cutting dados, rebates etc. It is more likely than not that the wood is going to be lose in these because if you followed the instructions of the dado blade and made it exactly 3/4" ... it will be too big for the plywood. Also, if your project has one 3/4" piece on either side and those sheets are actually 1/16th shy, your entire project will be 1/8th narrower ... see the problems this can create!!! AND, WHAT'S WORSE ... if you purchase two or three sheets of plywood, there is an excellent chance NONE of them will be exactly the same depth, in fact, there is a good chance none of the sheets will be consistently the same depth along each edge.
Like all other problems that woodworkers encounter, there are solutions.
Solution #1 - don't use plywood - I say this a bit "tongue-in-cheek" because we all know we MUST use plywood for many projects, but now we can be a bit more selective.
Solution #2 - re-manufacture the width of each edge of plywood you will use. Now I know this sounds tedious, but it's not that bad, and considering all the time you save by using plywood, you can afford to use up a bit of that time making it perfect. The re-sizing of an edge can take a few different methods, such as running all your edges vertically through your table saw to have every edge exactly the same.
Solution #3 - Use the Medium Density Fiber (MDF) and similar versions of hardwood sheets. Some of these come with hardwood veneers laminated to their face sides, others are plain. Generally speaking, these sheets are flat ANS evenly thick because of their method of manufacture. Of course they have other challenges, like heavy weight, poor substance for using screws with and some will absorb water either from the air, or from "puddling", which makes them swell and become weak.
Well, that's the story of plywood ... love it or hate it, it remains a great product for many applications, but not necessarily the only product. Like anything you do in woodworking selecting materials is half the battle and knowing what to look for and what application you are working on will go a long way in helping you select the right materials.
Copyright - Colin Knecht