Alabama Sawyer’s Not So Secret Diary
Since we at Alabama Sawyer use urban wood instead of traditional wood, our lumber isn’t graded traditionally. That said, the system for grading hardwood is still valuable information that you as a consumer could benefit from learning about.
What is the purpose of grading hardwood?
Hardwood is graded so that consumers know what they are getting when they purchase the sawn hardwood lumber. Basically, hardwood is graded for quality assurance.
Who created the system that’s used to grade hardwood?
In the US, most hardwood is graded according to the National Hardwood Lumber Association’s (NHLA) grading system.
How would I determine the grade of a hardwood?
Here are just a few things you’ll have to figure out about the lumber in order to grade it:
→Species of the wood
→Surface measurement (SM)
→You’ll need to know the poor face, which simply refers to the side with the lowest grade
→Select a grade, and then see if the lumber could possibly fit into that particular grade
→See if the lumber size requirements for that grade could apply to the wood you’re working with
Keep in mind that these aren’t all of the things you’d need to know in order to grade lumber.
What are the different grades?
As of the writing of this blog post, there are a total of 8 different hardwood grades:
→FAS, which is shorthand for “First and Seconds.” FAS is considered the highest grade of hardwood lumber.
→FAS 1-face or F1F. A ‘Select’ piece that is six inches or wider.
→Select. The second best grade that hardwood lumber can be assigned. This grade is determined by the “better” face of the board.
→No. 1 Common. Generally considered an upper grade of lumber, and is suitable for furniture.
→No. 2 & No. 3 Common. These grades tend to be used for things like hardwood flooring to wooden pallets. Considered not as high grade as No. 1 Common lumber.
Sources & Further Reading
Alexander, Tania, and Brian Anderson. “Urban Wood - Wood Grading.” UFEI, ufei.calpoly.edu/urbanwood/grades.lasso.
Wagner Meters. “Hardwood Lumber Grading Explained.” Wagner Meters, 14 Aug. 2018, www.wagnermeters.com/moisture-meters/wood-info/explaining-lumber-grading/.
In case you weren’t aware, Alabama Sawyer is competing in the 2019 Best of the Year Awards! This competition is hosted by the company Interior Design, and the voting period takes place from October 7 - October 18. Our submission? A Lanett Credenza in Sweet Gum:
We’d love for you to vote for our submission. And the great thing is, you can vote on the same submission once per day until the voting period is over. Consider voting multiple days in a row to help us out, or sharing with friends on social media to spread the ALASAW love.
Once all the votes are tallied, the results will be reviewed by an editorial panel that includes editor in chief of Interior Design, Cindy Allen.
Salvaged Wood: Wood that was never cut into lumber or used for construction.
Reclaimed Wood: Wood that was previously used in the construction of a building.
The trend of using salvaged wood and reclaimed wood to create new products/ furniture is a good one, and we hope to see more and more companies use salvaged or reclaimed wood when possible.
Both reduce the amount of wood that will eventually go to waste in a landfill, so keep that in mind as you weigh the pros and cons of salvaged wood vs reclaimed wood. Salvaged wood tends to be more expensive than reclaimed wood since the salvaged wood must be transported, milled, and sometimes refinished before it can be sold.
At Alabama Sawyer, we use salvaged wood, more specifically we use fallen urban timber sourced entirely from the greater Birmingham area as materials in our products.