Trees cut from forests are called logs. Logs are shipped to a sawmill where they are sawn into lumber. The first step in the milling process is peeling the bark from the log. With the bark removed, the shape and knots of each log are revealed. The first cutting rips the log into rough boards. The next cutting rips the boards into the desired widths. Most hardwood lumber produced at sawmills is known as dimension stock and is used for furniture, flooring, cabinetry, and paneling. Rough lumber is seasoned or kiln dried and processed into dimension stock. Before lumber is dried, it is known as green lumber. Seasoning is done to take moisture out of the wood and reduce its tendency to warp, shrink, or host fungi.
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After seasoning, lumber is planed to take the roughness off, called surfacing. As lumber is planed down to become smooth, the piece of wood becomes smaller. For example, if you started with a piece of wood that was rough cut to 2 inches thick and 6 inches wide, the planing process would take about 1V inch off of each original dimension. The result would be a piece of wood that is smooth, but only 1V inches thick and 5 V inches wide. This is a general rule in the lumber industry. If the original size was less than 2 inches, then it will only be reduced by % inch. For example, a 1-inch piece of lumber is planed down to %-inch dimensional lumber. If the original size of the lumber was over 6 inches, then surfacing will reduce it by % inch; a nominal 8-inch wide board will measure 7% inches. The name used to describe a piece of lumber is the nominal size, such as a 2 by 6. The dressed (finished) size of the same piece of lumber actually measures 1V inches by 5 V inches. Timbers are
Decorating Gallery 3.11 The Two Most Common Ways a Log is Cut are Plain Sawn, Which Slices the Log, and Quarter Sawn, Where the Log is Cut into Quarters and then Sliced.
Decorating Gallery 3.12 Red Oak Unfinished Flooring Strips Showing the Tongue and Groove Method of Attaching Strips to Each Other.
Hardwood lumber is classified according to quality, based on the number of undesirable growth characteristics. The quality classifications are common or select. Common grades are suitable for general construction purposes. Select grades provide a surface suitable for finishes. The American Hardwood Export Council publishes size and grading rules for sawn hardwood lumber. Grading rules set by the Architectural Woodwork Institute in their Architectural Woodwork Standards can be used to control hardwood lumber produced for interior use.