Rules Corner: Ask the Chief

Question: “Does the First Lineal Foot rule apply to the 1 Common side of an FAS One Face board?”

To answer this question, let’s take a look at the FAS One Face Rule found on page 16, paragraph 64 of the 2019 NHLA Rules Book, first paragraph:

“Shall grade not below FAS on the better face for the particular species, and not below No. 1 Common on the reverse side. The reverse side of the cuttings in both FAS and No. 1 Common are not required to be sound.”

If you look closely at the wording, it states that each face is graded independently from each other, indicating that each side of the board has its own requirements. For the FAS side, that would include all six defect limitations, including paragraph 59, as stated below:

“Within one lineal foot from the ends of the boards of standard lengths there must be 50% clear wood, and not less than 25% of sound wood in the aggregate.”

For the 1 Common side, there is only one defect limitation for the grade of 1 Common and this is listed on page 17, paragraph 72:

“No piece shall be admitted which contains pith, boxed or showing, exceeding in the aggregate one-half its length.”

This brings us to the last part of the explanation, the defect limitation specifically for FAS One Face.

“Wane on the No. 1 Common side is limited to the following: the width of wane from both edges, when added together, cannot exceed 1/3 the total width of the piece. The total length of wane on either edge cannot exceed 1/2 the length.” – second paragraph under the FAS One Face rule located on page 16, paragraph 64.

As you can see, the wane for the FAS One Face is limited only on the 1 Common side of the board, because it is already limited on the FAS side from the wane limitation listed under FAS as one of the six defect limitations.

“Wane shall not exceed on either edge of the piece over one-half the length in the aggregate.” – page 14, paragraph 57

One of the more confusing things about FAS One Face is that the board can have wane that exceeds 1/3 the width, as long as that face will cut FAS in clear face cuttings and that all six limitations are met.

I urge you to join me every month on Facebook for “Live with the Chief” where you can submit your hardwood lumber grading related questions to me in real-time. hold on a monthly basis. Who knows, you may even be able to stump me! Join us for our next Live with the Chief TOMORROW at 1 PM CST on our Facebook!


– Dana Spessert, NHLA Chief Inspector can be reached by email at [email protected] or at 901-399-7551.