Ordering Heavy for Green Lumber

-by NHLA Chief Inspector, Mr. Dana Spessert

Over the years I have witnessed changes in the ways that customers order hardwood lumber. One of the bigger changes has been in the practice of ordering hardwoods and specifying 1/8” heavy for green lumber. There are several reasons why customers order lumber 1/8” over thickness, one is that this has been common practice for a very long time in sawmill production because without the extra thickness the end-user may not be able to manufacture their goods out of the lumber.

Closely related to the over thickness ordering practice is the question most often asked in our training classes about paragraph 4, in the NHLA Rules Book:

“Lumber shall be inspected and measured as the inspector finds it, of full length, width and thickness. No allowance shall be made for the purpose of raising the grade, except that in rough stock, wane, and other defects which can be removed by surfacing to standard rough thickness shall not be considered.”

Question: “Does paragraph 4 allow the removal of wane and other defects when the Purchase Order requires 1/8” over thickness?”

Answer: Paragraph 4 explicitly states surfacing to “standard rough thickness”, so the answer is, yes, provided the wane and other defects can be removed in surfacing to Standard Rough Thickness then they shall not be considered in the Clear Face Cuttings.

Another issue that is closely related to the over thickness ordering practice is warp and cup. In our classes we emphasize that there are 2 different areas in the Rules Book that address warp and cup defects.

First, as part of the Cutting definition, paragraph 29: “In the Common grades, a cutting shall be flat enough to surface two sides to standard surfaced thickness after it has been removed from the board. In the grades of Selects and Better the entire board must be flat enough to surface two sides to standard surfaced thickness

Second, as part of the Warp and Cup FAS limitations, paragraph 61: “Warp and Cup shall be admitted if the entire board will surface two sides to standard surfaced thickness in accordance with the rules for lumber surfaced two sides”

The extra thickness has become normal practice to accommodate these two issues mentioned, as well as the sawing variation that happens throughout the sawing of lumber. A lot of the above issues, especially with the warp and cup can be overcome by proper yarding and kiln practices.

If you or anyone on your team have any further questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Dana Spessert or one of the National Inspectors. You can reach Dana Spessert at [email protected] or 901-399-7551.