Colour Sorting in Hardwood Lumber
Although colour is not considered when grading
lumber, some mills will sort for colour to meet
specific end user requirements.
Sorting for colour in hardwood lumber starts with
separating sapwood from heartwood and finishes
with checking for colour consistency.
Sapwood: The living portion of the tree extending
from the heartwood to the bark. Sapwood tends to
be lighter than heartwood.
Heartwood: Extending from the pith to the
sapwood, it is the dead portion of the tree and
is a darker shade than sapwood.
Birch Colour Grading
Sap and Better: Minimum of one face sapwood in
the clear cuttings.
Unselected: No colour sort has been done, material
will vary in percentage of heartwood and sapwood.
Cherry Colour Grading
Cherry is typically sold red–1–face in the cuttings.
The colour of heartwood varies from light to dark
depending on grades and region. Red Cherry can
be defined between buyer and seller, with a specific
percentage attributed to both the front and reverse
faces that is red in the cuttings. For example, 95/50
would indicate that 95% of the boards would be red
8 Colour SORTING IN HARDWOOD LUMBER
on the front face and that a minimum of 50% of
the boards would be red on the reverse face. Please
speak to your Sales Representative to match the
product to your application.
Maple Colour Grading
#1 White: Both faces and edges must be all
sapwood within the cuttings of the grade.
#2 White: One face and both edges must be
sapwood and a minimum of 50% sapwood on the
reverse face within the cutting of the grade.
Sap 1 Face: Minimum of one face sapwood in the
Brown: Material remaining after previous sorts will
be primarily heartwood. It may also include stain
and sticker shadow.
• Colour Sorted Hard Maple available:
• #1 White
• #1 and #2 White
• Sap and Better
• Colour Sorted Soft Maple available:
• #1 and #2 white
• Sap and Better
Oak Colour Grading
Oak is typically identified in the industry as Red Oak
or White Oak. But in fact, there are many different
species of Red Oak that have different colour
characteristics. In addition, the colour and texture
of the wood will be affected by the specific
As a result, to determine the appropriate colour for
your application, it is important to consider region
(Northern, Appalachian or Southern), mill, sort
and specifications. Please consult with your Sales
Representative to ensure you receive the product
that meets your requirements.