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The Basics of Hardwood Lumber Grades
Poplar Cedar Pine Cedar Larch Asparagus Lamb Wooden Maple Leaf Pine Tree Eucalyptus Wood Bamboo Wood Balsam Wood Ash Lobsteria Willow Wood Trees Dictyophora Sophora japonica Eucalyptus Green Beet Wood Teak Wooden Wooden Woody Woody Woody Wooden Bamboo Wood Bamboo other domestic sawn timber

North American wood

Red rubber and white rubber and pine (SPF) Douglas fissure loose pine pine salsa black walnut maple white wax fried willow red cedar eucalyptus cherry wood spruce walnut birch birch poplar beech charcoal wood lizards cypress cypress wood cypress wood other North American wood

South American wood

(South American red rosewood) ) Serpentine Wooden Bean Black Gold Sandaline Basalt Radix Pine Line South American Teak Rose Rose Rose Violet Cabbage (South American Chicken / Coffee Heart) Other
South American wood

Russian material

Pinus sylvestris larch pine spruce white pine birch birch mongolica fir tree larch wood linden wood cedar pine pine lime poplar pine wood other Russian material
African wood








Hardwood Lumber Grading
Hardwood lumber grading is a complex process using rules maintained by the National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA: www.natlhardwood.org).  The NHLA rules were designed to provide the furniture industry a mathematically measurable method to grade lumber for its amount of clear, defect free wood.

Hardwood grades are based on the size and number of clear pieces that can be obtained from a board when it is cut up to be used to make a product. Grades are not determined by gut reactions to what a person thinks the grade should be, but actual measurements of clear sections and definitions for defects.

The Standard Grades Of Hardwood Lumber Are:

Lumber sold by Woodworkers Source, unless marked otherwise, is graded “Select” or higher; however, some boards may be cut for shipping or to make “Packs”.   In these cases your yield will exceed the National Hardwood Lumber Association standard.  Some imported woods are available only in small cuttings.



Min. board width

Min. board length

Min. cutting size

Min. Area of
clear cuttings required

Firsts and Seconds




4″ x 5′ or
3″ x 7′


FAS One Face




4″ x 5′ or
3″ x 7′






4″ x 5′ or
3″ x 7


No. 1 Common




4″ x 2′ or
3″ x 3′


No. 2A Common




3″ x 2′


No. 2B Common




3″ x 2′


No. 3A Common




1-1/2″ x 2′


In practice, some of the above grades are rarely used in the commercial trade and others are typically combined.  For example, lumber graded “Select & Better” would include FAS, F1F, and Select boards.  No. 2A Common and No. 2B Common may be combined as “No. 2 Common”.   In addition there are special rules for some species and special designations for special selections or agreements between the buyer and seller.

The upper grades, FAS, F1F and SEL, are most suitable for mouldings, joinery products such as door frames, architectural interiors and furniture requiring a high percentage of long wide cuttings. It should be noticed that FAS – the highest grade – is not synonymous with being 100% clear material.

The Common grades are likely to be most suitable for the cabinet industry, most furniture parts and flooring.  Explore the use of the common grades to achieve the most value considering lumber cost and yield.

For complete details the grading rule book can be purchased from the National Hardwood Lumber Association.

While most woodworkers would like to have a large, clear, defect free board this may be a waste of a valuable resource.  When selecting wood for a woodworking project, consider the size of the boards required. In many situations, smaller boards or lower grades are a more economical choice than the higher grades if small, clear pieces are required.

The standard hardwood lumber grades are summarized below:

Firsts and Seconds (FAS)
The best and most expensive grade. Boards 6″ and wider, 8′ and longer. Yields 83-1/3 percent of clear face cuttings with minimum sizes of 4″ x 5′, or 3″ x 7′.  Board is graded from the poorer face. Suitable for fine furniture, cabinetry and applications where clear, wide boards are needed.

FAS One Face(F1F)
The same as FAS except the board is graded from the better face.

Face side is FAS, back side is No. 1 Common. Boards are 4″ and wider, 6′ and longer. Yields 83-1/3 percent clear face cuttings with minimum sizes of 4″ x 5′, or 3″ x 7′. A cost effective substitute for FAS when only one good face is required or smaller cuttings are acceptable.

No. 1 Common
A typical thrift or “shop” grade.  Boards are 3″ and wider, 4′ and longer. Yields 66-2/3 percent clear face cuttings with minimum sizes of 4″ x 2′, or 3″ x 3′. Provides good value, especially if relatively small pieces can be used.

No. 2A & 2B Common
Boards are 3″ and wider, 4′ and longer. Yields 50 percent clear face cuttings 3″ and wider by 2′ and longer. Suitable for some paneling and flooring applications.

No. 3A Common
Boards are 3″ and wider, 4′ and longer. Yields 33-1/3 percent clear face cuttings 3″ and wider by 2′ and longer. Economical choice for rough utility applications:, crates, palettes, fencing, etc.

No. 3B Common
Boards are 3″ and wider, 4′ and longer. Yields 25 percent clear face cuttings 1-1/2″ and wider by 2′ and longer. Applications same as No. 3A Common.

Source: National Hardwood Lumber Association

What are the difference of timber ,lumber and plywood

Source from : http://www.differencebetween.net/object/difference-between-lumber-and-timber/ and http://www.whatisdifferencebetween.com/general-knowledge/what-is-the-difference-between-plywood-timber-and-lumber.html 

We get wood from almost all type of trees and use it for various domestic and industrial purposes. Wood is no doubt, one of the most ancient raw material that is used for making wide range of domestic and industrial goods and still used in the same manner. Plywood, Timber and Lumber are the names of wood products that are often confusing for most of the people due to their similar names. Many people think that these three words are interchangeable and refer to the same product. However, there are some differences between them that are as following.


Plywood is a wood product that is prepared by wood veneers means very thin slices of wood that do not have thickness more than 3 mm glued together to make plywood. To prepare plywood, the grains of adjacent plies should be at right angle to each other. It is one of most widely using wood product thanks to its greater strength, durability, shrinkage and cracking resistance. Moreover, it is cheaper and reusable wood product.


The word timber is mostly used for the wood of alive or standing trees rather than cut trees. However, the word timber is in fact a term that is also used for wood products like timber floor board in various parts of the globe especially in Australia and New Zealand. However, Americans and Canadians use this word for the wood of living tress that can be used to make wood boards.


Lumber is also used in similar meanings as timber. It is also a term that has different meanings in different parts of the world. It can be any form or stage of wood either raw form or finished form and the meanings depends upon trend of belong to different areas.

Plywood vs Timber vs Lumber

Plywood is simply the product of wood that is used for making doors, furniture, floor and roof panels, die-cutting boards, sports and musical instruments and a long range of wooden products that is just due to its flexibility, durability and shrinkage resistance. However, timber and lumber are two similar words that are mostly used as synonyms of each others. in Canada and United States timber means raw wood and lumber means wooden boards in cut form. However, this concept is entirely opposite in New Zealand, Australia and United Kingdom where timber means sawn wooden products unlike the word “lumber” that is used for raw wood.

Difference Between Lumber and Timber

Lumber vs Timber

Lumber and timber are obviously wooden products. In many places worldwide, these two terms are being used interchangeably. However, there are some regions that make certain distinctions between the two.

In most cases, timber is said to be the wood that is currently erect and is attached firmly to the earth’s ground. This is the term used for a tree that has not yet been processed into lumber. On the contrary, lumber is generally accepted as the wood that is no longer attached to the ground and is often seen as the laid down or processed wood.

Secondly, timber is usually the term used for a piece of wood that still has its bark on whereas lumber is usually bark-less in nature. The latter usually undergoes a drying process and has a firm finish to it. Lumber is often prepared with accurate measurements and is almost always ready for use in construction and furniture making.


Depending on the country, timber is the common name used for wooden boards. In the U.K. and Australia whereas lumber is the one used for the same kind of product in the U.S. and in most parts of Canada. In this same region (U.S. & Canada), they adopt the term timber for a piece of lumber with a relatively small measurement of no less than five inches or 127 mm. For them, timber is also the non-processed standing wood.

Due to its processed or finished nature, it is the word ‘lumber’ that is dominantly used for commercial purposes and sale. For timber to be made commercially available for construction, it is usually necessary for it to undergo finishing first before it is sent to the market.
In history, it can also be accounted for that timber is the earlier word to be formulated and used by the masses. As early as the 7th century, people have already been using timber to refer to all types of wood products. It was only about the 1600s that the word lumber began to flourish.

1.Timber is dominantly considered as the wood that is still attached to the ground whereas lumber is no longer standing on the ground.
2.Timber is widely accepted as the wood with its bark still on whereas lumber no longer has the wooden bark.
3.Timber is the word used to refer to wooden boards in the U.K. and Australia while lumber is the wooden board for the American and Canadian denomination.
4.Lumber is the finished wood product that is often made commercially available especially in construction whereas timber still has to be cut and processed for it to be sold for construction purposes.
5.Timber is an older term compared to lumber, which was coined more recently.