Appearance grades are assigned to lumber intended for applications where appearance is the most important factor. These grades cover products ranging from the exquisitely beautiful to the most utilitarian. They may be sold as SELECTS, FINISH or COMMON boards, run-to-pattern for siding and paneling products, or used for a variety of purposes. The grades of appearance products are often certified by written documentation rather than marked on the lumber. Some products may be identified or grade stamped on the back side or ends, but the highest grades are rarely stamped to avoid marring the beauty of the wood.
Unlike the structural grades, appearance lumber is milled and graded according to aesthetic rather than structural performance criteria. Color, grain pattern, texture, knot type and size are the factors that influence the grade.
As defined by the Western Wood Products Association: Lumber grades of Douglas Fir are assigned on the basis of visual inspection and/or mechanical testing and are divided into three basic classifications which reflect the intended end uses:
Structural lumber for residential, commercial and industrial uses is graded for its performance in load bearing or load-carrying applications. Physical working characteristics are the primary considerations and appearance is secondary. These products are typically grade stamped with the following information:
Because both appearance and dimensional stability are important, Doug Fir‘s characteristics make it an excellent choice for wood beams, interior and exterior trim, interior paneling, door casings, mantels, flooring and other products. When dried, it does not check or show a raised grain.
Selected for visual appearance, as well as structural strength, we can provide Doug Fir timbers in most any size or grade, Select Appearance being the most common. Our Doug Fir timbers are also available “free of heart”, which means that the bull’s eye heart wood found in the center of most beams is absent. Free of heart timbers are more stable and are less prone to checking than timbers with heart wood.
If desired, your Doug Fir timbers can be provided kiln dried or surfaced on all four sides.
Douglas Fir is North America’s most plentiful softwood species, but is technically not a true fir, pine or spruce. It grows very plentiful in the Pacific Northwest coast forests, which is governed by some of the world’s toughest environmental laws that provide protection for watersheds, soil and natural habitats. Reforestation by systematic replanting has been on record in these forests since 1912.
Doug Fir is unique among all softwood species in that it is naturally dimensionally stable, having the ability to season well in position. When initially milled, it is a creamy yellow that darkens and reddens over time when exposed to light.
It has remarkably straight grain and has become the favorite choice for timber framing and exposed beam building due to the wide availability of large timbers. The lovely color of Doug Fir and ability to machine into exceptionally smooth pieces, make it a popular choice for interior and exterior trim, flooring, interior paneling, as well as siding. It also can hold all types of stains and finishes, including paint.
Factory and Shop grades are assigned to lumber intended to be re-cut, to recover the clear portions in the piece for manufacturing into other wood products such as windows, doors and cabinets, and for moulding, trim and specialty products.
While there are special categories within each of these broad classifications, nearly all lumber grades fall within them. Douglas Fir products are available in all three classifications and many Douglas Fir products are available in special grades and sizes for international markets.
Moisture content levels are carefully controlled in the highest grades to ensure these premium products will meet the strict dimensional stability requirements of finish carpenters, furniture manufacturers and cabinet makers. The less “perfect” grades are an economical choice for many utilitarian applications.
Photo and craftsmanship by Quantum Construction
Photo and craftsmanship by Craig Youngquist Construction. See more project photos on our blog by clicking HERE