Helpful Tips About Lumber

If you're building, whether by hiring a professional or doing it yourself, remember that the materials you use are equally as important as the workmanship that goes into the project. You can find good selection of all needed materials at any Sutherlands.

Wood is the starting point for any woodworking project. If you are just beginning in woodworking, there will be a lot to learn about the large array of types and grades of lumber as well as the various sizes and different wood types. You can secure friendly and expert help from Sutherlands employees. You'll need to know the different types of lumber and how it is sold and sized.

There is softwood and hardwood. Softwoods are from conifers and hardwoods from deciduous trees. However, this can be misleading because although hardwoods are usually harder than softwoods, some softwoods are actually harder than some named hardwoods such as poplar and aspen. Softwoods are usually less expensive, easier to work with, and more readily available. Hardwood may be more expensive, but it is usually because of its greater richness, wide range of color, grain, and texture.

Lumber is sold either by the lineal foot or the board foot. It may even sometimes be sold by the pound. The lineal foot is the length of the piece itself. The board foot is the most common way to order for volume. Sutherlands used to quote prices by one thousand board feet. Now prices by the piece is the most common method.

Most woodworking beginners would assume that a 2x4 board is actually two inches thick by four inches wide. Never assume! This is considered the nominal size of the lumber--its size sliced from the log. However, after the piece is dried and planed, it's actually reduced to a smaller size. Almost all softwood lumber is planed (surfaced) on four sides, but some species are also sold un-surfaced for outdoor use. Dimensions can vary. Be sure to ask an employee at Sutherlands for the actual size--not the nominal size. Sutherlands lumber experts offer advice for your knowledge and information.

Hardwoods may be sold in random widths and lengths, odd-size thickness, and many times are sold with rough edges. Hardwoods are usually surfaced a little thicker than softwoods.

Wondering what plywood, hardboard, or particle board is? They are manufactured products and do offer some advantages. One is its availability in large sheets and the other is cost. Plywood is most likely the most well known, but the other sheet materials of hardboard, particle board and even fiberboard are slowly gaining popularity.
Sutherlands® provides these project tips and guides as a service to our visitors. Due to possible variance in conditions, equipment, materials and individual skill levels, Sutherlands® assumes no responsibility for losses or injuries incurred during maintenance or repair of your property. Sutherlands® assumes no liability for errors or omissions in the Resources section of this website. Please read and follow any safety precautions provided by tool and equipment manufacturers, and consult a building professional in your area if you have any questions about a repair project. Always check your local codes before building, and obtain the required building permits.