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Lumber Drying & Techniques
Grades Definition
Milling Methods & Resulting Grain Patterns
Salvage Wood Definition

Redwood Grades -

  • Clear All Heart - is an exceptional grade that is clear of knots and contains only the durable heartwood that gives redwood its name.  

    • Uses include furniture and other projects requiring exceptional consistency.

  • Select Heart - is a quality heartwood grade containing limited knots and other characteristics not permitted in Clear Heart; may contain minimal amounts of sapwood.

    • Uses include siding, paneling, trim, fascia, molding and other architectural uses.

  • Construction Heart (Con Heart) - is a heartwood grade containing knots of varying sizes and other slight imperfections.

    • Recommended for work on or near the ground and for posts, beams, joists and deck boards.

Pine Grades -

  • Clear- limiting provisions include small seasoning checks, occasional very light skips on edges and backs. Allows for small, sound tight knots or their equivalent.

    • Ideally suited to applications where a tighter grain pattern is required.

  • Select (Select Tight Knot or STK) - star checked and/or slightly chipped knots permitted. Knots, burls and naturally occurring markings are of fairly uniform distribution and add to the decorative wood character.

    • Uses include structural and nonstructural applications, including framing houses and barns and constructing rural furniture and for craft hobbies.​​

Hardwood Grades -

  • Firsts and Seconds (FAS) - the best and most expensive grade. 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.

  • Selects (SEL) - face side is FAS, back side is No. 1 Common. A cost effective substitute for FAS when only one good face is required or smaller cuttings are acceptable.

Plain Sawn -

Is the most common and cost-effective method of cutting timber and is characterized by "Cathedral" or "Flame" grain patterns. Plain sawn lumber may have vertical grain elements as well but will be less prominent than in other milling methods. 

Quarter Sawn -

Is a milling technique which quarters a log and produces both a "Vertical" grain pattern as well as a "Ray" or "Flake" pattern. Although it provides a cleaner and tighter grain pattern, it produces more waste and is a less efficient milling method than the plain saw method.

Rift Sawn -

Is the least efficient method of milling timber, however it results in an extremely tight "Vertical" grain pattern, with virtually no "Flaming" or "Rays & Flakes". Note - It is much more difficult to produce wide boards using this method of milling, as trees are round.

* If you need a visual, here's an article on this topic:

We air dry our lumber and prefer this method over kiln drying as it generally produces richer and more natural coloring of the wood we mill. The term air-dried can often be misleading. People use it to mean many different things. It should mean that the wood was allowed to dry outdoors and reach an equilibrium moisture content with its outdoor environment. This is generally in the range of 10% to 15% moisture content, depending upon several factors including season and species. This equilibrium range, although stable for many projects, isn't quite suitable to work with, at least in furniture making. The wood should be brought indoors or to the environment it will be used in to establish a resting equilibrium; we recommend a week or two.


The air drying technique which we use is an age-old method of "stickering" wood in a stack which is protected from the elements. We follow recommended guidelines published by the US Department of Agriculture.

"Salvaged Wood" is timber from a tree/log that has fallen over or died naturally by means of the wind, fire, disease or other means. We do not harvest live timber, unless a property owner has legal rights to remove the timber from their property in order to eliminate a property hazard, such as interference with power lines, roof lines, egress or fire. When available, we will also stock “reclaimed wood”. Reclaimed wood generally refers to aged, recycled timber and lumber that was harvested a long time ago, used in construction, and then salvaged when the original building was torn down.

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