What types of hardwoods will you consider for your next project?
There are many types of hardwoods. Hardwoods are milled and sold in a fundamentally different manner than framing lumber and pine boards. This is due to the increased value of hardwoods, and that softwoods are generally used in construction.
In construction, there is obviously a large need for uniformly-sized pieces (think studs!)
Hardwoods are used in furniture, fixtures, cabinets, and moldings. There is little uniform sizing between projects in hardwoods. To maximize the yield of the valuable hardwood, each board is cut to yield the maximum amount of usable material.
Every piece is sawn as wide and long as the log allows, then trimmed just enough to make the ends square (and generally one edge straight). This production method limits waste and reduces costs in both lost material and extra machining.
Therefore, the widths and lengths are random and even the best grades allow for some level of “defect”. No other method could keep the cost at its lowest possible level and maximize yields.
There are many types of hardwoods available.
Determining your “yield” is paramount in project planning and minimizing costs. Oak, cherry, maple, and poplar are readily available in pre-machined board sizes (1×4, 1×6, 1×8, 1×10 and 1×12**).
The most common thickness will be “4/4”, netting out to approximately ¾”. A 5/4 thickness is approximately 1⅛” thick, 6/4 is 1⅜” and 8/4 is 1¾”. Many other hardwood species are available in two other ways:
Surfaced 2 Sides (S2S):
Meaning individual boards have been planed down to the net 13/16” thickness (other thicknesses available). This enables you to view the entire board for appearance. If requested, the wood can be additionally machined. Remember that each additional machining step will add expense for the milling completed and the “lost” wood to further refine the board(s).
Put another way – you’re paying for the work to create a beautiful board and the scraps that you’ll never see. This is the best way to purchase hardwoods for most projects and customers.
Straight Line Ripped (SLR):
Meaning that one of the edges has been cut straight so that you can place that edge against your saw fence and rip to whatever exact width you need. Keep in mind that the boards can vary in width from one end to the other.
These are boards that have been rough sawn by the mill and shipped. If you order 1” thickness, that’s what you will receive. Although this is the most economical way to buy hardwoods since there hasn’t been additional milling done to the boards; the roughness of the boards can hide both the beauties and the beasts.
Obviously, you maximize yield of the wood but end up doing most of the work (planing, straight-line ripping, etc).
Surfaced 4 Sides (S4S):
Another variation is S4S boards, which are perfectly machined boards (i.e., 1×6 nominal, net measurement is 5½”).
This is the most convenient, but MOST expensive way to purchase hardwoods because you’re indirectly paying for all the work and waste going into making that “perfect” board (you don’t get the trims).
We stock at least a few boards in over 20 hardwood species!
In addition to carrying 1×4 through 1×12 in Red Oak, Maple, Poplar, and Cherry, we now carry domestic hardwoods including White Oak, Ash, Hickory, Alder, Walnut, Sugar Pine and Aromatic Cedar.
In more “exotic” species, we have a selection including: Wenge, Zebrawood, Lacewood, Padauk, Bubinga, and Mahogany.
See our hardwood size charts, hardwood species we stock, and more.