Wood is a very versatile material used for a number of purposes in multiple industries. Hardwoods are used for a number of reasons. As a consequence, the planting of trees that produce hardwoods has increased in United States forests. Since 1953, the volume of these trees in forests around the nation has gone up by 119%. If you are looking for the right lumber for your projects, these tips should help:
- Get hardwood lumber in thicker boards. When measuring rough lumber, the thickness if often measured in one-quarter inch sections. You will lose a chunk of the wood during the planing process so you need to get wood slabs that are thicker than you think you will need.
- Bring along the right tools. When you go to one of the lumber yards in your area, you need to bring your calculator and measuring tape to the yard. This way you can measure the wood and calculate what you should pay for it. Often the price is determined by the volume of wood you buy. There is a formula you can apply to get the correct amount you will owe for the wood you need. A board foot or bd.ft. is 12 inches by 12 inches by one inch (the thickness) or 144 cubic inches. When wood is priced out, it is done per bd.ft. All you need to do is take the amount of bd.ft you are buying by the price.
- Get longer wood slabs than you think you need. Just as you should get thicker wood than you think it needs to be, you need to get longer pieces of wood. There will parts that you need to cut out of the wood such as knots, wild grain, or checks. So if you need eight-foot lengths, you should buy the boards at nine or ten feet long.
- Do not judge your hardwoods by how pretty they are. Sometimes, wood that is the best quality may not be the prettiest at the lumber yard. The yield is what matters the most, not how great the raw lumber looks. If you see some off-color sapwood, that is no reason to not buy that piece of wood.
- Always buy more lumber than you think you will need. Some people make the mistake of only buying the exact amount of hardwoods that they think they will need. You always use up some of the wood you buy in the process of getting it ready to use for your project. No rough lumber is free of all imperfections, no matter what the grade is that you buy. Experts recommend buying anywhere between 15% and 20% more than you think you will need. This will save you time and money in the long run. There are differences in the kinds of wood out there that can impact the amount of extra wood you will need to buy. Oak tends to have less in the way of defects.
- Get the color you want. This is one area where it pays to be a bit fussy. All it takes for your project to be thrown off is one single board that is the wrong color. You can usually tell if boards match each other even when they are in the rough state. When you sand them, do it someplace with good lighting. That can help you compare your boards.
- Learn how to deal with warped hardwoods. Unfortunately, the wood manufacturing process itself can lead to some warping in hardwoods. When the drying process is over, some wood that was treated come out a bit warped. There can even be a number of different warps in a single board. While this is not ideal, there are things that you can do to deal with it. The warps can be twisted, cupped, bowed, or crooked. There are ways to flatten out wood that has been warped.
There are a lot of specialty wood products made from hardwoods today. Hardwood floors can make a home look more classy and sophisticated. Finding the right wood for the project you are working on takes time and effort but this is well spent. Your project will come out better if you do your prep work.