Are you planning an upcoming home improvement project? Maybe it’s constructing a sturdy wood deck or handcrafting a beautiful custom dining table. Before the work can begin, you need the perfect lumber for the job. Heading to the lumber store in search of the right wood for a home improvement project can be intimidating for both first time DIY-ers and woodworking pros.
Finding the perfect type of wood is key to success in every type of project. Picking one that isn’t properly suited for the conditions or demands of the job can end in disaster. Luckily, knowing a few different lumber facts can help you be prepared to select the optimal wood for whatever project you are planning. Use this information to guide your shopping the next time you head to the lumber store in Houston, TX.
Hardwoods and softwoods
Despite what their names suggest, this doesn’t have anything to do with the hardness or softness of the wood. Hardwood comes from deciduous trees, like walnut, mahogany, walnut and birch. Conifer trees make up softwoods. Some of the most common softwood tree sources are cedar, pine, spruce and fir.
Hardwood grading is based on the presence and number of defects in a board, while softwoods are split into two separate categories of construction and appearance. Wood suited for construction is graded on strength. Woods can also be graded based on appearance when looks are the most important factor.
The behavior and appearance of wood can change based on how the board was cut from the log. Expect to choose between these three different types of cuts:
- Plain-sawn: This type of cut results in minimal waste, but it is prone to twisting.
- Quarter-sawn: The log is cut into four portions before the remaining quarters are then sliced along the axis to create a sturdy board. This process tends to yield quite a bit of waste, though.
- Rift-sawn: This technique involves cutting along the radius of the grain to create a matching grain pattern on each cut. This results in the strongest board. It also is the most expensive option.
Defects can be naturally occurring or manmade. Conversion is the most common type of defect. It most commonly occurs if an improper sawing technique is used while the lumber is being processed. Fungus can develop if the wood is grown or processed in locations where warm conditions and high humidity are the norm. The presence of insects and abnormal tree growth can also lead to a number of defects. Take special care to inspect the wood thoroughly for any defects before purchasing.
Lumber is generally cut to standardized widths and depths before being delivered to a lumber store in Houston, TX. Stud or precut sizes are available for wall framing. A lumber specialist will be able to cut the board down to fit your exact needs.
Any other questions? Stop by Houston Hardwoods Inc. today. Our team of specialists will help you find the perfect lumber for your next home improvement project.