Grading Soft Lumber in Seattle: What you Need to Know

As with anything out there, lumber comes in a variety of different quality levels—levels that you’re going to need to know a little something about before you start buying up any old boards! In fact, lumber is graded, so that you know exactly what you’re getting when you decide to make an investment. Knowing what each grade means is a good way of identifying the value you’re getting for your money.

Let’s explore the grades given to soft lumber in Seattle and what each grade says about the quality of the wood, as well as what it might be ideally used for when you get around to using it for a project.

  • C Select: This is the highest grade that soft lumber can achieve. Lumber grading out at C Select is nearly flawless in its composition—meaning no knots or other defects that might become pronounced when you start working with it. This type of lumber is going to be best suited for aesthetic projects—kitchen cabinets, trim and other wood features of your home that are going to “pop.”
  • D Select: A slight step down from pristine, D Select is also a keen option for any projects that are going to rely on a superior aesthetic material. The difference in this grade is going to be the presence of very small knots—most likely small enough to be covered with your thumb.
  • 1 Common: This is the grade that most projects are going to be completed with because it’s a natural looking solution to woodworking. This grade has knots of all sizes, but they’re tight and won’t fall out over time. The wood grain itself is going to be very even and will look pristine when treated and stained.
  • 2 Common: This is where the quality of the wood starts to taper down just a bit. You’re going to get 2 Common grade wood for a decent price, but the knots are going to be a bit bigger. Nevertheless, this grade is quite suitable for woodworking projects of all types and can frequently be seen in many home installations.
  • 3 Common: This is going to be your fence-grade material. Knots are going to be larger and sometimes looser, however 3 Common grade is by no means an inferior option for soft lumber in Seattle! In fact, 3 Common allows you to build shelves, boxes, fences and more, all at a reasonable price!

Now, in addition to the grades listed above, you’re also likely to find segmented grades of lumber in Seattle. These grades are most frequently given to construction materials used for framing and building. These grades look like this:

  • Construction
  • Standard
  • Utility
  • Select structural

It’s important to look at the grade of the wood you’re buying before you make an investment and to keep in mind what the final use of that wood is going to be, to make sure you’re picking out the right grade to justify your investment. Think of it this way, you’re not going to want the same grade of wood when you’re building kitchen cabinets as you are when you’re framing a wall!

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