Whether you are ordering through one of our retailers or directly from us, it is important that we clearly understand your needs. Therefore, it is important that we understand what you are building. The basic grade of lumber that is used in construction, from residential housing to bridges and other structures, is grade #2 NLGA. So for most residential uses, #2 will do. It is also the most cost effective compromise between strength and beauty. So if you are building a shed, garage or barn, or if you enjoy the rustic look of your project, #2 is your grade.
However, if you have higher demands, primarily aesthetical, we will cut higher grade lumber or timbers. And what may be just as important, we pay attention to grain, discolourations, weathering, checking, etc. to help you achieve the desired effects.
One more thing is important. Wood does shrink during the drying (seasoning) process. The internal structure of wood results in shrinkage differential between radial and tangential directions in each piece of wood.
It is important to note here that wood does not shrink longitudinally. So if that piece is still too short a week after you cut it, you must have cut it that way, and dead wood doesn’t grow anymore either. The ultimate consolation prize for a woodworker is that you can’t cut it too short to burn. So, longitudinal shrinkage is a non-issue.
To control the shrinkage in thickness and width and the resulting checking, we often cut timbers free of heart. That means that the whole piece (timber) is cut from one side or half of the log. The radial/tangential shrinkage differential is literally cut in half, and the internal stresses are, to a large extent, released. The price of free of heart timbers is approximately 30% higher.