19 Aug. 1990|
Common wood and lumber defects,wood boot jack plans,wooden carving blanks - Test Out
This story gives you details about the types of lumber you can choose for your built-in project. The lumber used to make furniture-quality projects differs in several ways from the dimensional lumber used in building construction.
Commonly available lumber made from softwood species, such as those shown at right, is cut from coniferous evergreen trees, which do not drop their needles each year.
Softwood boards 1 inch thick -- the type you'd use for bookcases and shelves -- are sold in 2-inch-width increments, such as 1x2, 1x4, and so on up to 1x12.
You won't want to use boards that display any of the major defects illustrated below, especially ones that are warped. Produced by broad-leafed, deciduous trees that -- in the world's temperate zone -- lose their leaves each year, hardwoods are often used for cabinets and furniture because of their beauty, stability, strength, machining predictability, and resistance to abuse. Philippine mahogany: Imported and hard to find but easy to work and stain to imitate real mahogany. Hardwood trees are not as abundant as softwood trees in North America, so their lumber is more valuable.
By exploring your options, looking for common defects, and successfully matching the grain and color of your boards, you are sure to end up with a great-looking project.
It's drier (less than 9 percent moisture content), has fewer defects (the number depends on the grade), and costs more. The best softwood lumber for furniture construction is listed in the chart at the bottom of the opposite page.
They're graded both by appearance and by the amount of decay-resistant heartwood the boards contain -- the more, the better. But, you need to remember that all of your boards will eventually get cut up, moved around, and reassembled into something new. The first step to becoming a savvy lumber shopper is to learn the difference between softwoods and hardwoods. That means it will remain stable in use and will be less likely to swell, shrink, crack, or warp over time.
The wood you choose will determine the final look of your project and how easily it fits together, so it's important to select carefully.
Your choices in wood species and grain configurations are essentially endless when you expand your search online.
Reject boards with loose ones -- they'll have a visible dark line around them and will work loose and eventually drop out.
Go to a specialty hardwood dealer, though, and hardwoods are cut into random widths and lengths and sold by the board foot.
Tight knots, on the other hand, are structurally sound but must be coated with a sealer before painting so they don't weep sap and discolor the paint. Highly figured wood grain may look cool, but be prepared to spend more time getting all of the boards to match up.