Making the Grade in Lumber Quality

Selecting the right piece of framing lumber for your project does not have to be as complex as the grading rules. This guide to the grades of lumber, is meant to help you get past the uncertainty by giving you the knowledge of what the grades allow and how to achieve an apple to apple comparison of what you see.

In the Pacific Northwest, our common framing lumber species are:

Every species has different characteristics for strength and appearance, but they are all graded on the same rules from the American Lumber Standards Committee.  The grades, for all that they do, are not much more than a way of telling the user what kind of quality they are buying.

The higher the grade, the better the lumber.

Before going into the Lumber Grading Standards chart to understand grades we need to understand each defect presented;

Checking – A crack in the board that happens along the growth rings and does not go through the entire board.

Grain – Determined by the number of growth rings in the board.  Typically measured in rings per inch and is viewed from the end grain of the board.

Knots – A naturally occurring defect in the board caused by branches as the tree grows.  Small tight knots are perfectly fine but large loose knots that may fall out are of greater concern.

Pitch or Sap – How trees heal wounds from pruning or fight off other diseases that could be otherwise harmful to a healthy tree.

Pitch Pockets – Places in the board where the tree has grown around the sap enclosing the wound.  These pockets coupled with the tight bark layer can be found in the wide face of a board and are not the same as edge wane.

Shake – The separation of woods growth rings that occurs either on the face of the wood or below the surface.

Skips – A manufacturing defect where planners and saws “bounce” along a board or pull the grain, causing an uneven surface to be presented.

Grain Slope – A measurement of the deviation from the natural growth of the board.  Simply put, it is the board cut parallel to the grain or across it.

Splits – Cracks in the wood that go all the way through the board.

Stains or Discolorations – Can be caused by insects, fungal decay, or heartwood/sapwood.  Some stains have no effect on the performance of the wood, while others limit the strength of the wood. This is because they come from the fast-growing center of the tree.

Wane -The uneven edge of the tree that used to contain the bark of the tree before it was milled.

Warp – In a board is the deviation from straight and true and is called by many different names.

  • A bow in the board is the end to end change on the wide face. This looks like the bottom of a boat.

  • A crook in the board is the warping that happens along the narrow edge. This looks like a hockey stick.

  • A cup in the board is when the wide face curves with the flat grain creating a hollow in the board. This looks like a canoe.

  • A twist in the board is a combination of multiple warping defects. This often looks like a boomerang or an airplane propeller.

Clear wood requirement is the amount of good wood left after all the defects have been removed from the clean faces of the wood.

The chart below shows the seven grades of framing lumber and the allowable deviation from a perfect piece of lumber.

Lumber Grade Stamps

The final piece of the lumber puzzle is the ability to look at a grade stamp to understand what it is telling you.   All stamps on lumber tell us the exact same information; (a) the grading agency, (b) the mill designation, (c) the approved grade, (d) the wood species group, (e) the moisture content.

Common Application

In most jurisdictions, the building code requires #2 Structural, commonly referred to as #2 & Better. This is why it is found at most lumber yards and home centers in your area.  Lumber yards will differ on the primary species family they carry.  One yard might sell Douglas Fir for the strength characteristics while another chooses Western Hemlock because it is cheaper while still meeting the same building codes.

In many commercial uses, select structural lumber is required because of the strength of the wood fiber.  Typically, these are applications with very high point loads due to the increased capacity of the structure itself for storage or for people. Most residential construction that is done with Select Structural lumber is done because the builder and the homeowner prefer the quality of the fiber.

The lesser grades of lumber are often used where structural codes do not matter in industrial or temporary applications.  These can be things like pallets and packaging for shipment or concrete footing work where one good face will usually be adequate.

Whatever lumber you choose, knowing the grade will help you determine if it is right for your project.  Grading used in conjunction with the design tables will help make sure that your project lasts for as long as you want it to.

For more information on the framing lumber grading rules, please visit the following sources;

 

Kelly Fox – CEO

Lumber Traders Inc.
Angeles Millwork & Lumber Co. Inc.
Hartnagel Building Supply

Washington Lt. Governor Meets with Lumber Traders CEO

Washington’s Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib met with Lumber Traders CEO Kelly Fox while visiting Port Angeles on Wednesday in an effort to promote regional job growth.

The Lt. Governor and Kelly discussed the culture of employee ownership in our stores and how this plays into work force development. Rebecca Wells from Contractor Sales at Angeles Millwork joined the conversation and discussed her recent training opportunities. She has attended an estimating workshop and will be attending an upcoming door college and the Women in Lumber Leadership Conference in November with Retail Sales Professional Karie Jewart from Hartnagels.

Also discussed was the development of employees internally with the skills that can be utilized at Angeles Millwork and Hartnagels. They talked about the challenges of our workforce, regulations in the building trades and possible solutions for these needs.  The final take away from the conversation with the Lt. Governor was how we can work with the community at large to assist in offering employment opportunities to those that want to make a change in life.  This led to a discussion about hiring those with a criminal background and how businesses can assist our community by helping this population get back on solid ground.

Thank you Lt. Governor Habib for taking the time out of your busy schedule to listen and discuss issues important to our local and state communities!

Congratulations Stan Wells!

We couldn’t be more proud and appreciative of Stan Wells and his strong efforts at becoming licensed as a Class B CDL driver.  Stan passed his Class B CDL license test the first time he took it with flying colors!

A Class B CDL license allows a driver to operate commercial trucks that have an attached cab and cargo area with a combined weight greater than 26,000 pounds, as well as trucks with a detached towed cargo vehicle that weighs less than 10,000 pounds. Examples of vehicles that drivers with a Class B CDL license may operate include tow trucks, dump trucks, delivery trucks and utility trucks.

Congratulations Stan, your ability to increase your skills is a huge benefit to our stores and more importantly to our customers!

Getting Your Home Ready for the Winter

Before you know it, our warm weather will be replaced by some chilly fall weather and it will be time to start thinking about getting your home ready for winter.  The following early preparation tips will go a long way to helping you avoid common winter weather pitfalls, while keeping you warm and saving you money.

Trees and shrubs

A good place to start is to look at what is going on with the trees in your yard.  If branches are crowding your home, look dead or likely to come down with stronger winds, you will be much better served by bringing them down where you want them.

Trimming trees before potential winter storms opens up the tree’s canopy, reduces fallen branches and keeps your home safe.  Although shrubs and bushes will not fall on the home, properly trimming them before the winter will insure that water and debris have little chance to collect on the surfaces of the home and siding.

If you are not sure or need a refresher on how to properly trim branches, Fiskars has an instructional post HERE on how to do just that.

Gutters

Once the trees are no longer potential hazards to your home, you’ll want to check the gutters.

Maintained gutters and downspouts divert water away from your house and protect your home and foundation from the harmful effects of water.  Scheduled cleanings may be all that is necessary to keep rain water going where it should. When the heavy and constant rain begins, debris are likely to gather in gutters, causing pooling of water and other compounded problems.

You may elect to use a handyman, we refer some HERE, but the job can be done without great cost using a hose, ladder, gloves and trowel. Give special consideration to the corners and connections where debris is likely to gather.  Although many customers employ the use of gutter guards to decrease the labor of cleaning the gutters, they too must be cleaned regularly.

Rinsing the gutter with a garden hose, allows you to inspect the seams for leaks. Once dry you can repair leaks with an approved sealant. Make sure the gutters are strongly attached to the home and look for any large gaps between the fascia and the gutter that will allow water to drip or flow. Your fascia should be inspected for evidence of water damage so that any needed repairs can be done while weather is cooperative. If your home has steel gutters, be sure and check for rust or any exposed metal that will begin to rust. Paint over exposed metal on the gutters and replace any rusted areas as needed.

Lastly work your way down from your ladder and check that water is properly diverted away from your home. Since you rinsed the gutter with the hose you should be able to see if water is flowing away from the house or pooling. If water is pooling consider flexible gutter extensions or installing French drains if needed.

Roofing

Check your roof for potential signs of current or future leaks.  Do you have any broken or missing roof shingles? Is the flashing around chimneys, skylights and vents flush with the roof? Check your attic, the upper crawlspace and any top ceilings for stains from potential leaks. If you find any areas that look concerning, check them right after a rain. If they are damp or the stain changes size or color than it is likely that you have a leak.

Although some roof repairs can be completed by a knowledgeable and experienced homeowner we strongly encourage the use of a professional roofer to make any necessary repairs.  Many roofers are also available to look over the condition of your roof if you are not able to do the pre-winter inspection yourself. We refer dependable and local roofing contractors and handymen on our Contractor Referral page HERE if you are in need of any assistance.

Windows and Doors

Missing or damaged weather stripping on doors and cracked caulking around windows, are major issues when trying to keep your home warm in the winter. These fixes are relatively easy and inexpensive compared with high energy bills later on.

Start by checking the sills and all moving parts of your windows and sliding glass doors for dirt and debris. Debris can get caught in sills and moving parts causing improper seals. Clean these areas with shop-vac on the outside as well as the inside, to create a tighter seal and increase the performance of your windows. Check the seals and make sure they are properly caulked.  The caulking should not have any gaps or cracking and should be in a continuous bead along the seams of the window. If caulking is absent or damaged we suggest re-caulking the area with a multi-polymer caulk like Alex Plus Windows and Door which has a 40 year warranty and comes in 9 colors.

Caulking can be one of those frustrating skills to acquire so check out the video we found below for help.

The weather stripping on the inside jams of doors is the greatest entry point for cold drafts leaking into the home. Your heating system is constantly fighting to make you comfortable, not to mention the increased monetary expense of fighting these intrusions. Check the weather stripping around all your doors for damaged or missing pieces that need to be replaced. Make sure and bring your damaged weather stripping into the store so it can be easily matched.

Watch the video below if you’re new to replacing weather stripping.

Some other areas that will assist in stopping heat loss

  • Install blinds, shades or window coverings
  • Installing storm doors on exterior entryways will add an extra layer of insulation to help lower draft impacts
  • Replace old windows with energy efficient double or triple pane windows
  • Replace old doors with fiberglass

Heating Systems

Whether you are heating with wood or have a furnace, now is the time to do the maintenance.  This can be as simple as changing the furnace filter and getting it serviced by a technician or getting the chimney cleaned.  In most cases this is as simple as a phone call to your local heating company or chimney sweeper before they are booked with peak season calls.

Insulation

Insulate, insulate and you guessed it, insulate some more.  Adding insulation to the attic will go a very long way to keeping the heat inside your home this winter.  Some applications work well with batt insulation in rolls while others might prefer the blown in type to fill the gaps. Angeles Millwork offers free rental of the Attic-Cat blow in System with purchase of AttiCat Loose Fill insulation. Attached garages are frequently left uninsulated and if you are in and out of the house through the garage you could benefit from insulating this space. Also, pay attention to upper crawl space and attic entrys. Using some self adhesive weather stripping around the edges will help with keeping your heat in.

Electrical Boxes

Another area in need of additional insulation is the electrical boxes for switches, phone and cable junctions. When they are located on exterior walls you can sometimes feel a cold draft coming through the box. Using low-expanding foam to fill the gaps between the box and the exterior wall surface will solve this problem with little need for expertise, just be careful not to spray foam inside the box.

If you’re new to expanding foam or want to know of other money saving uses for it click HERE for the blog post “17 Ways to Master Expanding Foam Insulation”.

Hoses, Water Pipes & Facets

A garden hose that freezes can actually burst an interior water pipe.  Freezing water causes expansion and increased pressure through the whole plumbing system. All hoses should be unhooked and stored away before the first hard freeze is forecast. Be sure and place a faucet insulator over the spigot after draining the faucet

Insulating the pipes under your home in unheated areas, will not only insure that they don’t freeze but will also allow warm water to flow more efficiently throughout the house during the colder months. This is a very easy and inexpensive fix that any homeowner can accomplish. Merely purchase some foam pipe insulation and wrap the pipes securing it with duct tape.

Emergency Kits

Finally, as you work through the winterizing projects on your list, remember to stock up on the things you will likely need in bad weather. Ice Melt, Snow Shovels and Tarps are the first items we stock that run out in anticipation for a winter storm.  We previously posted on our blog HERE about emergency kits for Earthquake preparedness and many of the items will work perfectly in case of a strong winter storm.

As Russell Wilson once said, “the separation is in the preparation”.  For your sake, I hope the preparation provides a warm layer of separation from the elements while you enjoy a good book and some hot chocolate.

FastenMaster Demos at Hartnagels

Wednesday, September 13th @ 7:30am Mikhail Mikhailov from FastenMaster will be at Hartnagel Building Supply with some light breakfast fair while demoing the following revolutionary tools by FastenMaster. Come on by get a quick bite to eat and try out their great tools! 

Hartnagel Building Supply is located at 3111 East HWY 101 in Port Angeles, WA

  • The FrameFast Structural Framing System

The newest fastener system for attaching trusses and rafters to top plates, the FrameFAST system consists of the FrameFAST structural wood screw and the FrameFAST tool. The FrameFAST screw is a code-compliant replacement screw for hurricane ties. The screw’s unique and superior design provides ultimate uplift and lateral resistance. FrameFast eliminates the need for ladders or scaffolding, pneumatic nail guns and hoses. It is up to 8 times faster than traditional framing methods.

  • PAMFast AutoFeed Screw System

The FastenMaster PAMFast AutoFeed Screw System is designed for speed, precision and increased productivity. This system offers consistent drives without any bit grinding, cam-out or jamming on subfloor jobs. Paired with our fast-thread subfloor screws, you have a system designed for speed.  Also great for pressure treated decks, composite decking, roof tile and drywall installation.

  • Flex HB220 Remodel Glue Gun

The HB220 is not your typical glue gun – it is a professional grade adhesive system designed for all day use in a variety of flooring installation, remodeling, and repair applications. This system is designed for hardwood flooring start and finish rows, carpet tack strip installation, interior wood trim and moldings, and much more! The HB220 Pro Applicator combines an adjustable high temperature range with a powerful 220 Watt heating element that keeps up with heavy all day usage.

Get a FREE box of Flex Glue with the purchase of a Flex HB220 Remodel Glue Gun!

NPBA Launches New Membership Directory

The North Peninsula Building Association just launched its new Membership Directory and its now available at Angeles Millwork and Hartnagel Building Supply.

The directory is made up of the who’s who within the local building industry. NPBA members are vested right here in Clallam County, so you are best assured that the utmost care and concern goes into every project from the ground up. Members join because they are passionate about the industry they work in; they understand the collective influence of a local building association, as well as the value of the recognition and networking we provide.

Use this new directory as your insider’s listing to the vetted and local professionals who will bring your dreams into reality right here in Clallam County!

 

Using Krylon’s New Sea Glass Paint

One of the greatest new DIY spray paints around is Krylon’s Sea Glass Spray Paint.  It’s not only easy to use but the amount of projects that can be created is endless!  Krylon Sea Glass spray paint will give any clear glass surface a refined, beach-inspired look while having excellent adhesion and durability. The finish after application will look as if your glass was tumbled smooth and matte by the seas waves.

Revamping vases bought at Goodwill and simply painting them is a great start and a perfect way to learn how to use the paint with little investment, but we aren’t happy with just painting a vase.  We have found a bunch of alternative ways online to use the paint and for you to add our own personal touches.

Check out the different projects below, find what intrigues you and drop on by one of our stores to pick up some Krylon Sea Glass Spray Paint.

Nautical Ornament

Frosted Glass Picture Frame

 

Painting Camouflage with Krylon Spray Paint

Don’t get spotted in the wild!  Just in time to prepare for the upcoming hunting seasons we have Krylon Camouflage Paint made with Fusion for Plastic® Technology that can assist you in staying out of sight and achieving your the best shot possible.

Available at both stores in 4 colors (Camo Green, Camo Khaki, Camo Brown and Camo Black) and @ $6.78 a spray can.

Camouflage is all about gaining an advantage over the target by blending into the environment, giving you the greatest advantage at being successful.  There are countless patterns of camouflage meant to blend into your terrain and vegetation but stick to mimicking the environment you’re hunting in.  It doesn’t make much sense to use camouflage on clothing and equipment but leave out  your gun.

Below is an easy way to accomplish a custom camouflaged gun for any terrain.

You can paint camouflage using the instructions on the video below from the YouTube channel InnerBark Outdoors to paint coolers, vehicles, firearms, and more! Want to know more about InnerBark Outdoors? Visit their website HERE and follow them on social media!

Camouflage Painting Tips

  • The best way to camouflage an object is to match it to the surroundings in which it will be located
  • Use colors in the same family that work well together
  • Start painting with the lightest color and move to the darkest color
  • Look to nature and use local tree leaves, ferns and branches as your stencils
  • Take your time. Let coats fully dry! Since there is a lot of overlapping, small mistakes won’t show
  • As with any spray paint, use several light coats instead of one heavy coat
  • Always read the directions before applying the spray paint

WIN a Browns Outdoor $200 Gift Card by liking us on Facebook!

Image result for browns outdoor

As part of our promotions for our upcoming Customer Appreciation Event at Angeles Millwork (Click HERE for more info) we are giving away a $200 Gift Card to Brown’s Outdoor to ONE of our Facebook followers. Brown’s Outdoor is a longtime, family-owned outfitter providing brand-name hiking gear, camping equipment, outerwear and great advice for exploring our local natural wonders.

Our Facebook page focuses on providing our community with relevant information on building materials, locally relevant industry news, new products and promoting our talented contractor and builders.

So “Like” our page HERE and you’re automatically entered!  If you are already a follower of ours, Thank You! You are already entered! Winner will be announced by Facebook private message on Monday August 21st!

Want to be entered for other great prizes from peninsula businesses?

Come on by the store and get a raffle ticket today or show up to the event August 18th, 2017 at Angeles Millwork from 11am – 2pm for smoked pulled pork sandwiches, slaw, homemade BBQ sauces, BBQ’d corn on the cob, sides and refreshments from Peninsula Bottling! Over 16 vendors will be handing out raffle tickets to attendees with the winners being contacted by phone on Monday, June 19th.

Thank You to Bill Francis from Blake Tile and Stone for Keeping Us a Bit Safer!

Our yard manager for Angeles Millwork,  Anthony Hernandez had a visit from Bill Francis, a driver for Blake Tile and Stone Inc.  He wanted to alert Anthony to a potential fire hazard with our Pal Finger 3-wheel forklift.  Apparently, Blake Tile and Stone has the same lift and it caught fire due to the design and location of one of the battery cables.  Every time the wheels are turned, they were rubbing on the battery cable with was also near a hydraulic fluid line.  Bill was on the unit when it burst into flames in the engine compartment.

Luckily, Bill was quick to respond and used the lift’s fire extinguisher to put the fire out and save total destruction of their lift, but it was still seriously damaged.  Bill was aware that we had the same unit and felt compelled to talk to us about the potential danger.  When Anthony started looking at our Pal Finger he found that sure enough – the battery cable was seriously worn through just as Bill had described.

We cannot thank Bill enough for his extra effort at keeping our employees safe.  Blake Tile and Stone have a wonderfully selfless employee in Bill and its amazing to have it be proven that we local businesses have each other’s backs!  Thank you Bill and Blake Tile and Stone!!!!