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!

Community Continually Comes Together in Assisting Operation Uplift

operation-uplift-patty-grayThe reward of great customers and local businesses coming together.  CEO Kelly Fox presents Operation Uplift’s Board Member Patty Gray with a $500 check from Angeles Millwork & Lumber Co. and Hartnagel Building Supply.

We’d like to thank everyone who shopped with us on Pink Saturday and contributed to the support of Port Angeles’ own cancer support group, Operation Uplift.  Pink Saturday is an annual event put on at Angeles Millwork & Lumber Co. and Hartnagel Building Supply where 5% of the retail sales for the Saturday are devoted to local support and recognizing Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Next year the promotion will take place Saturday, October 28th 2017.

For more information or to donate to Operation Uplift and help their role in improving the quality of lives during the challenges of cancer, diagnoses, and survival please click HERE.

Denise’s Story

Denise FoxAs we find ourselves deep into October we see the pink ribbons, football players donning pink on the field, and a rise in media stories about breast cancer.  It has been approached and promoted in a multitude of different ways to help people take notice and raise awareness for the disease that affects 1 in 8 women and 1 in 1,000 men.

At Angeles Millwork & Lumber Co. and Hartnagel Building Supply many of us have been affected by breast cancer and we want to do our small part by sharing one of our stories with you.

You may have met Denise Fox, Angeles Millwork Paint Specialist and wife of our CEO, Kelly Fox. The compression sleeve she wears on her arm to help maintain swelling as a result of the removal of the lymph nodes starts off many conversations that lead to Denise revealing her past and current deniseexperience with breast cancer. Denise was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 just days after Kelly had accepted his dream job of being CEO of Lumber Traders Inc., parent company of Angeles Millwork & Lumber Co. and Hartnagel Building Supply.

Denise’s main goal before the family’s health insurance changed with the new job was to get all medical checkups that could be done, which included Denise’s first mammogram.  Getting a cancer diagnosis is overwhelming to say the least, but hers was combined with the already stressful plans to move her family with daughters ages 3 and 6 to a new town.  As much as the diagnosis made Denise and Kelly question their future plans, striving for a more challenging professional life and greater future for their family was always the goal and would remain so even in the face of cancer.  The decision was made between Denise and Kelly for him to move to Port Angeles to begin the new job, while Denise remained in Federal Way near friends and family to undergo bilateral mastectomies and chemotherapy.

Denise describes the initial months as absolutely terrifying, but coming with a silver lining of support and love, “you find out how much your family and friends really love you.”  Denise goes on to describe how the petty differences that we all can relate to having with friends and family completely washed away.  Surviving cancer was all that mattered.

denise-and-familyDenise’s mom, Lois, was vital to her daily health and getting better. Lois would do household chores, errands, take the kids to and from school and keep them entertained while Denise focused on beating her cancer. Friends and family would deliver home cooked meals, call with support, send friendly and frequent texts, and even pick up Chipotle, the comfort food that Denise craved.

Frequent and simple support from family and friends was the greatest help to Denise.  She shares, “People meant well when they said, ‘let me know if I can do something for you,’ but I was never going to ask them to go to the grocery store to pick up milk.  But if they called from the store and asked what they could pick up for me, or ‘I’m bringing over lunch, what do you want?’ I felt more able to accept the help and it provided great assistance and support when they just did it, rather than asking for me to reach out.”  As uncomfortable and scary as cancer is, most patients want to spare others feeling uncomfortable or being inconvenienced.  Taking the action to just do it for another is a major help to those experiencing a serious illness.

denise-and-kellyDuring Denise’s treatment Kelly would come back to Federal Way every weekend, for doctor appointments, chemotherapy, and on the fourth day after treatment.  This was the day that the effects of chemo and other medications left Denise the most fatigued and in the most pain.  On weeknights that Kelly would stay in Port Angeles Denise found great comfort in her dachshund, Sadie.  Before the cancer, Sadie would burrow next to her chest and now instinctively knew to burrow lower down to not cause Denise any discomfort.

Some of the most challenging aspects of fighting cancer for Denise were the depression and the feeling of being alone.  Even in the face of so much obvious support the loneliness was frightening and sometimes debilitating.  Learning to be “OK” in the face of such emotional and physical discomfort took and still takes a lot of effort.

Once treatment ended and doctors had declared N.E.D. (No Evidence of Disease) many assume the fight for Denise and Kelly was over.  Although the major battle was won, the fight continues.  Overcoming the collateral damage of treatment, finding a new normal, and struggling with the fear of recurrence is a daily challenge.  The family impact was huge but they were blessed to find themselves a stronger couple from the experience. The relationships with friends and family took on a deeper importance and “you look at your kids with a renewed sense of gratitude,” says Denise.

dsc05076-2Denise still undergoes quarterly checkups, and will continue to take medication for another 8 years to reduce the chance of recurrence.  She will continue to wear her compression sleeve with pride for the rest of her life.  Both Denise, Kelly and their daughters Annika and Tilly reside in Port Angeles and enjoy time in the outdoors.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Angeles Millwork & Lumber Co. and Hartnagel Building Supply will have their annual Pink Saturday Sale on October 22nd. The two stores will be donating 5% of all retail sales for the day to local Port Angeles cancer support group Operation Uplift.  We would appreciate you coming by, shopping and joining us in support of those like Denise and the countless others affected by cancer.

Treated Right – The Platinum Tape, a blog by Kelly Fox

wHISKEY-SODA2Have you ever felt like you did not get what you paid for? At one point or another in life all of us will have that feeling. It is a lot like a bourbon and soda that is nearly all soda. In every business there is an opportunity to cut a corner or reduce an expense by taking out some of the “good stuff”.  At Angeles Millwork and Lumber Company and Hartnagel Building Supply, we are all about putting more of the “good stuff” back into what you are buying.

Against some national competitors, we see that products are being sold into our market space that are a far cry from what they used to be.

A great example is in pressure treated lumber. It is not always rated for ground contact, even though it looks and feels just like the same product you can buy at every other lumber yard in the area.

In some cases, the same pressure treated lumber they sell is a construction grade that is not even building code approved.

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To give you more of what you want for your money, we will only sell incised pressure treated lumber that is rated for ground contact and building code compliant. Our NatureDeck© treated decking product is a premium Douglas Fir and rated for above ground use because of the intended application.

Other product benefits we sell are not always as clear cut as the differences in our treated lumber but they are equally as important. For example, the cedar decking products at our stores, from the 5/4 x4 to the 2×6, are kiln dried so that you can finish your project quickly. Green decking products require them to be installed and seasoned well beyond being dry on the surface, before you can apply the deck stain of your choice. (When you deck stain does not last as long as the can said it would, your deck was probably not as dry as it should have been.)

Our kiln dried decking products can be installed, stained, and enjoyed about eight weeks faster than product bought as green or wet. Your time and effort are worth something to us and dry decking is one way that we can prove it.

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On top of the products you buy, service is the “good stuff” that many people need when they do not speak the home repair or building language. Rather than asking you to learn to speak building materials, our stores will spend more than 1000 hours in 2016 dedicated to training on our products and services so that we are better at speaking your language when you stop by. I am confident that you will enjoy the difference!

When you choose to buy from us, you will get what you pay for. Sometimes we will be less expensive and sometimes we will be more. The one thing you should never have to question is the value you receive or wonder if you got any scotch with your soda!

 

As you shop the stores, visit us online, or have questions about the products we sell compared to our competition, please ask the salesperson or email me at kellyf@lumbertradersinc.com and we will be happy to help.

Kelly-Fox-Image

Warm Regards,

Kelly Fox, CEO
Lumber Traders, INC.
Angeles Millwork & Lumber Co.
Hartnagel Building Supply

Tyvek Product Knowledge Breakfast for Contractors & Crew

WEB-TYVEK

All licensed contractors and their crew are welcome!

You’re invited to join us for a Tyvek product demonstration & training with breakfast on us.

7 a.m. Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016 @ the Fairmont Restaurant (map below)

 

  • presented by representatives from OrePac and Tyvek
  • product demonstrations and training
  • discussion on better building science as it regards to building envelopes and energy conservation
  • demonstrations on installation of windows, doors and penetrations that will reduce callbacks and claims
  • participants will also have the opportunity to schedule free Tyvek certified installer training and job site walks.
  • ten-year product AND labor warranty from DuPont Tyvek with certification

Please RSVP at joshb@lumbertradersinc.com with contractor’s license number and names of those attending.

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Senate Bill 6415

Yesterday Kelly Fox, CEO of Lumber Traders Inc. parent company of Angeles Millwork & Lumber Co. and Hartnagel Building Supply was asked to speak to the Senate Education Committee for K-12 programs about the need for Career and Technical Education in our community.

State-Bill

Senate Bill 6415 is designed to maintain the funding for shop classes in our schools along with other skilled trade programs.

Kelly looks at skilled trades and high school shop classes as a future pipeline for employees going to work for our customers or coming to work for one of our stores. We all recognize how hard it is to find skilled people and losing even one more potential source is too much. Taking things a step further, the future of our county is dependent on a trained workforce that does not always need to be college educated. Without the CTE programs, our young people in the community may leave the area to find work in the urban markets.  In turn our community, along with our stores, struggle to remain viable.

If you want to learn more you can watch the video here. Kelly’s contribution starts at the 44:16 mark.

If any of you ever get the chance or feel so moved to speak on an issue to our legislature, Kelly encourages others to speak up and have their voice heard.

Things may not always go your way but you will have done your part in supporting your cause in the legislative process.

For the issue with SB 6415, it is not likely to make it out of committee and that does spell trouble for our programs going forward. Next year the budgets renew and hopefully there will be a much better chance to get the funding needed to maintain our CTE programs!

 

19th Annual Building, Remodeling & Energy Expo at Sequim High School

BLOG-Sequim-Expo-DigitalCome out to the Building, Remodeling and Energy Expo at Sequim High School Saturday, February 13th and Sunday the 14th and talk with our contractor and retail sales professionals as well as vendor representatives about the newest in products, improvement ideas and how to increase efficiency for your next home improvement or building project.

Ron-and-Alan-Expo-BoothAngeles Millwork & Lumber Co. and Hartnagel Building Supply will have a fully encompassed booth built by our employee owners Ron and Alan Amaya with full scale examples of interior and exterior building materials from Weyerhaeuser, Allura siding, Therma Tru Doors, Jeld-Wen Windows and Rogue Valley Doors.

We will also be giving away four $250 Gift Cards!

The Platinum Tape

The-Platinum-Tape As I talk with various customers and community partners about the building materials industry, I am always fascinated by the stories I hear about the connection to the place we call home. From the first time home buyer keen on getting his first man cave, the couple downsizing as they prepare to travel, and the families in between; the home is always full of memories and hope.

Being a local provider for the building materials that will eventually become homes means that we are rewarded by being a real part to those memories. This whole concept is something we hold dearly in our approach and our responsibility.

If our business took a one size fits all approach to our customers, it would be nearly impossible for us to recognize the uniqueness that is you. When you work with our staff to expand a deck or improve your view with new windows, we strive to give you our best effort for those that will enter your home. If you are not particularly handy with a hammer and decide to hire a contractor, our vision is still the same, to help you feel confident and more at comfort in the place you call home.

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The Golden Rule.

In late 2015, the entire team at Hartnagel Building Supply and Angeles Millwork & Lumber Co. went through training that focused our efforts to be absolutely great for our customers. We started by addressing our underlying assumptions that we think the customers want to be treated like us.

The Platinum Rule.

If we were ever going to match the unique needs of each customer we needed to learn what it means to treat them how they want to be treated.

In the next phase of training we looked at our processes when handling customer’s orders and the internal process that sometimes creates hurdles to treating the customer with the platinum mentality.

Much like our other assumptions, we are trashing many of them with the goal that every part of our process becomes as customer centric as possible and we measure that success with a “platinum tape”.

Customers ultimately deserve to receive an experience and products tailored just for them and we get the benefit of having great relationships with our customers!

When you’re ready for your next project or just need some friendly advice before you get started, I encourage you to drop by, give us a call, or send your carrier pigeon and see the difference we are making for you!

On behalf of all the employee owners at Angeles Millwork & Lumber Co. and Hartnagel Building Supply, thank you for choosing local.

 

Kelly-Fox-Image

Warm Regards,

Kelly Fox, CEO
Lumber Traders, INC.
Angeles Millwork & Lumber Co.
Hartnagel Building Supply