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

How to Properly Stain a Deck

A deck is a huge investment for any home owner. Making sure it stays clean and protected will insure it has a long life. With the proper cleanup and a proper application of stain you can avoid costly repairs and regular degradation that many wood deck owners experience.  Once completed you can restore your old deck or further protect a newer deck.  Taking this time on an annual or bi-yearly basis will have you dodging the need for major repairs, leaving it protected from weather and allowing the natural look of wood to shine through.

Prep and Cleaning

This is the most important part of staining your deck.  Do it correctly and be patient with drying and you will be rewarded with an easy staining experience.

Clear your deck of all your potted plants, outdoor furniture and other obstacles on your deck. Blow off or sweep the deck clean of any debris, leaves and dirt.  Cover all perimeter plants and shrubs located around the deck with painter’s plastic or drop clothes.

Once fully cleaned, check the deck boards that may need to be replaced. Deck boards that are rotten, severely warped or have large splits should be replaced.  Look for nails that may have raised up and use larger nails to re-secure the boards. Minor splits can be sanded down using an orbital sander to smooth the surface.  Check you gaps between boards for buildup of old leaves, pine needles and dirt removing with a flat plastic putty knife or straight edge. Re-sweep the deck and hose the surface down to remove any stubborn debris.

Suit yourself up with the proper protection with gloves, old clothing and eye protection when working with any chemical cleaners and following the manufacturer’s directions, apply a wood cleaner such as 30 Second Cleaner or SuperDeck Wood Cleaner with a pressurized garden sprayer being careful not to let the solution dry.  Agitate the cleaner into the wood with a long handled stiff bristled brush for 10 -15 minutes and then rinse off with water. Allow deck to fully dry.

Once fully cleaned let’s bring back the color and vibrancy that you remember when the deck was first installed. SuperDeck Wood Brightener should do just that. Hopefully you still have all your protective gear so make sure your pressurized garden sprayer is cleaned of any previous chemicals and use it to apply the wood brightener in the same way as the cleaner. Don’t let the solution dry and agitate the cleaner into the wood with a long handled stiff bristled brush for 10 -15 minutes and then rinse off with water.

Rinse off the plastic you used to protect the surrounding plants and store away for use when staining.

Allow deck to dry fully for at least three days before moving on to staining.

Staining the Deck

If you don’t have a favorite stain and color there are many to choose from so we advise getting some advice in our stores from one of our paint specialists for your proper environment and for maximum protection.  Take advantage of our annual exterior stain sales that starts around Memorial Day and runs through June. It will undoubtedly save yourself some needed cash and allow for some new deck accessories.

These are the most popular of exterior deck stains we stock and sell. Click images for direct link to manufacturer’s website.

Penofin stain and coatings logo

Cover the plants to protect them from any splattering.

Stir the stain thoroughly and pour the stain into a paint tray. Apply a THIN coat of stain using a paint roller attached to a long handle rolling it in the direction of the boards making sure the stain does not puddle or pool.

With a paint brush get all the ends of the boards stained and allow the deck to fully dry.  Repeat this process at least two more times utilizing multiple thin coats rather than a single heavy coat.

Once you have completed the process inspect the deck fully for any areas you might have missed, paying attention to the ends of boards, stairs, railings or other attached wood structures.

Now is the fun part!  Remove the plastic protecting the plants, return your outdoor furniture to its place and start planning that summer bar-b-que to show off your hard work.

If you clean and stain your deck every 1-2 years you will have a deck that will stay protected, looking new and perfect for your outdoor enjoyment. Have questions? Come in and ask to talk with one of our paint & stain specialists or give us a call.  We’d be happy to help!

Hartnagel Building Supply is Hiring for a Contractor Sales Professional!

Hartnagel Building Supply, an all employee owned company is hiring!

If you are looking for full time employment, we have a great opportunity for you! Our team of employee owners make up a wide range of the most creative, knowledgeable and caring that the North Peninsula has to offer.  We consider our customers to be family with many we know by first name, so we are looking for the pinnacle of customer service in our hires.  Angeles Millwork & Lumber and Hartnagel Building Supply have been community fixtures in the area for over 55 years and we offer the best in building materials to the industry professional and the do-it-yourselfer.  If the opportunity to be on our team is enticing to you then we encourage you to apply!

We are seeking to fill a Contractor Sales Professional Position for sales and material takeoffs for commercial and residential building projects with the following qualities:

  • Ability to do lumber takeoffs
  • Personable and able to build a strong customer clientele
  • Must be detail oriented and organized
  • Able to work well independently but also with a sales team
  • Takes initiative but is also great at following directions
  • Minimum of 2 years industry related experience
  • Skilled in the use of a computer
  • 18 years or older

Full time with benefits
Pay DOE
Drug testing required

Download an application here.

Drop off an application in person or mail to Hartnagel Building Supply 3111 East HWY 101,  Port Angeles, WA 98362 or fax to 360-452-8943

 

Join us for the 35th Annual Clallam County Home & Lifestyle Show

Join us at the 35th Annual Clallam County Home & Lifestyle Show at Port Angeles High School! 

Starting Saturday, March 11th from 9:30am – 4pm and Sunday the 12th from 9:30am – 4pm we’ll be manning one of the largest booths of the show.  The booth was hand build by employee owners of Angeles Millwork & Lumber Co. and Hartnagel Building Supply to highlight the full variety of quality building materials we sell and the multiple products relevant to a new home build or remodel.  Staffed with our most knowledgeable employee owners prepared to share with you the building materials that we feel are the best for your next remodel, renovation or new home.  This is a no-pressure environment where we’re just happy to share information about the materials we know represent the best the peninsula has to offer.

We will feature the following at our booth.  Click an image below and go straight to the manufacturers website (If applicable).

 

 

Two Stores and a Simple Vision – The Platinum Tape, a blog by Kelly Fox

We have begun rolling out new logos for both our stores in the hopes to visually unify our brand.

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]A logo that is recognizable and represents the community is important to us and our customers.[/pullquote]

Each logo although appearing similar will be specific to each, Angeles Millwork & Lumber Co. and Hartnagel Building Supply.  There will be no more confusion of who Lumber Traders is or was. We are still and always have been just your friendly home town lumber yards doing business the way we have for almost 110 years.

New-Logos

The saw blade in our new logo represents our heritage as Angeles Millwork, the board represents our tie to the building materials industry at Hartnagel Building Supply, and Mt Olympus represents the place we all call home, the Olympic Peninsula.  We are very proud of these three things!

signage

The re-branding also gave us the opportunity to clean up the look and feel of the inside of our stores, our website, and message to the community.  When you stop by the stores next time I hope you take notice of the new aisle markers that will make our stores much easier to shop.  When you need information on an upcoming building project or want to know what is happening with us, I think you will enjoy the added content on our website featuring our great team of employee owners in action.

 

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Whether you are loyal to one store or shop at both, we are grateful for your business and thank you for shopping locally.  When you see our logo or shop our stores, I sincerely hope that you feel the same connection to it that we feel to our community and our customers.[/pullquote]

Kelly-Fox-ImageWarm 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.

TYVEK 1

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ROXUL Insulation Product Knowledge Presentation

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We welcome you to a special product knowledge presentation Wednesday, January 13th, 2016.  Open to the public.

APEC representative Terry Trafton will be giving a special table top, product knowledge presentation on the benefits, uses and installation of Roxul insulation on Wednesday, January 13th at Hartnagel Building Supply from 10 – 11 a.m. and at Angeles Millwork & Lumber from 1:30 – 2:30pm.