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How to Choose Lumber

Stacks of Lumber

There is a great sense of achievement that can be gained from woodworking. This centuries old tradition has carried on for generations and is as popular today as in the past. Most projects are for interior use and selecting the right kind of lumber that can be cut to measure, assembled into a finished piece of furniture and polished is an artistic exercise.

Choosing Pine Wood

Pine boardSelecting the proper lumber for the project will depend on what the intended outcome will be. In general a trip to the lumber yard to find the right wood for the project will have a list of things to look for. Many projects use pine as a main base to build on.

Pine is a very popular wood and many home furnishing projects make use of this highly decorative wood. Country and Western furnishings make use of the knots and shapes in artistic ways.

When choosing pine wood to use it's important to sight down the axis of the board for any defects. These can include excessive knots, insect damage or fungus damage.These will weaken the result and waste time and money. Improper drying or milling can also effect the intended result. Many artisans use recycled barn limber and these pieces will have nail or screw holes and these need to checked for any broken metal pieces.

Look for Straight Wood

Examining the lumber for any excessive bowing is another item to watch.The fur edges should be straight and any curving is a bow.Cupping is a hollowed out area that can be corrected with planing if not excessive.Chips and cracks are usually from the stress of the drying process.Lumber that is too dry is not a good choice for most projects.

Choosing Hardwood Lumber

Maple chest with slabwood

Hardwoods are sturdy products from deciduous trees, those hat shed their leaves in Fall. These include cherry and maple and have microscopic poring in their grain patterns and smooth texture.

The term close grained wood is used to describe these woods that can be polished to a mirror like shine. Ring porous woods have larger pores and also polish to a shiny, smooth shine, although lighter.

A Job Well Done Needs the Best Wood

The satisfaction of creating a new piece of furniture or recreating and antique form is a rewarding pastime that a large number of enthusiasts enjoy. Selecting the right lumber ensures a long life to the result. Most lumber years have experts on staff who share their pride in knowing wood with others, and these are genuine human resources.


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Photo credit: Bellevue Fine Art Repro (Scott) / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Photo credit: BobMacInnes / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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Wallboard Supply Company is a third generation, family run business that has been serving New England's building needs since 1970. Bob Filion started the company with a commitment to provide quality drywall and finishing products with unmatched customer service. The company has grown over the years, expanding its' product range, but never wavering from its' core values.