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A Guide to Choosing the Right Lumber

Whether you’re a pro or a DIY wood worker, choosing the right lumber can be daunting. Not all lumber is created equal, so it’s important to select the type of wood that best suits your project. Here are some tips on how to make sure you’re choosing the right lumber for your needs.

Types of Wood

The two main categories of lumber are hardwoods and softwoods. The difference between them lies in their construction - hardwood has pores that are much smaller than those of softwood, which makes it denser and more durable. Hardwood is also more expensive than softwood due to its greater density and quality. Examples of hardwoods include maple, oak, cherry, and walnut while pine, cedar, fir, redwood are examples of softwoods.

Grading System

When selecting lumber, it’s important to understand the grading system used by suppliers. This system determines the strength and durability of each piece of wood according to its visual characteristics such as knots and grain patterns. Grades range from 1 (the highest) to 4 (the lowest). The higher grade indicates less blemishes and higher quality material for projects requiring superior strength and/or appearance.

Dryness & Moisture Content

Another important factor when selecting wood is dryness or moisture content—especially if you plan on staining or finishing your project after assembly. Moisture content is a measure of how much water is in the wood fibers compared with what should be there when fully dried out; this measurement can range from 0% (completely dry) up to 25%. Drier wood will provide fewer surprises during staining as well as decreased chances of warping over time due to shrinking once exposed to humidity or extreme temperatures; therefore it’s important to select lumber with suitable moisture content for your project based on where you plan on using it.

Choosing the right lumber doesn't have to be complicated if you know what factors affect its quality and suitability for your project needs. By understanding the types of woods available, familiarizing yourself with grading systems used by suppliers, and making sure you know what moisture content works best for your application—you'll be able to make an informed decision when selecting lumber for any project!

At Shell Lumber and Hardware, our experts can help you choose the right material for any project. Contact us any time and speak with one of our professionals.