Different Species of Wood – Inspiration To Reuse – How to Store Wood

Lumber is a general term that can apply to a variety of different types and sizes of wood used for building various projects in the construction industry. Pieces of lumber are cut lengthwise from trees and usually have a square or rectangular profile. When it comes to lumber, there is a lot of things to know from the general education of lumber, design trends, how to care for it, and the different types of lumber out there. In this article, we are going to touch on just about everything from the history of lumber, the different types, how to use leftover lumber, and how to care for it.  

Some Lumber History

We as a species, have been building with wood since near the beginning of time. The earliest remains of wood construction comes from a location near Nice, France which points to people using wood for construction almost 400,000 years ago.  The oldest wood construction that was found still intact is estimated to be about 7,300 years old and is located in northwest Germany.

How Does the Saw Mill Handle Lumber Production?

Fast forward to 1869 and we see the introduction of a large-scale bandsaw that replaced the circular saw for many sawmill operations. We see individual mills specializing in certain cuts of lumber or milling whatever the customer wanted, whereas today everything is more streamlined. Now we have standard dimensions that are divided into three categories depending on the thickness of the piece. 

Boards: Nominal thickness of less than 2 inches are classified as boards.

Dimensional: Nominal thicknesses of 2 inches but less than 5 inches are classified as dimensional lumber.

Timbers: Nominal thicknesses of 5 inches and greater are classified as timbers. 

Most rough-cut lumber pieces are dried, finished, or surfaced by running them through a planer to smooth all four sides. This is all depending on the grade it is intended for. Because of this process, actual dimensions are smaller than nominal dimensions. A standard 2 x 4 piece of dried, surfaced dimensional lumber actually measures 1.5” x 3.5”. This is important to know when planning your materials list and design for a project. Many homeowners are surprised to know that the true dimension of the lumber they buy is actually smaller than the name it has.

In addition to drying, finishing, surfacing or planing lumber- the mill can also add a pattern which is commonly used for siding and flooring materials. Decorative molding, T&G flooring, and shiplap siding are examples of pattern lumber. We stock a variety of pattern siding profiles and they are generally cheaper than other siding profiles because they are mass produced, which makes them more cost effective.

Raw Materials: Hardwood vs Softwood Lumber

Knowing some background information on the species of tree used to create the lumber for your project is helpful for knowing what to expect when using hardwood vs softwood lumber. 

Hardwood: Most hardwood trees have leaves, which they shed in the winter. Hardwood trees include oaks, maples, walnuts, cherries, and birches. Hardwoods are generally more expensive than softwoods and are used for flooring, cabinetry, paneling, doors, and trimwork. They generally comes in lengths from 4-16 ft.

Softwood: Softwood trees have needles instead of leaves. They do not shed their needles in the winter, but remain green throughout the year. Softwood trees include pines, firs, hemlocks, spruces, and redwoods. Softwoods are used for wall studs, joists, planks, rafters, beams, stringers, posts, decking, sheathing, subflooring, and concrete forms. They usually come in lengths from 4-24 ft.

The Lumber Grading Process

Lumber is graded according to the number and size of defects in the wood. Defects include items such as knots, holes, pitch pockets, splits, and wanes. These defects generally only affect the appearance, but could also affect the strength of the piece of lumber. The higher grades are called select grades. The lower grades are called common grades and are used for general construction where the wood will be covered, such as in framing lumber. 

Hopefully this guide will be helpful in understanding a few important parts of the lumber industry. We’ve covered:

  • Our history using wood as a building material
  •  How the mill classifies different types of lumber such as boards, dimensional lumber and timbers
  • Nominal vs true measurements of lumber
  • Pattern lumber
  • The differences between hardwood and softwood lumber
  • The lumber grading process

As always, reach out with any questions!

Information for this blog was gathered from: http://www.madehow.com/Volume-3/Lumber.html 

One of the most common uses for lumber along side building, is woodworking. For each project there are different species of wood that make the job easy. In the next section we are going to talk about each species and what they are good for when it comes to woodworking.

If you are interested in woodworking projects, there is no shortage of ideas on the internet. However, you may be a little confused as to what types of wood make the best woodworking lumber. Every species of Denver lumber has different characteristics and those will determine its proper use.

Most woodworkers like to use natural Denver lumber versus something manufactured. When you are doing a hands-on project like woodworking, manufactured wood can take away from the spirit of it. This certainly does not mean that you can’t!

Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of natural Denver lumber and their make up:

Woodworking Lumber: Pine

Pine Denver lumber is classified as a softwood. Because of this it is very easy to work with carving, drilling, and nailing are a breeze. Pine Denver lumber is a lighter species and has almost a yellow coloring. If you like the feel of pine but want a darker shade, you can stain it.

Woodworking Lumber: Cedar

Cedar Denver lumber is also a softwood. It is also very forgiving and versatile. One of the things that wood workers really like about using cedar Denver lumber is that it gives off a wonderful aroma. Cedar Denver lumber is a great choice for outdoor projects because it is very resistant to the elements. Cedar Denver lumber also naturally repels insects which is why it is popular for closets, drawers, armoires, and hope chests.

Woodworking Lumber: Redwood

If you’re looking to make furniture, redwood Denver lumber is an awesome choice. Not only is it easy to work with, but it is beautiful. Redwood Denver lumber has striking reddish hues that can’t be found in other species. Your redwood Denver lumber furniture pieces will last a long time if you add a water repellent to the surface.

Woodworking Lumber: Maple

Now when it comes to maple, Denver lumber there are two different types. There is a harder version and a softer version. For wood working especially, if you are a beginner we recommend using the softer variety of maple Denver lumber. If your woodworking projects call for some amount of strength and durability, then maple Denver lumber is the best option.

Woodworking Lumber: Cherry

Cherry Denver lumber is a less common choice for woodworking projects. It is very hard and difficult to penetrate. Some wood workers choose to overlook this because of its attractiveness but skill is required. Although it can be challenging, woodworking should be an enjoyable pastime. Part of this comes from being proud of the finished product. The success of wood working projects all depends on choosing the right Denver lumber for your needs!

Woodworking is generally done in the summer because it is warmer, there is more daylight and usually you are working outside in a garage or a shed. So, what should you do with your leftover wood? Well, we are going to talk about that next! You don’t want to throw away your leftover remnants at the end of the summer but you also don’t want them to shrink, warp and crack from the frigid temps. Follow these next few steps to store your wood for the winter.

How To Store Wood

Now that summer has come to an end, your home improvement projects or woodworking jobs may still be in full swing or you may shut it down for the season. Snow will be flying soon, which means that you need to consider how to protect your lumber if you have been storing it outside. Constant temperature changes and exposure to rain and snow will take a serious toll on lumber. Because wood can be restored and repurposed, crafty DIY’s usually always have it laying around. Let’s look at the basics of how to store wood. 

How to Store Wood Tip #1: What Effects Do The Elements Have?

Mold is one of the most damaging effects of rain and snow on lumber left outside. Perfectly good pieces of lumber are often wasted after it becomes infested with mold, because it is simply just not fit to bring in the house. Wood can be cleaned and cleared of mold, but it takes a lot of time and effort.

You can hose down the timber and scrub it with a solution of 1 quart of water mixed with a ½ cup of bleach. To penetrate small cracks and crevices, you can use a soft bristled brush to get a deep clean.

How to Store Wood Tip #2: Consider Fading

Wood will quickly fade and lose its luster after prolonged exposure the elements. This can be remedied with stains of various types. The only drawback is that this will require some upkeep to keep the “new” look.

Whether you are a homeowner looking into how to store wood for upcoming projects or a contractor housing larger amounts for current clients, there are some simple guidelines that can help you keep your lumber in tip top shape.

How to Store Wood Tip #3: Indoor Storage

If possible, storing lumber indoors is always the best option. Even kiln dried lumber is at risk of twisting, shrinking, and swelling. An indoor storage area that raises the wood off the floor and in a horizontal position is ideal.

If you are bringing lumber in from the outside in hopes of preserving it, it is important that you acclimate it before storage or use. Using a moisture meter is the best way to know when this process is complete. This can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months depending on the amount of moisture and the type of wood you are dealing with.

How to Store Wood Tip #4: Outdoor Storage

If you cannot avoid storing your lumber outside, you can still protect it and minimize damage. Just like inside storage, it is important to keep your product off of the ground when it is sitting outside.

Always cover your lumber with waterproof tarps to prevent direct contact with rain and snow. However, keep in mind that living creatures that live outside may find this a warm place to respite from the weather. To prevent infestation, consistently check your bundles.

Even with these precautions, lumber stored outside will still experience fading, discoloration, and shrinking/swelling. Many of the current design trends are calling for “vintage” looking wood. If this is your goal, these outdoor storage tips will still keep your lumber free from mold so do not skip them.

To wrap up this article we want to give you a little inspiration on what you can do with your leftover wood. Maybe those pieces that you were going to toss at the end of summer while you were cleaning up shop. There are several different things you can do with your lumber.

Do you have leftover Denver lumber from your last DIY project? Don’t toss it out! There are a lot of fun ways to repurpose your scrap Denver lumber.

Leftover Denver Lumber: Make A Trail

Consider making a trail or walkway in your yard or garden using your leftover Denver lumber. Simply dig out the trail first which can be done in dirt, grass, or gravel. You will want to go down far enough to make a secure place for the Denver lumber to sit. Then arrange the scraps in whatever configuration you desire!

Leftover Denver Lumber: Feature Wall

Depending on the type and appearance of your Denver lumber you can use those remaining pieces to create a feature wall in your home. These wood walls using Denver lumber really add nice dimension and texture to plain walls.

Leftover Denver Lumber: Picture Frames

When it comes to picture frame there really are not a lot of choices unless you have a hefty budget. But you can make your own using those pieces of Denver lumber that you have lying around. There are ideas galore all over the internet to inspire your creativity.

Leftover Denver Lumber: Headboard

Headboards are another thing that can be pretty ordinary unless you are willing to spend a lot. A cool headboard can quickly dress up a room without adding a lot of other décor. This can easily be done even if your Denver lumber is varying dimensions. You can do a mosaic type configuration. If you have longer pieces of Denver lumber then a standard horizontal design will be simple to assemble.

Leftover Denver Lumber: Don’t Forget The Birds

Give your flying friends a nice place to rest with a homemade birdhouse. Assemble the scrap pieces of Denver lumber with glue and finishing nails. You can have a lot of fun designing these birdhouses using Denver lumber by adding perches, seed trays, and other things to make it a real home.

Leftover Denver Lumber: What’s Your Number?

If your leftover pieces of Denver lumber are visually appealing you can use them to make a plaque for your home number. You can also paint or stain your Denver lumber for added detail.

Leftover Denver Lumber: Window Boxes

No matter what the length and dimensions of your excess Denver lumber are you can build a window sill plant box in no time. If you want to line the inside with plastic you can go all out and fill you planter using Denver lumber with live plants. If not you can use succulents or fake foliage.

These are just a few ideas for projects that you can do using scrap Denver lumber! If you ever need a little extra lumber to finish your repurposing project, get in touch with us! We would be happy to help you get the materials you need at wholesale pricing! As we wrap up this article on Lumber 101 we hope you are leaving with some heightened confidence and reassurance when it comes to lumber, woodworking, inspiration and more. The great thing about lumber is that there is so much to learn and so many possibilities that the wheel never stops turning. Check out our blog page to learn more about lumber for more inspiration!