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Working in the building and construction industry can be a very rewarding job, while also being challenging. You work alongside people to mill lumber to a standard that is required for resale directly to suppliers, homeowners, and contractors. The process of milling lumber is very long and takes a lot of time and dedication, but once complete it is very satisfying to see the lumber go from rough and rugged to smooth and clean. Before you can ever sell any product however, you will need to get the accreditation to mill and grade lumber. Keep reading to learn all about the process!

When you own a sawmill the produces a very high quantity of lumber, you will probably want to resell to your local community. If you want to sell directly to customers, you much get certified, accredited, and stamped before you can make your first sale. If you ever go to a lumberyard and purchase a product, say it’s a 2×4 board, you will realize there is a black ink stamp on it with a jumble of words and numbers. This stamp shows that wherever this wood came from is accredited and their materials have been inspected and approved for resale to use as a structural piece in a home or building.

As a product of the IBC or International Business Code, these stamps were introduced to maintain quality control when it came to products going out into the community. Most materials must endure this quality control as a safety precaution. Lumber being used as load support much be grade marked or inspected by an agency before being resold, which is for the safety of everyone. This way any defective or non-usable pieces are not put into the community for resale.

How do you know if you need a grading stamp? 

Well, if you sell lumber for any reason related to construction, it is highly recommended that you have a grading stamp system in place. Lumber used in construction must be durable, strong, and sustainable, whereas wood for projects like birdhouses and DIY arts and crafts don’t need to be as strong. Getting the ability to stamp also opens opportunities to sell products and make a profit on it. Keep in mind that lumber that is specifically used for flooring and molding does not need to be stamped.

How do you get your stamp? 

To get your stamp, you need to contact the agency that is in charge of accreditation for your area. You will also have to either get yourself properly trained or a member of your team by the American Lumber Standard Committee. They teach you things you need to know such as moisture levels to watch for, the types of bark that aren’t allowed, and how to classify the lumber correctly. Once you have made it through your training, you will receive a visit from the organization to make sure your mill is in tip-top shape. Over time, you will get visits from them just making sure all the processes are running smoothly and no red flags are present. If they come across any errors or reasons to raise concerns, they can hold materials and deliveries for inspection. Make sure you are very careful with how you are stamping lumber because it is very costly to achieve this stamp. You are looking at $250-$450 per week depending on the size of your mill.

If stamping the lumber yourself isn’t something you are interested in, you can hire a traveling grader. These people come out to your mill whenever you choose, and they will go through and stamp all the prepared material. In some cases, this may be easier for mills but depending on your processing time it may be beneficial to go through the steps of becoming a stamper for your own mill. Something else to keep in mind is that depending on where you live it may be more expensive to have someone come out each time than it would be to spend the weekly cost of being your own stamper. This way if you have an order that is rushed and needs to be graded quickly, you don’t have to wait for the stamper to arrive on their own time.

As a specialty building supplier, it is very beneficial to your clients to have your lumber stamped and accredited by a qualified individual. This reassures them that they are getting the best quality product for a good price!