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A question about evaluating an existing wood structure

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before you go to the trouble of taking core samples to identify the wood, you
might try contacting someone who is certified to identify and grade lumber
according to industry grading rules non-destructively. here are a couple of

1) contact the American Lumber Standards Committee at alsc(--nospam--at) or
301-972-1700 to get a list of accredited agencies to identify and grade lumber

2) visit our website at to see a list of
grading agencies and contact information for them. it also includes examples of
gradestamps that are used by these agencies for various species of lumber

3) visit our website at to search
for American Wood Council Design Professional members whose expertise is in the
area of lumber grading or wood technology. you can search the database
specifically for those two categories. can also search by state

hope this helps. feel free to contact me if you have additional questions.

Buddy Showalter, P.E.


From: NRoselund(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: A question about evaluating an existing wood structure
To: seaint(--nospam--at)

Wood identification service (I understand that there is no charge for the 
service -- I haven't used it so I don't know that for sure):

Center for Wood Anatomy
Forest Products Laboratory
USDA Forest Service
1 Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 93705

Regis Miller, supervisor (in 1996)
Alex Wiedenhoeft, Contact

After you've identified the wood, you will still need to find a grade stamp 
or else visually grade the lumber using the appropriate grading rules.

Evaluate the existing connections.  If they are inadequate, they are more 
likely to lead to problems than inadequate rafter sizes.

Nels Roselund
Structural Engineer