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Re: Lumber grading from small mills

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Jordan,

You can certainly go shell out some $$$ to buy various grading rule books
since I know how much extra cash you got clogging up your pockets!!!
<grin>

Actually, the grading rules books are usuallly rather VERY inexpensive
(WWPA's for western soft woods such as doug-fir is $6 I believe) or free
(NELMA's which includes various oak species amoung other is at:
http://www.nelma.org/nelma/udp_images/GradeRuleBook_Complete.pdf).  So,
you could realisically get some of the grading rule books and "bone up" on
grading rules if you want.  If nothing else, it might be a tool to cure
insomina some night!

Regards,

Scott
Adrian, MI


On Thu, 2 Feb 2006, Jordan Truesdell, PE wrote:

> Scott,
>
> Thanks for taking the time to type all of that.  It's a big help.  I'm
> not really particular about forcing a certified grader on most of these
> guys, but I do need to be able to give them some guidance. Around here,
> code enforcement ranges from moderate to non-existent, but I'd like to
> be reasonably certain that the numbers I'm using for design are in the
> same ballpark as what's being put up.  Also, I don't want one of my
> clients to frame up a house, then fail an inspection because there's no
> ink stamp on the lumber.  That's usually when I get called in to
> "approve" or "disapprove" the as-built condition. Since I know almost
> nothing about grading rules, it puts me in an awkward position.
>
> Jordan
>
> Scott Maxwell wrote:
>
> >Jordan,
> >
> >To my understanding, anyone can "grade" a piece of lumber.  You just need
> >to get your hands on a grading rules book/publication from the appropriate
> >organiztion that deals with the wood species that you want to grade (you
> >can see a list of those organizations with their "species" in the NDS
> >Supplement).  Thus, you can grab a grading rules book and take a look a
> >piece of lumber yourself and determine a grade.
> >
> >Typically, however, it is desired to have "certified" grader do the
> >grading of lumber.  A certified grader would be someone who has had some
> >"formal" training and presumably testing of how to apply the grading
> >rules.  This also means that this person must pay money to "remain
> >current" with their certification much like you and I must pay money to
> >remain "current" with our license.  The idea of this route, obviously, it
> >to in theory ensure that you don't get some dude off the corner just
> >coming and saying "Oh, that is Select Structural" and not know if that
> >dude really knows what he is saying.
> >
> >Most dimensional (i.e. 2x, 3x, etc) is graded at the mills by certified
> >graders.  The issue becomes a little more "sticky" when dealing with
> >timbers.  The grade of timbers can be changed by cutting the length of the
> >timber (some of the grading criteria on timbers, I believe, is governed by
> >the the slope of grain, number of knots, etc in the middle third of the
> >member...thus, if you "buy" a 20 ft White Oak timber that then gets cut in
> >half to become 2 10ft long roof rafters or such, the grade could
> >potentially change as your middle 1/3 of the member in question just
> >"changed").  I don't believe that one can grade logs per the typical
> >grading criteria per these various organizations' grading rules...you need
> >to see things like grain slope and number of knots and other "defects" in
> >order to use the typical grading rules...I believe.
> >
> >The point is that you can specify that lumber/timbers must be graded by a
> >certified grader.  There are certified graders that can be hired to come
> >grade lumber/timbers.  The timber (for traditional timber framing) that we
> >use is generally NOT graded by a certified grader.  We don't have a
> >certified grader on staff as it is rather expensive to keep the
> >certificates up-to-date (keep in mind that you must have certificates from
> >different organiztaions for different species so cost can add up quick),
> >but we do have people on staff who are familiar with the grading rules for
> >the species that we typically use.  As such, we can "unofficially" grade
> >the material we use.  If the project requires certified grading (i.e. the
> >project specifications done by the AOR or EOR), then we will try to talk
> >the AOR/EOR out of it, but will do it if required.  If it is required,
> >then we hire a "consultant" who is a certified grader to come in and grade
> >the timbers for that project.  In our case, this usually then "certified"
> >by a piece of paper rather than a stamp on the timber as most clients
> >would not really like to have a lovely black ink stamp in the middle of an
> >exposed timber.
> >
> >So, you can certainly require that a contractor/manufacturer hire a
> >"consultant" grader to come in and grade any non-graded lumber or timber
> >on a project.  Just keep in mind that it is an added expense and you will
> >likely be "forced" to justify yourself to someone who does not want to pay
> >that expense.  It all becomes a choice on your part of how much of an
> >issue do you want to make of it.  It becomes more "difficult" to be
> >justified in forcing the issue if you are dealing with a long established
> >lumber/timber supplier who may have staff on hand who realistically can
> >grade just fine but are not certified (and this is not to say that you
> >would still not be justified...just that the arguement becomes tougher).
> >
> >HTH,
> >
> >Scott
> >Adrian, MI
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
>
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