In addition to sorting for grades or selecting specific widths, various species are commercially sold at an added value when colour is also considered. It is important to note, colour in this explanation refers to sapwood and heartwood.
Number 1 and 2 white
A colour selection typically made on hard maple, but can be applied to any species where sapwood clear cuttings are desired, such as ash, birch, and soft maple. Number 1 white means both faces and edges of the clear cuttings must be all sapwood. Number 2 white means that one face and both edges of the clear cuttings must be sapwood and not less than 50% sapwood on the reverse face.
Sap and better
Commercially sold when only one face of the board needs to be sapwood. Usually applied to the same species as Number 1 and 2 White, although just a little less stringent. In Sap and Better every board should have a minimum of one sapwood face in the clear cuttings.
Red one face and better
Commercially sold when a minimum of one face of the board needs to be heartwood. Usually applied to species such as cherry, oak, walnut, gum, and even birch and maple in certain applications. What the producer is looking for in this specification is that all clear cuttings must have a minimum of one heartwood face.
There is a wide range of additional options open to American hardwood producers in sorting and selecting specific lengths, widths and even grain patterns. If these can be agreed individually between producers and buyers, there can be benefits by making modifications to the standard grades shown in this guide. This may also assist with improving the yield from each log and thus contribute to the sustainability of the forest. It may also reduce costs to both sides or add value to the delivery.
Cherry sorted 90-50 red
Refers to 90% heartwood on the better face and not less than 50% heartwood on the reverse face.
Red oak color sorting
American red oak encompasses nearly 35% of the hardwood timber stand throughout North America from Maine through to Louisiana. Because of weather-related differences in growing conditions, a wide range of colour is apparent in the heartwood of the tree. Some common colour sorts include: wheat, rose and pink as well as regional sorts of Northern, Appalacian and Southern. Northern tends to be most consistent in colour, leaning to the lighter wheat colour ranges, generally slower growth, tighter growth rings producing on average narrower widths and shorter lengths than the other regions.
Appalacian encompasses all the growing regions because of the vastness of the area and diversity of climate, elevation and soil conditions. The higher elevations tend to produce a more Northern colour, but with larger widths and lengths. The lowlands most resemble Southern timber producing the largest average of width and lengths and a wide band of colour ranges. Southern red oak tends to consistently produce the largest timber sizes yielding the best lumber widths and lengths. A more varied colour range is also present. The importance of the diversity of red oak and its origin is key to its success with any hardwoods manufacturer. If long lengths and wide widths are vital to a manufacturer, then Southern or South-Appalacian could be purchased. If a consistent colour is needed, seek out a Northern supplier or one that includes colour-sorting in their grading. Any possible combination of colour, widths or lengths can be achieved from almost all regions with the proper communication between buyer and supplier.
Quarter and Rift Sawn lumber
A type of sawing referring to the angle of the growth rings to the face of the board. Quarter sawn boards will have the growth rings, seen from the end of the board, run at or near 90 degrees and in oaks will produce a spotted figure or tiger stripe. Rift sawn will have the growth rings, seen from the end of the board, run at or near 45 degrees and will produce a consistent straight grain. When grading quarter and rift sawn red or white oak, 90% of the clear cutting yield must show figure or straight grain respectively. The FAS grade will allow a 5 inch (12.7cm) minimum width.