Grades of Hardwood

Grading designation depends on the number of defects in a given length and width of hardwood boards. As with softwoods, a lower grade can be perfectly acceptable, depending on placement and usage. Hardwoods are graded by the National Hardwood Lumber Association. Here’s a chart to help explain the grading system. Grades are listed from highest to lowest.

Grade Name Abbreviation  Minimum Board Size   % Usable Material on One Face
First and SecondsFAS6 inch x 8 feet83
Select Sel4 inch x 6 feet83
#1 Common#1 Com3 inch x 4 feet66
#2 Common#2 Com3 inch x 4 feet50
Grades of Softwoods

Softwoods are divided into two categories: dimensional lumber, with a grade based on strength, and appearance boards, which are typically used for woodworking projects. Grading of softwoods is overseen by a number of different agencies, so you will be more likely to find some variations in terminology. Grades listed here are from highest to lowest. 

Grade – What it Means ?
C SelectAlmost completely clear of defects. Widely used for interior trim and cabinets.
D Select Fine appearance, similar to C Select. May have dime-sized knots.
1 CommonBest material for high-quality pine with a knotty look. Knots will be tight, meaning they won’t fall out and are generally small.
2 Common Tight knots, but larger than found in 1 Common. Often used for panelling and shelving. Very suitable for general woodworking projects.
3 Common Knots larger than 2 Common. Also used for panelling and shelving, but especially well-suited for fences, boxes, and crates.
Common Lumber Defects
Conversion Formula

Board footage formula

T” x W” x L” / 144

Example * 6 Bd. ft = 2 x 6 x 72 / 144

Square Feet to Linear Feet :

Waste Factor

You will nearly always incur a minimum waste of 35% in top grades. Few species are less, several are more. We can guide you in this matter at the time of your order. To avoid unnecessary waste, state the quantity and finished sizes of the pieces that you wish to make.

How we measure

4/4 = 1 inch thick

8/4 = 2 inches thick