Lumber Buying Guide


Getting Started

Lumber is a general term for all types of wood products cut from a log into all sizes and shapes, which may be treated with preservatives or not. There are two types of lumber: softwoods and hardwoods. Softwood lumber comes from conifer trees like pine, fir, spruce, and cedar. They can be easily dented with just your fingernail.

Hardwood lumber comes from deciduous trees, which have broad leaves that fall off in the cold months. The most common trees you’ll see hardwood lumber come from are oak, maple, walnut, hickory, and mahogany. As you can gather from the name, most hardwoods are harder than softwoods with the exception of balsa wood.





Types of Preservatives

Lumber Imperfections

Bow - Warp from end to end

Cup - Warp from side to side

Crook - Warp at one end of the board

Twist - Combination of bow, cup, and crook in a board

Knothole - Hole left in the board when a knot falls out

Split - Crack completely through the board thickness

Check - Crack on one side

Shake - Crack following the grain

Wane - Edge missing on one side