Post by wisconsinjoe on Apr 30, 2015 21:25:44 GMT -8
I just picked up a nice load of common 2x4 lumber which is usually mixed hemlock or fir (here in Wisconsin), the latter generally lighter and whiter, while the former is often heavier and stronger. Lightness is probably better for the campers because weight trumps strength here. However I noticed that "pre-cut studs" for 9 foot walls had superior lumber at my local (not big box)lumber yard that was far superior to the regular even length lumber. I could quickly tell the quality by looking at the end grain of the pallet of boards. Many were quarter sawn and virtually clear lumber, hence very strong and stable. Google images for quarter sawn and you can easily learn to recognize it. It was only a little mord expensive than the regulsr lengths. I'll rip on the table saw and run through my thickness planer.
Good on you wisconsinjoe for snagging a nice pile of wood.
Here in the PNW, common lumber is labeled Hem/Fir which is misleading because it is always Western Hemlock. If you want Douglas Fir, you have to specify it. DF is also more expensive. Unlike what you described, for trees grown in the PNW, DF is heavier and has much darker heartwood than Western Hemlock.
Which brings up another consideration, lumber is a regional commodity. What applies here in the PNW may not apply in the mid-west. It's important to learn your local woods and terminology. If I moved to the southeast, I'd have to re-learn everything I know about trees and lumber.
Unfortunately, as our forests diminish and lumber mills are set up for smaller and younger trees, the quality of wood available these days isn't what it used to be. In fact, even here where some of the largest trees in the world grow, there are very few mills any more will accept those very large trees. There are good reasons for this but in the end, nobody is happy with our current timber management practices. We are making progress, but still have a lot to learn and a long way to go.
Learning a little bit about wood can be very helpful. wisconsinjoe touched on growth ring orientation. I'm getting away from wall framing here, but if you orient the growth rings in your ceiling joists vertically, they will be less prone to sag than if oriented horizontally. Most pieces of wood will be bowed to some degree, install the ceiling joists with the crown up for more strength. Knots weaken the wood, try to avoid knots in the center of your ceiling joists where the weakness will be most apparent.
I a big fan of ripping down larger sized lumber. Because of the larger dimensions it's more likely to include the the heart wood with no, or significantly less knots. If you plan your cuts you can get some very nice lumber out of it.
On top of that I have a local building supply that specializes in lower quality wods. I'll pickup 1 x 12 x 8' boards for a quarter of the cost because they have big splits down the middle. I cut around the splits and end up with some very nice boards for a very good price.
Post by wisconsinjoe on May 2, 2015 8:48:28 GMT -8
If a wider board is split down the middle, it usually is cut from the center of the tree. If you rip that split out, the remaining side pieces are quarter sawn or "vertical grain" and of superior strength and stability. RinTin, the hem/fir is exactly what we get in Wisconsin, since most of our construction lumber comes from the PNW. The nice lumber I found was hemlock, light and white. But it was also very clear and mostly quarter sawn. I think a better grade was chosen for these pre-cut studs, but the price was not drastically higher.