Lumber term glossary. Sawn lumber. Wood lumber. Lumber Core Plywood. Lumber ruler

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    Glossary of Lumber Terms

    We hope that you will find below list of terms to be helpful in your understanding (or clarification) of terms used in lumber business. If you find that we have omitted a definition or that we have something incorrect, feel free to contact us.
    Air-dried lumber - Lumber that was dried, usually outside, to an equilibrium moisture content with air it was exposed to. Any lumber below 30% MC is classified as air dried. Construction grade is around 19% MC and in southern Ontario relative humidity is usually between 50 to 60 % which lumber will equalize to moisture content to between 8 to 14% MC. Annual growth rings - layer of growth that a tree puts on in one year. annual growth rings can be seen in and grain of lumber.
    Birds-eye figure - A figure on wood, usually maple and a few other species. figure is composed of many small rounded areas resembling a birds eye. figuring is most common on plain and rotary sawn lumber.
    Board Foot - A form of wood measurement, where one board foot equals volume of a board I inch thick, 12 inches wide, and 12 inches long.
    Bookmatch - A term in veneering or sawing, where successive pieces of veneer, or boards, from a flitch, or log, are arranged side by side. A properly done bookmatch will resemble a mirror image of opposite side. Other names are sisters, butterflied and mirrors.
    Bound water- water found within cell wall of wood.
    Bow - A defective piece of lumber that has warped along its length.
    Brad - A small finishing nail up to 1" long.
    Burl - Bulges and irregular growths that form on trunks and roots of trees. Burls are highly sought after for incredible veneer they yield and are used in turning as well.
    Butt Joint - A woodworking joint where edges of two hoards are placed against each other.
    Cambium - live, actively growing, layer of a tree. cambium is one cell thick and resides between sapwood and the phloem. It repeatedly divides itself to form new wood end causes tree to grow and expand. It is layer that becomes either bark or wood and lies dormate in winter.
    Case Hardening - A defect in lumber caused by improper drying. Case Hardening is caused when a board is dried too fast. The outer layers in a case hardened board are compressed while inner layers are in tension.
    Cell - smallest, microscopic, structure in wood.
    Check - A lumber defect caused by uneven shrinking of wood during drying. A checked board has splits which develop lengthwise across growth rings.
    Clear - A board which is free of defects.
    Common Grade Lumber - Lumber with obvious defects.
    Compound Cut - An angled cut to both the edge and face of a hoard.
    Crook - A lumber defect where there is an edgewise warp effecting straightness of board
    Crotch - In lumber, a piece of wood taken from fork of a tree. Crotch Veneer is highly valued for its figuring.
    Cup (cupping)- A defect in lumber where face of board warps up like letter U.
    D2S - Lumber that has been dressed on two sides.
    Deciduous - Generally trees that have broad leaves that are shed in fall. Usually it is a hard wood.
    Defect - An irregularity found in a board that lowers its strength and value. Common defects are knots, staining, checks, etc..
    Edge Joining - Smoothing and squaring the edge of a board so that it can be glued up
    squarely to another piece.
    Equilibrium moisture content(EMC) - When level of moisture in a board is equal to moisture in surrounding air.
    Face Veneer - High quality veneer that is used for exposed surfaces on plywood.
    Flat-sawn Lumber - A method of sawing lumber where log is cut tangential to growth rings.
    Free Water - Moisture found in cell cavities of wood.
    Girth - distance around a tree; the circumference.
    Grain - size, alignment, and color of wood fibers in a piece of lumber
    Green Lumber(Live) - Freshly cut lumber that has not had time to dry. Lumber that is above 30% moisture content.
    Heartwood - dead inner core of a tree. Usually much harder and darker than new wood.
    Infeed - direction a work piece is fed into a blade or cutter.
    Kiln - In lumber drying, a kiln is a room or building where temperature, moisture, and air circulating are controlled to dry wood.
    Latewood - part of a trees annual growth ring that is formed later in season
    Linear Foot - A measurement of length of a board.
    Lumber - Logs which have been sawn, planed, and cut to length.
    Lumber-Core Plywood - Plywood where thin sheets of veneer are glued to a core of narrow boards. Lumber-core plywood differs from regular plywood in that regular plywood is made up of successive layers of alternating grain veneer.
    Lumber ruler - A tool resembling a ruler with a handle at one end and a hood at other which is used to calculate board footage of a piece of lumber.
    Medium density fiberboard (MDF) - A special type of tempered hardboard characterized by a very fine, smooth finish. MDF is used in cabinet making.
    Mill-run- Lumber that is in varying widths and grades.
    Moisture Content(MC) - A measure of amount of water in a piece of lumber.
    Nominal Size - rough-sawn size of a piece of lumber. When purchasing planed lumber it is sold by its nominal, rough sawn, size. For example a 2"x4" is nominal size for a board whose actual dimension is 1.4" x 3.25".
    Ogee - A decorative molding profile with a S shape.
    Outfeed - side of a power tool where board exits, (see infeed)
    Oven-dried weight -The weight of a piece of lumber that has been dried, under high temperatures, in an oven until it is devoid of all water. Used to calculate moisture content of wood.
    Particleboard core plywood - Plywood that is made by gluing a thin layer of veneer to a piece of particleboard.
    Phloem - inner part of a tree's bark that delivers water and other nutrients.
    Photosynthesis - A process that plants use to synthesize nutrients from water end minerals, using light.
    Pitch Pocket - A pocket of resinous sap confined within grain of many conifers.
    Pith - soft core in center of a tree trunk.
    Plain-Sawn lumber - A method of sawing lumber where log is cut tangential to growth rings, also called n when referring to, softwoods.
    Porous wood - Wood with larger than normal pores and vessels
    Quarter-sawn - A method of cutting lumber where annual rings are relatively perpendicular to face of board. Quarter-sawn lumber tends to be more dimensionally stable than other forms of lumber, such as plane-sawn.
    Radial Shrinkage - Shrinkage in a piece of lumber that occurs across growth rings as it begins to dry.
    Ray - A ribbon like figure caused by the strands of cells which extend across grain in quarter-sawn lumber.
    Reaction Wood - Abnormal wood tissue that was formed in a leaning tree. Reaction wood is very unstable and prone to warping and cupping when sawn into lumber.
    Relative Humidity - amount of moisture in air is measured as a percentage of total amount of moisture air can hold at a particular temperature. This is known as relative humidity. ideal relative humidity for a home is between 35% and 45%, too much above or below these levels problems can begin to occur.
    Ripcut (ripping) - A cut made parallel to grain of a board.
    Rotary-cut Veneer- Veneer which was cut from a log in one long sheet. Rotary cut veneer is cut from a log like a roll of paper towels.
    Rough-sawn - Lumber that is either green or dried that has not been dressed. (planed).
    Sap - water in a tree which is rich in minerals and nutrients.
    Sapwood - new wood in a tree that lies between bark and heartwood. Sapwood is usually lighter in color, and becomes heartwood as tree ages.
    Seasoning - process of removing the moisture from green wood to improve its workability and stability.
    Selects - In softwood, lumber which has been graded strictly for its appearance. In hardwood, lumber which is one grade below first and second.
    Softwoods - Generally lumber from a conifer such as pine or cedar. name softwood does not refer to density of the wood. There are some hardwoods which are softer than some softwoods.
    Sound - A term referring to a board which has no or very few defects which will effect its strength
    Specific Gravity - ratio of the weight of wood to an equal volume off, rater. higher specific gravity, heavier wood.
    Stain - A discoloration in wood caused by a fungus, minerals or chemicals. A or pigment used to discolor wood.
    Sticker - A " to 1" wood strip that is inserted between stacks of green wood and spaced between 16" to 24" to allow air to flow through stack to ensure proper drying..
    Surfaced Lumber - A piece of wood that has been planed smooth on one or more surfaces.
    Surfacing - Way a piece of lumber has been prepared at lumber mill.
    Taper - A piece of wood that has been cut so that it is wider on one edge than other.
    Tongue and Groove - A joinery method where one board is cut with a protruding "groove" and matching piece is cut with matching grove along its edge.
    Twist - Warping in lumber where ends twist in opposite directions.
    Veneer - A thin sheet of wood cut from a log.
    Veneer-core Plywood - Plywood made from three or more pieces of veneer glued up in alternating-grain patterns.
    Wane - Found usually in mill run lumber, it is bark running along edge length of board.
    Warp - A defect in lumber characterized by a bending in one or more directions.
    Wormholes - Holes and channels cut in wood by insects.

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