Selecting Lumber for Best Results

We all know to avoid lumber with large, loose knots, and twisted, warped, split, cupped or checked lumber... but how do you tell which boards will most likely do those bad things AFTER you buy them and use them? Here are some photos to show you what to look for and what to avoid. The pieces on the left are desirable and those on the right side of the photos are to be avoided. This is based on how wood behaves depending on ring shape, density and orientation. The last photo shows you what the pith looks like on the face rather than end of the board.
  • Michele Hinojosa
    Michele Hinojosa Corona, CA
    Thanks for the information. I have a question. I recently bought some lumber for a small project and now there is sap coming out from it even after I painted it. How do I stop this from happening or get rid of it?
    • Brian Campbell, Basswood Artisan Carpentry
      Michele Hinojosa I think unfortunately the sap will run out over time, until it well... runs out. Once most of the sap appears to have run and been cleaned off, shellac works
  • Jesica
    Jesica Seattle, WA
    This is so helpful, thanks for posting it!
  • Moch ichsan
    moch ichsan Indonesia
    sangat membantu untuk sebuah kontruksi...

    thanks a lot.....

  • Jon.murphy
    jon.murphy San Mateo, CA
    So What? you need to say why we would want a certain grain.. I suspose less rings will bed a lighter wood , maybe we want this??U don't seem to bright.. Jon
  • Nick
    Nick Australia
    I read an article recently which stated using the diagonal grain for the legs of a side table.
Brian Campbell, Basswood Artisan Carpentry

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