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Buy Pre-Surfaced Hardwoods

January 9, 2019Olen Murriel

A comprehensive analysis guide for buyers of Pre-Surfaced Hardwoods


Hardwoods usually pass through many stages of production at the sawmill before it finally becomes a finished product that is used for any purpose. In the beginning stage, hardwoods such as maple, walnut, cherry, oak etc. are taken to the sawmill as large trunk trees to be cut to a sizeable shape that is desired into lumbers. The resulting lumber, however, is very rough on the surface and are needed to be further resized, reshape into smaller plank, and then smoothen to get a finished product.

Sometimes, the lumber gotten from the trunk trees after being cut at the sawmill are left as they are and sold in that state as rough cut lumber. So, they are sent to the lumber wholesaler to sell it off in that state or to further work on it and than sell it off while it has been improved upon, or as the case may be.

A surfaced lumber

A surfaced lumber is lumber whose top surface has been made plain and smooth in the sawmill after it was already in the rough stage. It is good to have the board surfaced because it allows the miller to ship a large number of surfaced lumbers at a time than rough out ones. Surfaced lumber occupies less space compared to rough cut lumbers that occupy large space while shipping in the truckload.

However, for those who desire to surface the lumber while it is still in their workshop, it is important they have some powerful tools in order to accomplish this task. One of the tools that are most needed is the surface planer This tool is used to smoothen lumber surface, although not to the degree that makes it usable as a final product. But what it does is to smoothen the rough surface and reduce the thickness level to the desired level as well.

Another tool that is needed is the jointer. A jointer is used after the surface planer finishes its own work of smoothing. It is also called a jointer plane because, just like the surface planer, it is used to surface the board, but its own function is to work on the edge of the lumber — it smooths it and reduces it to the desired size. In other words, the surface planer smooths the large surfaces and reduces their length, but a jointer smooths the edges and resizes it to the required size as well.

However, for anyone who desires to buy pre-surfaced lumber, such a person should get acquitted with some technical terms that are prevalent in the woodworking parlance. Otherwise, such a person may be lost in confusion with those terms. For examples, S2S refers to a board that is surfaced on the two largest surfaces; S4S refers to boards that are surfaced on the two largest surfaces plus the two edges as well, and S1S refers to a board that is surfaced on just one of the large surface, but this is very rare.

Regarding the measurement, however, one should take note of the following. Lumber is graded in quarters when it is measured in terms of board feet. This means that each quarter equals one-quarter of an inch. Therefore, an 8/4 board is two inches thick and 4/4 board is just an inch thick.

Be mindful of this and take note.

You should take note that lumber will only maintain its thickness while it is yet to be surfaced. Once it is surfaced, the thickness is gone. So, the only time a lumber can enjoys any thickness is while it is still in the rough stage when it is not surfaced the least. And once it is surfaced, it shrinks in size and the measurement reduces.

Take the following for examples; a 4 by 4 board will later measure around 13 by 16 inch once surfaced; a 6 by 4 board will later measure 1% inches thick rather than its initial 1A inches expected because of its being a 6 by 4 label; and an 8 by 4 board will later measure 2 inches in thickness rather than the 1A inches it was during the rough cut stage.

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