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Author Topic: Hardwood widths  (Read 1028 times)

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Offline chinaberry

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Hardwood widths
« on: January 13, 2021, 11:28:56 PM »
Iím thinking about decreasing the number of widths of boards I cut of hardwood.  Instead of cutting random width hardwood, for instance, I am thinking of only cutting 4-1/2Ē, 6-1/2Ē, 8-1/2Ē, 10-1/2Ē wide boards.  (This would leave me with 4Ē, 6Ē, 8Ē, 10Ē boards after drying and planing.)

The effort here is to reduce the shear numbers of different skuís in inventory.  I realize that this introduces added waste, but was curious how  the more experienced sawyers handled this problem.

Also, when going to the big box stores... what widths of finished hardwood are sold.  Is there an industry standard?  I want to simplify, but I donít know what is generally accepted.

A lot of posts and discussion have been made on the thickness of hardwood boards, but not so much about widths.

Also, would like to hear comments on hardwood lengths that you guys are cutting... 

Thanks

Offline Ianab

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Re: Hardwood widths
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2021, 12:44:52 AM »
Hardwoods like that are usually sold by the bd/ft @random widths. Most need to be 6" plus to make the FAS grade?

The thing about having set widths is that you might be leaving valuable wood in the slabs you take off or the edgings. If you edge a 9" board down to 8", that's throwing out 12.5% of the value. 

Different with dimensional lumber where you are selling a 6x2 or 8 / 10 /12 etc. Then it's up to you to work out how to get the best recovery from that log.  
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Offline barbender

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Re: Hardwood widths
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2021, 01:16:45 AM »
I don't have any standard widths, but I suppose even widths would make things easier. Also, I'd think you'll have to go more than 10-1/2" to end up with a 10" dried and planed board 
Too many irons in the fire

Offline Brad_bb

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Re: Hardwood widths
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2021, 01:24:28 AM »
Well when you're cutting green, you can't always predict exactly how much the board will shrink or move. I don't sell anything, but have cut a lot of side wood and 2x material.  I started out with the set widths you mentioned, but then quickly went to random widths to maximize the Yield. You have to edge them again after drying anyway, so why not just leave the wood there until it's time to trim it?  Or just leave it in general?  You can still say a 4.25" board is 4" for sale purposes... If a guy wants a glue line rip quality edge, I bet they'd prefer to do it and having the extra quarter inch is beneficial.  I dunno, I just found it easier to edge a green board to the max clean width, than edging off more and possibly wasting wood at the first pass.
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Offline WDH

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Re: Hardwood widths
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2021, 08:02:53 AM »
I will not cut hardwood to store bought widths.  I get asked all the time, but I tell the customer's that I do not saw to store bought widths in hardwood.  That is the customer's problem to deal with. 
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Offline moodnacreek

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Re: Hardwood widths
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2021, 08:18:03 AM »
I have a huge inventory of random width both soft and hardwood. Except for true professional cabinet makers, customers hate random width. Carpenters will not touch it. If I had wasted all those beautiful wide boards I started sawing and stacking in 1980 I would be better off and have so much more room.  I think every board should be 6 or 8" wide and burn the 4" .  The more you waste, the more you earn!

Offline dougtrr2

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Re: Hardwood widths
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2021, 08:29:04 AM »
Why not just reduce the sku's and still cut the random widths?  Anything less that 6 1/2" is sku'd at 4 1/2",  Anything less that 8 1/2" is sku'd at 6 1/2" etc.   The regular customers that realize what you are doing will obviously go for the wider boards in the bin, and think they are getting a bargain.  I just can't see wasting the hardwood.  

Doug in SW IA

Offline chinaberry

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Re: Hardwood widths
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2021, 08:44:00 AM »
Thanks guys... Seems there are varied opinions on this.

Brad, I like your reasoning.  Hate to waste valuable wood... but at some point you must figure out what is the most cost efficient for your business.

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Offline bluthum

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Re: Hardwood widths
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2021, 09:08:23 AM »
I'm a consumer, not a sawyer but I've never seen s3s hardwood that wasn't random width. Some suppliers will rip to exact widths [s4s] but price goes up as they eat the waste.

The amount that has to be removed by the straight line saw is unpredictable.  Common way to measure a lot is to measure the width of each board in the order to the nearest inch and do the math.

I suppose the effort required to figure the footage is built into the price as would be the extra losses of lumber that would need be built into the cost of standardized width lumber.


Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Hardwood widths
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2021, 09:12:13 AM »
Actually, we buy many, many bundles of high grade hardwood, FAS and better and it is sold according to NHLA grade widths, as Random Width, Random Length (RWRL) within the grading rules for that pick.  

These wholesale packs have a rough sawmill or edger edge.  Some can be specified to have to be SL1S or Straight Lined One Side and these will still be random width some will drop below minimum grade widths due to the edge drop from edging one side.  Typically, a single edge drop can be 10% of the value of the board.

We sell S3S to all manner of professionals who don't care about the the 4rth side being edged, as long as they have one straight edge to work off. S3S by far helps sell more wood that S4S or fixed standard width.  One of the places we buy packs of lumber from from is the second largest distributer of high grade hardwood on the Southeast US and and much of their wood is sold that way, i.e S3S.  Also, the thickness is set to hit or miss planed at 15/16" for 4/4.  They rarely sell S4S. Many pros will not buy already planed 3/4" hardwood.  They want 15/16 skip planed.

However, when they do want S4s, the edge drop on the second edge is up to another 10%, although usually the combined loss is totaled about 15% to 20% for edged both sides.  The catch is that the packs are sold on gross tally, before drying shrinkage and before any secondary processing.  Between the kiln board shrinkage and edge drop, there is up to a 25% loss on S3S kiln dried hardwood that the buyer (me) has to pay for.  

If the wood is then cut to standard widths, the edge drop would be even more significant, and these big distributers will do that but of course all the cost of the processing as well as the lumber tally loss must be paid by the customer.  This can be a lot.

So if you were going to cut to standard widths, then the price increase should be paid by the customer, and not the supplier.  if your customers would be willing to pay for the extra secondary processing and edge drop, than sure, it a viable idea.  If not, then the supplier is losing money.

When I set my edger and straight lines rip saws, I normally go to the nearest half inch, because it seems that about 90% of the time, that is what is required to clean up and get good straight edges on a curved board.

When I'm doing it green on the twin blade edger, I consider it still part of the sawmill processing stage, and not true edge drop.  However, when I'm using the SLR on kiln dried lumber, it is true edge drop plus processing labor, and that expense gets passed on to the customer, which is industry convention.
 
That is the trade off, edge drop is real, and can be significant.  It can add up to 10's of thousands of dollars per year.  It just depends on who pays for it, me or the customer.
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Hardwood widths
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2021, 10:07:46 AM »
I have a huge inventory of random width boards both hard and softwood. Except for true professional cabinet makers, nobody buys random widths. Carpenters will not touch it. All those beautiful wide boards should have been ripped to 6 0r 8" and the 4" minus strips burned. The more you waste the more you earn . I would be better off and have more room today had I done this.
    I pretty much saw standard 2" widths mostly for the convenience of stacking on standard pallets to dry. I am a tiny sawyer compare to many above. I don't find that much waste because I plan to cut these widths. Obviously I am not doing grade sawing. I don't have a kiln or adequate storage space to store my lumber by grade, species and size.

   I do disagree a bit with Moody above on saving the 4" widths. I often have local rural customers who want 4" strips to put under metal shed or barn roofs they are building and I will get customers who come buy all I have and I sometimes even have to re-saw wider boards to get them enough to fill their order. In the case of tulip poplar, which is what I saw more of than anything else, I could probably also sell all the 3" 4/4 strips I have for battens which are another popular item. Moody's market may be different than mine so do what works best for you in your market.

   I am not really a lumberyard and prefer to custom saw for others and would rather have the logs handy on the yard to saw to order. (There is the same bf in a 1X8 as a 2X4 but once sawed I am stuck with my choice.) What I have stored is what is left over from such custom sawing or what I did not have an imminent order for and sawed for stock to keep them from going bad on me. 

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Offline chinaberry

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Re: Hardwood widths
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2021, 11:49:31 AM »
Thanks, again, you guys for taking the time out of your busy day to share your experiences and knowledge.

Iím just getting settled-in with my new Lt-35 hydraulic... love it!  Sawing syp, water oak, and cypress.  Looking to build a kiln very soon.  Just looking to sell some wood part-time.  Iím 67yo, and I really donít want (at this stage of my life) a big operation.

Looking to buy some high quality red and white oak logs to mill when I get through with the 22 cypress logs on hand.  Thanks again!

Online Crusarius

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Re: Hardwood widths
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2021, 12:10:00 PM »
if you decide to go standard widths anything that ends up trimmed off works well for stickers.

Typically I cut a 3 sided cant then cut the boards I want out of that. Since I am sawing for myself I get maximum yield.

Offline Don P

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Re: Hardwood widths
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2021, 05:38:55 PM »
One of y'all with the NHLA book, please check something. I believe lumber is sold net dimension if kiln dried, not the tally of the green dimension. The price can be adjusted by you to reflect the shrinkage but I believe the tally must reflect what is actually there.
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Online btulloh

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Re: Hardwood widths
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2021, 06:19:53 PM »
Donít have the book DonP, but Iíve bought a lot rough kd lumber in random widths in many parts of the US and itís always tallied by actual dried dimension. Walnut, cherry, oak, poplar, ash, bubinga, rock maple, lacewood, purpleheart, ziricote, padauk, and other stuff. All random width and tallied by what is and not what was. So Iím guessing thatís what the book says.  Only time I see nominal green dimensions is on framing lumber and such.  Now HD is explaining on the the tags that a 2x4 is not 2x4Ē but 1 15/32 x 3 31/64 because some morons filed a class action suit.

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Offline moodnacreek

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Re: Hardwood widths
« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2021, 06:38:15 PM »
One of y'all with the NHLA book, please check something. I believe lumber is sold net dimension if kiln dried, not the tally of the green dimension. The price can be adjusted by you to reflect the shrinkage but I believe the tally must reflect what is actually there.
Hardwood, green -rough must be oversize called dimension. I think it is 1/16" + per inch.  Sawmill manufactures made setworks parts to do this automatically . In 'pine' they are not used as pine is sawed to the called size.  I don't see how the lumber could be measured any different after dried and planned as this loss was already figured in.

Offline Don P

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Re: Hardwood widths
« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2021, 07:18:27 PM »
It's been over 30 years ago and my short term memory ain't what it used to be. I ran the rough end in a cabinet/millwork shop, receiving was one of my jobs. I was consistently coming up about 10% short from one of the suppliers and upon quizzing them they said that was the shrinkage from drying. I went to the boss with their excuse and he looked it up and came back saying that, no, we were purchasing net dried volume. So I ended up scaling a whole bunch of lumber and marking up tickets. As time went on I had more conversations with the driver. They were buying on net dried dimension and selling by that shrinkage story. This is a weights and measures thing, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, just wanting to clarify to keep someone out of hot water. There is no problem adjusting your pricing to reflect shrinkage losses but the footage has to be according to the established rules to stay in the clear.
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Online Ron Wenrich

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Re: Hardwood widths
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2021, 09:48:03 AM »
Lumber grading is done with a scale stick.  It has divisions on the scale for the length of the lumber.  You lay it on the board and it will give you the volume in the board in full bd ft volume.  There are no fractions of a foot.  For boards that fall exactly on the half foot, you are supposed to put one up and the next one down to even out the footage.  It makes lumber tally really easy.

Its possible to get less if you are more exacting in your measurements.  For example, if an 8' board is a scant 6", the tally will be for 4 bd ft, but you might scale it at 3.9 or 3.8 bd ft.  A lot would depend on what grade you're buying and how its been separated.  We used to pull widths of 10" and wider for a buyer that paid a premium.  I heard some cabinet makers that were buying Select grade and only got 4-6" pieces and a lot of shorts.
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