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Timber, Softwood, Lumber Selection for Woodworking

Selecting the right wood for Joinery and Woodworking can be frustrating. Getting it wrong can make a simple job of woodworking a nightmare. Sizes, knots, warping shrinking, splitting and that’s before you’ve even started. Going down to a Timber Merchants and asking can make you feel like you’re in line to be ripped off.
I was that beginner, I’ve made the mistakes, I’ve felt ripped off. These pages should help you up the learning curve without the hassle I’ve had.

What Wood to use for Joinery, Carpentry or general Woodworking ?

The answer to this depends on the on the jobs you’re planing to do, the results you’re after and the price you want to pay. I should point out at this stage I’m not going to cover hardwoods or manufactured wood products and I am going to generalise. The information I’m giving should get you started and point you in the right direction.

Note on Structural Building Work: eg. floor joists, rafters, stud walls. I’ll write more about it if anyone is interested. But, in short, you need to know what sections to use for the spans (lengths) and what grade of timber. Timber for building is graded in accordance with BS EN 338: 2003 Structural timber. This gives 12 grades for softwoods (C14 - C45). The numbers represent the characteristic bending stress for each strength class. Builders merchants or wood yards will supply timber stamped with the grade so you can keep the building inspectors happy.
For all other woodworking the choice is entirely in your own hands.


Next - Examples of joinery jobs, softwood types and timber grades

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Timber / wood for DIY, Wood working, Joinery, Carpentry

Examples of joinery jobs, softwood types and timber grades

Carpentry and joinery softwood types

Timber Grades, Unsorted ? Vth's ? Sawfallen ?

Timber rough sawn ? PSE ? PAR?

Commonly available rough sawn and PSE / PAR timber sizes

How to choose a Timber Yard / Supplier

Work out what timber you need for the job

Inspecting wood at the Timber Yard

Preparing the timber for acclimatising

Planing timber / wood flat, square and true

How to plane up the good pieces of wood

How to plane "diamond" pieces

How to plane Winding or Twisted timber

How to plane bowing on a timber board

How to plane cupped or cupping timber