Wood Words: What Lumber Terms Mean

You walk into Schutte Lumber Company and take in all the sights and smells of the lumber, the sawdust, the complete 8,000 square foot showroom full of construction materials. And then you start talking to one of their experienced salesmen and hear words that maybe you aren’t quite sure of the definition. Here is short list of some of the more common terms used in the lumber business.

  • Wood grain. The technical meaning is the orientation of wood-cell fibers. To a craftsman it’s what gives a piece of wood its texture and pattern.
  • Green lumber. This is wood that hasn’t been dried or treated. Green lumber still has a very high moisture content and is susceptible to rot and insect infestation. Also when used in construction, warping is a major concern since as the wood dries out it shrinks and twists.
  • Hardwoods and softwoods. Hardwood is lumber from deciduous flowering broadleaved trees like an oak or hickory, while softwoods are from coniferous trees such as an evergreen.
  • Hand hewn. A piece of lumber that has been squared off and shaped by hand instead of mass produced through a commercial planing machine.
  • Treated lumber. Wood which has been coated with chemicals or stains in order to retard against insect damage, decay, or moisture is sold as treated. Some lumber is also specifically treated for fire protection.

Want more of a lumber education? Stop by and visit the experienced sales staff at Schutte Lumber Company.


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