Lumber Industrial

May 17, 2015

Industrial LumberSelecting the right kind of grade and species is a critical factor in Industrial Manufacturing lumber purchasing.

Wholesale Industrial Lumber Distributor (Chicago based) Great Northern Lumber recently had a new client that just started manufacturing specialty, fabricated steel products and shipping them across the country. They needed an industrial lumber expert to guide them through the logistics of protecting their upscale craftsmanship as it traveled. Like many new businesses they were concerned about price point. So they wanted to buy the lowest grade lumber for their shipping and crating. After all it was just shipping right?

Well our Industrial Lumber and Plywood sales experts knew that the lowest grade is not always the right answer. So we scheduled a free on-site consultation to talk to the owner, one on one; asking specific questions and walking them through the standard process is the best way to understand what manufacturers do when they use industrial/remanufactured lumber. First they open their lumber shipment. They go through each piece to ensure that it looks visually appealing and that there are no knots in places that might make the packaging less durable. Their goal is to protect their product and communicate to their customers the value of their product. With lower grade industrial lumber it means more knots and less visual appeal, which means more lumber is wasted. So at first it might seem like you are saving money but if those two factors are important, you may have just shot yourself in the foot.

Of course this varies depending on the situation which is why Great Northern Lumber offers free on-site consultations, lumber assessments and education. Below are some general guidelines on what manufacturers need to know about industrial lumber:


Understanding the grading process is the key to getting the best suited piece of Industrial Lumber.

Each piece of industrial lumber (boards, dimension, and timbers) is riddled with clues to the past, all factoring in to every piece’s unique appearance. Hot summers and frigid winters, a gambit of elements: rain, snow, and wind, and even the abuse of forest fires, insects, and harvesting can present itself in each piece. Each grade is more of a story than anything else. Ultimately, isn’t literature 6 degrees separated from carpentry? You are working with reality a material just as hard as wood.

Many factors determine the grade of a piece of lumber including: the location, size and placement of knots, holes, checks, machining defects, skips, slope of grain, species, twisting, unsound wood, wane, warp and white spec. Defects are allowed to become larger and more frequent as the grades go lower.

Next time we will discuss common grades in Industrial Manufacturing, Waste, and one final tidbit of information – Exporting your Products . . . ever wonder what HT or Dunnage Stamp wood means?