Request Your Hardwood Lumber Surfaced

Those familiar with the purchasing of hardwood lumber directly from a sawmill know that unless specified, kiln dried hardwood lumber is typically provided rough.  However, many customers prefer to receive their hardwood lumber surfaced.  Sometimes this is because surfaced lumber drives better efficiencies in their manufacturing process. Other times it is to just be able to better determine the grain patterns or characteristics of the lumber they receive.

We also find that some hardwood distributors and manufacturers request their supplier to surface their lumber because they believe it provides a slight freight savings or because it can be done more cost effectively by the supplier than them processing the lumber through a planer themselves. 

Surfacing lumber is the act of planing the boards so that each board is smooth and uniformed in thickness.  The most common request for surfaced hardwood lumber we see is S2S, or hardwood boards surfaced on two sides. This can also be referred in the industry as hit-and-miss, meaning surfacing to a non-finished thickness such as 15/16” for 4/4 lumber.  This surfaced thickness of 15/16” allows some sections to be slightly rough or “skipped” after dressing.  However, these skipped sections must clean up at 13/16” in order to make the required lumber grade per the NHLA industry rule book. Other common thicknesses this applies to include 5/4 lumber at 1 3/16”, 6/4 lumber to 1 7/16”.

A few of the hardwood sawmill locations within The Baillie Group such as Superior Hardwoods and Hardwoods of Michigan has inline surfacing capabilities. This allows them to surface hardwood lumber by the production run and inventory that lumber in large amounts. This can be an advantage for those looking to purchase surfaced material quickly and not rely on bundles being surfaced on an order-by-order basis.

S4S, or lumber surfaced four sides, is another common surfacing option. This refers to boards being planed and in addition also being straight line ripped on two sides resulting in the board being flat, uniformed in thickness and squared up with parallel edges ready for the manufacturing process. The Baillie Lumber Ripping Division recently expanded their offerings to include S4S products to better serve hardwood distributors, retail outlets, or manufacturers looking for lumber to process directly through a moulder to produce a finished product.

Another common surfaced hardwood lumber product requested is what we call S3S. The term S3S refers to that is surfaced on two sides, but also straight line ripped on one edge, (SLR1E), to give manufacturers a try straight side to start their manufacturing process with. We typically provide S3S lumber to customers from our Smyrna NY facility.  

As one of the leading hardwood manufacturers in North America, we can handle all these options and surfacing lumber is something we provide our customers on a daily basis.

Do you have the need to surface your hardwoods? Are you looking for a supplier to provide it for you? Let us know.  We would be happy to try to help make it simple and easy!

Tony Cimorelli
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