Hardwood Width Sorts Are No Problem at All

Anyone familiar with the hardwood lumber industry knows that the standard way to sell hardwood lumber is in random width and length bundles. However, quite often manufacturers will request boards sorted and packaged in a certain way. We see this frequently from our flooring customers, moulding and millwork companies and even door and window manufacturers.

hardwood lumber width sortsThe reason for this is it helps our customers reduce the amount of hardwood waste they might produce when making their end products. The closer they can start using a board to the final products width the better their lumber yields are going to be, which in turn, saves them money.

Many species are provided in width sorted bundles. Some of our most popular species requested width sorted include hard maple, hickory, red oak and white oak. However, almost all the North American hardwood species are provided in a width sort manner.

In general, our width sorted lumber ranges from 4” to 9” in ½ inch increments, (for example 5” to 5 ½” or 7” to 7 ½”), and them 10”, 11” and 12” and wider after that.

It is important to note that one of the more difficult species to obtain wide width sorts in is walnut. Walnut is known to produce narrower logs when harvested when compared to other North American species.

Width sorting is also much more prevalent in 8/4 thicknesses and below. For thicknesses above that we find the demand is just not there on a consistent basis to try to inventory those products.

No conversation about width sorting would be complete without mentioning ripped hardwood lumber as well. Many customers will also try to get as exact as they can when ordering lumber, especially when they know the specific widths they need to feed into their moulders to produce their product. These hardwood rips, typically SLR2E, are an important part of the lumber purchasing consideration for many companies, especially cabinet manufacturers.

Widths are not the only special sorts provided. Hardwood suppliers also provide lumber sorted for color, length and even certain special characteristics such as rustic grade. If you have any questions on sorted lumber, please give us a call. We would be happy to help.

Tony C.
The Baillie Group
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