March 2022: Species of Wood

 

 

 

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March 2022
Number 97

Julia, one of our granddaughters has new glasses! As you can see, Kandy and I have been blessed with pretty granddaughters!


From the Desk of Bill

It has been an interesting winter and spring. I’ve been doing some pricing of new projects. I am also working on a couple of projects here at our headquarters. It is nothing major, just some time juggling. Of course, there are always the “honey do” items that need to be done. 
 
Another new project I have has me out of my comfort zone. I am helping a friend run for a political office. I have never done anything like this before, so I am just sort of making it up as I go. About the only connection I have had with any politician is writing them letters and complaining about them. 
 
My job specifically is to manage communications and interface with media outlets. We are also setting up some “Meet and Greets” so people can get to know our candidate. If any of you have any tips for attracting media attention, please let me, Abbey, Mandy or Willis know. 
 
When I was doing engineering design work, most of my interfacing was with physical objects (resistors, transistors and so forth). Once you understand how they work, electronic components are very predictable and do what you want them to do if your design is good. I did conduct meetings and supervise workers, so I did have some interface, but it was pretty much business. I was comfortable with that. 
 
Interfacing with people adds a layer of complexity. I am an introvert and it is not easy for me to “work the crowd” when I get to a rally. I am happy to just sit and watch. Of course, that does not work. I need to get out there and shake hands. It is not that I am a hermit or anything. How could I be with 8 children and 37 grandchildren? There are people everywhere. There always have been. 
 
Still, it is a good experience for me. I like learning new skills and doing new things even if they make me uncomfortable. 
 
I hope you all have a really pleasant and prosperous spring and summer. Things here are not as good as they could be, but when you look at Afghanistan or Ukraine (and soon Taiwan), things here look pretty good. It seems to me we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world. 
 

Species of Wood

 
Wood is a rather remarkable building material. It is totally renewable. What you don’t use can be recycled. It is strong and easy to work.
 
There are basically two types of wood: hardwood and softwood. You might think the hardness of the wood you are considering would be a factor to determine if it was hardwood or softwood, but it would not. Trees that lose their leaves in the winter are classified as hardwood. Trees that don’t lose their leaves (such as pine trees) are softwood. 
 
In building construction, pine (sometimes called SYP (Southern Yellow Pine)) is used when extra strength is needed. This might be rafters or floor joists or other areas. Pine is a hard softwood. It will split if nailed too close to the end of a board. Although SYP is strong, the strength ratings have gone down several times — probably because of “fast growth” methods some foresters are using to grow trees. 
 
Studs (vertical boards inside walls) are often spruce, pine or fir (SPF). The “pine” here is not Southern Yellow Pine, but a less hard western or northern version. SPF lumber is easy to nail, yet strong They often cost a bit more than pine. It is also light compared to its strength, so that makes it easier to use. 
 
Dimension lumber (as opposed to engineered lumber such as plywood), typically comes in widths 1″ to 6″ or so and widths of 4″ to 12″ in 2″ increments. Lengths usually start at 8′ and are available in 2′ increments to 24′ or so. 16′ is a very common length. As you go over 16′, the price goes up quickly. The actual dimensions (thickness and width) are less that the nominal size. A 2″ thick board is really 1.5″ thick for example. The lengths are the actual lengths.  
We installed these massive reclaimed beams in the ceiling of a home we built. They add a rustic look.
 
Pressure treated lumber is usually SYP that has had a chemical forced into it under high temperature and pressure (hence the name). The treatment makes it less likely to feed termites and rot although some of the new treatments (designed to make the EPA happy) don’t work as well as older processes. The new treatments sometimes cause fasteners to rust and fail.

Hardwoods are usually used for trim or for flooring. This includes oak, cherry, maple, ash, poplar and other species. The harder hardwoods, oak, maple, birch and others are often used for flooring.

Poplar is an interesting hardwood. It has little grain and is soft, so it makes a very good material for painted interior trim (baseboard, casing, crown, chair rails, et cetera) when you want the finish to be very smooth.
 
Hard hardwoods are often used for flooring. Softer hardwoods will not wear well as flooring. Each species has its unique grain and coloring. The coloring can also be adjusted with stain. 
 
While hardwoods are beautiful, they take a long time to grow compared to softwoods, so they are renewable, but they do not renew as quickly as pine, spruce or fir. This is reflected in the higher prices for hardwood. 
 
Not only can trim be stained hardwood, but various bookcases, window seats and other built ins can also be stained hardwood. 
 
Are you thinking about trim for your home or remodel? Call or text us (843 846 2500). We can help. No cost to you. No obligation. 

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