Wood Defects and How to Work With Them

No tree is perfect, and in turn, not all lumber is without its defects either. Several defects happen for various reasons, but they don’t necessarily render a piece of lumber unusable. However, wood defects could impact things like durability, price, and appearance of wood, so it’s important to understand defects and how to work with them.

Why Do Defects Matter?

Woodworkers are split on defects: Some love to use wood that shows character, while others opt for higher quality wholesale lumber without defects. However, the structural use of lumber requires wood to be defect-free as it pertains to the integrity of the lumber pieces. 

Burls: These look like twists or knobs in the grain of the wood and happen when a tree sustains damage at a young age. Many woodworkers choose wood with burl marks to improve the aesthetic of the project. 

Fungus: Natural fungi can grow on trees and damage that makes the wood weaker or discolored. Both dry and wet rot are common natural fungi defects: Dry rot causes the wood to dry out and disintegrate, making it structurally unsound. Wet rot is fungi that grow in the wood after exposure to moisture and turns it a grayish color.

Knots: When a branch or limb is broken off a tree, it leaves behind a knot of hardened wood. When the tree is sawn into lumber, those knots could fall out and render the piece of lumber structurally unsound.

Conversion: These happen when raw timber (trees) is converted into lumber to be distributed by a wholesaler. Chip marks, grain disruptions, and saw machine knicks, chips, and burns can all cause conversion defects.

Seasoning: When wood is dried to be used as lumber, defects can occur during the process. Warping is the most common seasoning defect and can include bowing, cupping, twisting, and honeycombing.

Working With a Lumber Distributor

When you get to the wholesale lumber distributor, make sure you’re armed with information about your options when it comes to lumber defects and quality. Remember, too, that the type of wood needs to be considered as well. Softwoods are primarily used for construction and are divided into stress-graded, nonstress-graded, and appearance lumber. Hardwood grading is less complex and based on the wood’s appearance and defects.

While there are universal grading standards and quality control policies in place, not every place that sells lumber is selling high-quality products with defect-free lumber options. By visiting a local wholesale lumber distributor, you’ll work with professionals like our team that specialize in only lumber — unlike big box or home improvement stores that carry a range of products.

Norman Lumber has a well-established reputation within the Forest Products Industry. We enjoy trusted relationships with a network of mills across the country, making us a competitive supplier for a wide range of hardwood and softwood products.

Why Is Norman Different?

Located on the edge of the Mark Twain National Forest, our mill works with the U.S. Forest Service, the Missouri Department of Conservation, private landowners, and independent loggers to source timber for our sawmill operation. We’re experienced with custom requirements and demanding specifications, and we are sensitive to the individual needs of our customers.

Unlike other wholesale lumber distributors, we use our own in-house sawmill to ensure your satisfaction with every order. Whether you are looking for wholesale hardwood timbers, wholesale SPF, wholesale SYP, wholesale OSB, wholesale plywood, or wholesale pine, we have what you need.

You shouldn’t have to settle for lower-quality lumber with defects or a wholesale hardwood lumber type that doesn’t meet your specifications. When you choose Norman Lumber, you can count on fast service and top-quality wholesale lumber — contact us today to get started!