Discrimination or careful selection in the purchase of stock for manufacturing purposes does not mean that a man should buy the highest grade of stock on the market or anything of that kind. It is imperative that we understand this distinction at the present time because there is being offered to and urged upon the furniture manufacturers and other users of hardwood in various forms low-grade stock in hardwoods. It does not follow that because a furniture manufacturer, for example, buys and works up low- grade stock that he will produce an inferior article of furniture or even have inferior wood.
Grade of Hardwoods
The main distinction between low- grade and high-grade stock in hardwood is that mingled in with the good material in the low-grade stock is a lot of defects that must be trimmed out in working to make it clear. When these are trimmed out and clear stock is secured, this clear stock is just the same as stock from a board that is clear all the way through. In other words, the clear stock and the low-grade quite commonly come from the same log, a certain percentage of one and a certain percentage of the other. The material is all the same. Indeed, if there is any difference it is probable that lots of the low-grade is superior in strength and of the finest grain, because quite frequently it is the interior or heart of the wood. Lots of the clear stock comes from the outside and is either
Distinction in grades of hard woods, trimming out the defects, selection and grading, and other profitable pointers for purchasers
sappy or close to the sap and consequently is more open than the interior of the tree. It is from this interior that lots of the low-grade comes. Of course, there is a lot of low-grade from the outside, trimmings from cutting timbers and ties.
Stock Cut to Specific Dimensions
Where a furniture manufacturer buys his stock cut to specific dimensions at the mill in buying stock quite naturally implies buying the highest grade of material offering, because the stock is already trimmed to size and should be clear and of proper grain. Then the matter of selection is simply one of grading. However, when a furniture factory goes to buy lumber to be cut up and refined at its own plant then it is a different matter. It will be found here and there that certain kinds of defects may cause more waste than others or make it more difficult to get clear stock in the dimensions required. It is seldom that there are any really large dimensions required in furniture making. No ordinary piece of furniture ever calls for a piece of clear lumber as large as an ordinary clear board. It may be as wide but it will not be full length. Consequently, one may either buy clear short length stock or buy rough lumber that has knots or other defects and by trimming these out get clear short lengths or small dimensions and when this is properly done the resultant product is, as stated above, just as good as if it came from an entirely clear board. The main point for discrimination aside from that of selecting the kind of timber wanted is to discriminate in selecting such lumber as will cut the greatest percentage of clear stock into the dimensions wanted, that is to give one the most good stock for the same amount of money. It doesn’t matter whether that stock is No. 3 common oak, No. 2, No. 1 or log run, by getting sample lots, making a note of the cost per thousand feet in the rough, trimming it up and measuring the exact amount of good stock gotten out of it for furniture and comparing this with the cost per thousand one can soon arrive at a demonstration of which is the best to buy. Of course, there must be taken into consideration the cost of doing the trimming and reducing to dimensions.
Utilisation of Material
In following out tests or experiments of this kind, if the work is carried far enough, it may be found that stock from certain mills of an even grade with stock of other mills will work better because of the grade of timber or nature of the defects, and it is out of this knowledge, knowledge gained through careful attention to experiments with different grades and kinds of lumber, that one gains knowledge for use in buying lumber with discrimination. This knowledge is becoming essential for other small and large workshops including factories consuming lumber now, because the great burden of the mill man is that of low-grade stock and more of this must be utilised in such work. Otherwise the price of the clear stock will have to be raised beyond the reach of many purchasers in order for the mill man to make a profit out of their stumpage. The great need is utility, devising ways and means to use every bit of our hardwood stumpage to the best advantage. We can do it by experimenting and carefully discriminating and selecting stock. They can do this and not only help the mill men but quite frequently the furniture manufacturer might be able to further his own interest at the same time.