Know what to look for and what to avoid
Synopsis: Roughsawn boards are enough to send Vincent Laurence of Fine Woodworking daydreaming about projects. He explains here how to find what you’re looking for and what to avoid. He talks about where to buy lumber and what form to buy the wood in — he prefers roughsawn, so he can plane it himself. He demystifies lumber-grading systems and includes a glossary of terms. He talks about what to look for and tells you which defects are things of beauty and which are headaches. And he talks about what you should take to the lumberyard to help you select what you want.
I remember cruising the aisles of a home center, while still in college, looking for wood to make a stereo rack. I was making the move from pine 1x12s on cinder blocks, and I wanted to do it right. But something wasn’t right with the hardwood lumber at…