With the right tools and a bit of know-how, a homeowner can tackle almost any woodworking project around the home, including building their own deck or installing their own timber flooring. However, if you're going to take on a project like this yourself, you need to understand a few important differences when it comes to timber. When you shop at a lumber supply store, all that wood and timber may look similar, but those differences are very important when it comes to the appearance and durability of a project. Note a few tips to keep in mind.
Timber may be graded with a lettering or numbering system, much like grades in school; a higher grade may mean a strong timber that is free of any visible defects, whereas a lower grade means a wood that is a bit warped with knots and gnarls. Note, however, that some timber pieces will have two grades to specify the two sides of the wood. One side may have a higher grade than another because that side has been sanded or otherwise treated to look its best. You can often choose this type of timber for a project where only one side of the wood will show, such as for cupboards and cabinets. This will save you money on buying timber where both sides are a very high grade, but only one side will be seen.
Some timber might be graded with descriptive words; feature grade may mean that the wood looks very good, but isn't very dense so it's not very strong and couldn't hold up much weight. Select grade may mean that the wood is the best with a strong density and no visible defects. Clear grade may be very strong but may not look the best with discoloration but without knots that would weaken the timber.
2. Hardwood versus softwood
A hardwood can be a good choice for any surface that suffers consistent wear and tear, such as an outdoor deck or for use as a timber floor. However, don't assume you need a hardwood for items that don't go through this type of abuse every day; more affordable softwoods are usually perfectly fine for cupboards and cabinets, shelves, and decorative pieces. You might also use a hardwood for a surface such as the seat of a timber chair, but then save money by using a softwood for the legs, back, and arms, or use a hardwood for a kitchen benchtop but softwoods for the actual kitchen cabinets.
For more information, contact local professionals like Hayter's Timber & Paving.