Should I Look at 2 Common Lumber for My Project?
No. 2 common lumber is always worth considering. It is two notches below Select and Better (S/B), the best grade most lumberyards carry, but costs up to 50 percent less. In general, 2 common has more defects and boards contain more waste. Depending on your project, this can reduce its cost advantage somewhat but it is still an excellent product for many types of projects.
Worth noting is the fact that once re-sawn, the cuttings from the common grades will be the same clear wood as the upper grades but in smaller (shorter and/or narrower) cuttings. The grade name simply designates the percentage of clear wood in the board, not the overall appearance.
Buying 2 common lumber is a great way to stretch your woodworking dollars and in some cases can deliver the same quality project as a higher lumber grade.
2 common is suitable for small projects. It is also appropriate for larger projects that involve many small cuts and small pieces or projects with a more rustic style. In the manufacturing industry, 2 common is used in making kitchen cabinets, furniture parts, and flooring. The other thing to remember when considering the lumber grade you need for your project is that often 2 common can be used in addition to a small percentage of Select & Better or 1 Common lumber.
What Exactly Is Two Common Lumber?
Hardwood lumber grading is a process using rules maintained by the National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA). The NHLA rules were designed to provide the industry with a mathematically measurable method to grade lumber for its amount of clear, defect-free wood.
Hardwood grades are based on the size and number of clear pieces or “clear cuttings” that can be obtained from a board when it is cut up to be used to make a product. Grades are not determined by how a board looks or a gut reaction of what a person thinks the grade should be. It is determined by the actual measurements of clear sections and definitions for defects.
According to the NHLA, “The Number 2A Common grade includes boards that are a minimum of 3″ wide and 4′ long that yield from 50% up to, but not including, the minimum requirement for Number 1 Common. The smallest clear cutting allowed is 3″ by 2′ and the number of these cuttings depends on the size of the board. If the poorest face meets the minimum requirements for Number 2A Common, it does not matter what the grade of the better face is.
So – How Do You Know If I Should Use 2 Common?
When deciding on what lumber grade is right for your project, look at what your largest solid cuts are for the project. Are they within the typical parameters of 2 common? Is this a project where I am expecting to glue up wood? That lends itself to using 2 common.
In our store we are currently stocking 2 common lumber in walnut, cherry, white oak, and poplar. Give us a call if you are looking for another wood species. We’d love to help you.