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Woodcraft of Oklahoma City

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9301 N. May Avenue
Oklahoma City,OK 73120

Retail Store Pricing May Vary from Internet or Catalog Pricing

Hours of Operation

sunday 12PM - 5PM
monday 9AM - 7PM
tuesday 9AM - 7PM
wednesday 9AM - 7PM
thursday 9AM - 7PM
friday 9AM - 7PM
saturday 9AM - 6PM

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Selecting Wood

You’ve got the tools, the project in mind, and some time on your hands. Now it’s time to buy lumber! For this blog, we’ll focus on lumber terminology. Understanding the language of lumber suppliers will help you make the best choices for your furniture and cabinetmaking projects.


Nominal: In name only. For example, a 2” x 4” is a nominal description. In actuality, it’s 1 ½” x 3 ½”.

Kiln Dried: The wood has dried quickly in an oven-like device. This can affect the color and working properties.

Air Dried: Wood that has been stacked and dried naturally.

Straight line ripped: One edge of the board has been sawn to a straight edge. This can be helpful if you don’t own a jointer.

Soft wood: Used to describe less-dense woods but refers to seed production (conifers). Best for carving.

Hard wood: Used to describe higher-density wood but refers to propagation by flower and broad leaves (deciduous). Best for furniture making and turning.

Quarter: Refers to the thickness of wood in quarters of an inch. Eight quarters of wood (8/4) is eight quarters of an inch thick or 2” thick.

Weather resistance: The ability of a wood to resist decay outside.

Grain: While sometimes used interchangeably with figure, it’s the direction the wood fibers travel through a board.

Figure: The pattern that the grain makes on the surface of a board. Common figures are straight, curly, bird's eye and interlocking.

Flat or plain sawn: A method of cutting a log to maximize the yield. Boards cut this way often exhibit a wide variety of grain patterns and figure, but are more prone to warping.

Rift sawn: When processed, the log rotates to produce a grain that runs diagonally from face to face, making less of the log to be harvested. Boards will have more consistent figure and stability than flat sawn boards.

Quarter sawn: When processed, the log rotates to produce grain that runs vertically from face to face. This produces the most stable boards with consistent figures. These boards tend to be more expensive.

Board Grading: While there are many grades of lumber, they typically fall into three categories: FAS, Common, and Select. The grade of the board affects the quality and price.

FAS (Firsts and Seconds):  High quality boards that are ideal for furniture, instrument making, architectural interiors, and where wide, clear boards are best. The board’s color is consistent and is relatively clear of defects.

Common: Narrower boards, color is less consistent, and defects are more frequent. Common boards are a good secondary wood (paneling, fencing, or pallets) or when a piece is going to be painted.

Select: One side is FAS and the other side is Common. These boards are a good choice for projects where only one face will be visible, such as cabinets and flooring.


Tips for Buying Boards:

At Woodcraft, we pride ourselves on offering our customers a wide range of lumber options. We regularly carry exotic and domestic lumber, plywood, shorts, turning stock, slabs and more.

Consider the following when purchasing lumber:

· Have a clear idea of the intended use of the project.

· Lay out the boards as you intend to use them in your project. Look for color and figure patterns that achieve your goal. Rearrange as necessary.

· Look for the straightest board you can find. While it doesn’t always matter, it usually makes the project easier.

· Be aware of the grain changing direction as it will be difficult to work with (such as tear-out or warping).

· Different types of woods accept finish differently, so test an area before you apply a finish to the entire piece to make sure you get the result you want.

We get monthly lumber deliveries, so stop by to see what we have in store!


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