NHLA NEW Rules Book - Changes to Grading

Every four years, the National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA) reviews hardwood lumber grading rules and accepts rules change proposals for consideration. As of January 1, 2019, a new NHLA Rules Book has been launched.

We have gathered a summary of these changes contained in the NEW Rules Book.

The only Rule that changed pertains to Aromatic Red Cedar on page 34 of the 2015 version of the NHLA Rules Book. The change effects the thickness measurement for determining if it is miscut. The old Rule allows for a variation in thickness of 1/2” for 4/4 to 8/4, this could cause many problems with drying and machining. The Rule is now the same as the standard Miscut Rule on page 5, paragraph 9 only allowing over thickness and no under thickness. (Please refer to the Miscut Rule for more information.)

The changes to the Rules that are made in the NHLA Rules Book were voted on and did receive a two thirds majority vote, there are also changes that can be made that simply clarify the interpretation of some of the less understood Rules. These clarifications are based on the many questions received from National Inspectors and/or have been published in articles by the Chief Inspector.

The clarifications that passed through the Committee and will be added to the 2019 Rules Book are explained below:

1. On page 6, paragraph 10: Minimum Widths:

Add – “Width of the piece is determined at the narrowest point in the standard length with a sawn edge.”

This is to clarify the way that the NHLA Chief Inspector and NHLA Inspectors measure the width and is also utilized in the Inspector
Training School.

2. Page 26 & 27, Red Oak, White Oak, & Locust (Plain Sawn) and (Quarter):

Add to the end of the mineral limitation: “In F1F and Selects, limitation applies to better face only. In FAS, limitation exceeding on both faces will reduce the grade to 1 Common.”

This will clarify how to handle an FAS board that exceeds the mineral limitation.

3. Page 24, Basswood

Add to the end of the black or brown spots or streaks limitation: “In F1F and Selects, limitation applies to better face only. In FAS, limitation exceeding on both faces will reduce the grade to 1 Common.”

This will clarify how to handle an FAS board that exceeds the mineral limitation.

4. Page 9, paragraph 24:

Remove “grades of”

This change will make the sentence grammatically correct and easier to understand.

In addition to the Rules changes and clarifications, in this update of the Rules Book, the NHLA added a new section of “Tips and Tricks”.
This section is in the back of the Rules Book and is in no way intended to be applied as Rules, simply a way to help apply Rules and other aspects of grading lumber.

Tips and Short Cuts added to the back of the Rules Book:

1. To determine 2/3 the width of the board, use the 16’ scale on the lumber rule and divide by 2.

2. To determine value for upgrading, obtain the percentage difference between lumber prices, then divide 100 by the surface measure. When reducing the surface measure percentage, do not exceed the percentage difference of the prices.

Example: FAS $1200 – 1 Common $850 divided by FAS $1200 = 29%. The board: 100 divided by 6’ SM = 16.66%, removing 1 foot SM
will be profitable.

3. To determine the amount of side bend in a board, stand the board on its edge and measure the bend at its greatest distance from a straight line. When taking full length cuttings, this amount must be deducted from the total width of the cutting.

Example: A board 6” wide and 10’ long with a 1” bend would allow a maximum 5” wide, full length cutting.

The Rules changes went into effect January 1, 2019.

For more information on the NHLA grading rules, visit: www.nhla.com

NHLA NEW Rules Book - Changes to Grading

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