Rough Sawn Lumber – Tips to Find and Buy for Newbies

I. What is rough sawn lumber

Rough sawn lumber is a great building material

The word “rough sawn” (or “rough cut”) lumber may be familiar to you. To put it simply, this implies that the wood has been left untreated and has been sawn into planks. It has a higher strength-to-moisture ratio than other varieties of lumber, but because it hasn’t been kiln-dried, it retains more moisture.

Rough sawn lumber planks are great for a rustic, old-country look because of their natural rigidity and strength and their bigger diameters. You can create the classic woodsman/log cabin look in your home with rough planks if exposed beams are what you desire. Rough sawn lumber can be used for more than just building or upgrading your home. It can also be used for a variety of other purposes. These planks are ideal for outdoor furniture, including picnic tables and chairs, or even swing sets, because of their natural appearance. Artistic picture frames, shelves, and other items can be constructed from this material with smaller cuts.

Single piece can cost up to $80

Most rough-sawn lumber costs around $80 for a single board, about 2×6 inches. Exotic wood or Thicker boards cost a lot more.

1. Pros of rough-cut lumber

Perfect board of rough cut wood

In most cases, this material is less expensive than finished lumber. Additionally, it is thicker than finished wood. It enables the woodworker to have enough wood to allow for a reasonable margin of error while also conserving resources and money.

It’s easier to work with, and it provides for better quality wood, for the majority of do-it-yourself woodworkers. A wide range of furniture-making applications can be accommodated by this material.

As a result of its unprocessed nature, this sort of wood can have a particularly rustic appearance. Because it is only air-dried, this type of wood has a lower environmental impact than others. Raw sawing is the most common method for processing exotic timbers that are rich in color and intricately patterned.

2. Downside of rough lumber

Water can make it significant tear out

Getting things done with it is challenging. It must be milled before it can be used. It is important to purchase it before it totally dries on the shelf. It is the responsibility of the lumber mill professionals to inform you whether the wood you purchase has to be piled, interspersed with sticks for drying, or if it needs to be kept erect. You won’t be able to work with this wood until all of the moisture has evaporated from it, which will take many days.

II. Rough cut lumber 101 before buying

Rough cut lumber 101

1. Basic single boards

Consider purchasing rough-sawn lumber for your next project if you’re somewhat interested in woodworking. To get particularly thick boards, you’ll need to use rough-sawn lumber.

If you’ve always wanted to buy that planer, you can save a lot of money by transforming roughhewn lumber into a finished product. A rough-cut lumber lumberyard will have a considerably wider assortment of species compared to a home center.

We went on a field trip to a lumberyard with a professional woodworker. He advised us on what tools to bring to the yard and how to figure out what kind of lumber to buy to save money. The things he showed us and the things he warned us about were quite helpful.

2. Board foot

Rough-sawn lumber is sold by the board foot, not the linear foot, at lumberyards.. It takes 144 cubic inches of wood to make one board foot (bd. ft.). Tape measures are useful for measuring board length and thickness, but not width. Here’s how to determine your board feet

Width x Length x thickness divided by 14. All of this will tape measure by inches.

3. Don’t mind buying extra lumber

Choosing and hauling home rough-sawn lumber and then milling it into usable boards takes a long time, so stock up. If a board is damaged, you don’t want to go through the entire milling process to replace it. Also, the new board’s color and grain may differ from the boards you purchased on your first trip. An extra full board should be purchased and milled at the very least.

4. Pick thicker boards


Rough-sawn timber is available in a variety of thicknesses from hardwood lumberyards. Buying boards that are at least 1/4 thicker than your ultimate dimension will allow for the material that will be removed by the jointer and planer.. You will not save money by resawing a 2-inch piece of wood. each one-inch area of the board is divided into two equal parts As the thickness of a board increases, so does the cost of a board foot.

5. Don’t purchase crooked and twisted board

Lumber mill from lumber yard

The crooked board, the twisted board or the cupped board are hard to work with. Keep away from boards that look like coconut trees, the milling process will remove most of the warping. If you need shorter boards, you can bend them more easily.

Internal forces that cause the twist may never be eliminated, regardless of how much material is removed.

6. Avoid over-painting wood

Before it reaches the yard, most rough-sawn lumber undergoes one sanding or planing pass on each side. The hit-and-miss method is commonly used to smooth the surface enough to reveal the grain direction.

However, a clear topcoat can dramatically alter the color of two boards of the same color in the same bin. Bring a spray bottle of water with you if you’re concerned about the color of your boards being close to one another. Any surprises should be revealed with a few quick squirts.

7. Lower-grade lumber cost less

Because knotty wood costs less, this is a logical conclusion. Defects in smaller parts can save money if your project includes many of them. As long as the knots are long enough and clear enough, you may be able to find a gem.

8. Quartersawn wood

Plain cut and quarter sawn wood

Plain (or flat) sawing is the most common method of rough-sawing wood today. However, you may come across a few quarter-sawn species. In terms of stability, quarter-sawn wood is superior, but it is also more expensive.

9. Buy wood at a local store

However, it is possible that someone in your area owns a small sawmill and sells a variety of local hardwood species. There may be a list of these smaller sawmills on the DNR website in your state. Hiring a portable sawmill is a viable option for harvesting your own wood if you’re willing to put up with the time-consuming drying process.

Purchase an inexpensive moisture meter for $30 before purchasing air-dried rough-sawn lumber. Before loading your truck, make sure the moisture content is between 12 and 15 percent. When you get your air-dried boards home, please keep them in a cool, dry place so they can continue to dry out. Moisture content of 6 to 8 percent is considered ideal. Kiln-drying is required for lumber purchased from a commercial yard.

To reach Decking Pros NW for detailed information about the product below is some more information for you:

Phone: (206) 279-1450



Open Hours: 8:00-18:30

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