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Log lessons you can use at the lumberyard

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Look for layered logs
Man looking down a board
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Sight down the board to check
for twist, cup, and curl. Some
distortion might be acceptable if
your cut list calls for short, narrow
workpieces; otherwise, set aside
any warped boards.

Look for layered logs

While examining a bin of boards, pay special attention to any boards in which the end grain aligns as if the boards came from the same log, because they probably did. Mills often bundle boards as they come off the saw, and a sequence -- the sliced-up boards making up a complete log -- will often end up in the same bin. It's your opportunity to snag boards with consistent color and complementary grain patterns. Confirm your find by pulling the boards and comparing their lengths; lumber from the same log will be the same length.

Final checks
After you zero in on a few likely candidates for project stock, pull those boards into the light for a final check. Does the grain match your expectations? Is the color consistent between boards? (If not, a stain or dye job might be in your future.) Sight down the edge to check for defects, right. And when you're done, proper lumberyard etiquette dictates that you neatly restack any rejects back in the bin.


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