Lumber Grader Qualifications and Reimbursement

Notes on who can grade hardwood lumber, and how much they might charge to do it. August 29, 2006

What would an NHLA grader charge per thousand board feet to grade hardwood, if he were to come to a mill?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
You probably do not need an NHLA grader, but rather a person that is familiar with the rules and is a practicing hardwood grader. The graders for hardwood lumber are not certified. Some mills are certified. Usually, when there is a dispute between buyer and seller, then the NHLA will send one of their graders to settle the dispute. Such grading services by the national inspectors are expensive indeed. The amount you pay a grader is negotiated and varies all over the map.

From contributor T:
Does that mean that I (with a grading rulebook) can grade lumber and call it FAS if it is, without a certified grader? I guess as long as it was by the book and it is what I am selling it as, then there would be no problems? Who pays if there is a dispute?

From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Yes, you or anyone else can grade hardwoods. All is okay until someone does not agree with the grades you have given. Then you need to figure a way to settle the dispute. NHLA members can use the NHLA national inspectors; the loser pays if there is more than a 5% difference (I think it is 5%). But you really want to resolve any issues before it gets to the national inspector if at all possible.

From contributor D:
Guidelines are 80% on grade and 4% money value. Most freelance inspectors charge per mbf. I would estimate that the starting cost would be 20.00/mbf. I would check your area for freelance inspectors who have attended the NHLA inspection school and also ask for references, etc. I inspect lumber for Wieland and Sons Lumber Co. in Winthrop, Iowa.