I have a local sawyer that cuts a fair amount of RR ties. When he buys a load of logs, he said it's not uncommon to have some of the logs pretty clear. He's offering to cut Select quality boards out of any of the logs he can for me, and sell them to me at 90 cents/BF after he puts them through his kiln. Does that sound like a great deal, fair deal, or poor to you folks? I'm in the upper midwest.
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor S:
What species of wood? How much are you paying for select grade lumber elsewhere? How much sapwood will be visible in the boards? The minimum size for Selects is 4" X 6' (before drying). Can you use lumber that's this size?
The bottom line is you have to look over the lumber that is being offered and see if it works for you. The Selects might be just narrow, clear boards that the mill owner can't put in with his FAS/1F orders. If you can buy a product and turn around and make a profit out of it then I say itís a good deal for both parties. What product are you going to make out of the Selects?
There is a difference in lumber size. No.1 Common pieces of lumber can be smaller (but seldom is No.1 Common made smaller than the typical minimum Select piece). This means from a practical viewpoint that every piece graded as No.1 Common on the worst side has the potential to be Select if the good side is clear enough.
The reverse side of every No.1 Common piece must be better than the worse side, so must have a yield of more than 67% or whatever the yield of the No.1 Common face is (which is almost always over 67%, as 67% is the minimum). If the good side of No.1 Common is very clear (usually one clear cutting area that is over 83% or the surface until the piece is over 7 BF on the 4/4 basis), then it is Select (a few exceptions apply). As stated briefly, the good side must be FAS. There are some strict requirements for wane on Select lumber, especially 4"and 5" wide Selects. Note that if the piece is 6" or wider and 8' or longer, then it could be both Select and also FAS-1 Face. All FAS 1-Face are also Select, but FAS 1-Face must be 6" x 8' minimum, while Selects can be 4" x 6'.
One subtle difference is that the reverse of the cuttings for Select do not have to be sound. Some us may remember the "Sound back Select" but this is no longer (since 1992). All Selects now are "Common back."
To contributor D,
If you are cutting Select number and require both faces of the parts you are cutting to be clear (C2F, a common requirement for furniture and cabinets), then you will get the same yield of parts from Select and No.1Common. This is because the poor side of both grades is identical. So, Select lumber is not a good buy. The price of Select is (often the same as FAS) 2/3 to 3/4 more than No.1Common, with no appreciable yield benefit for C2F. If you require C1F parts, then Select seems to offer an advantage; yields will be about 5% higher. Is 5% increased yield worth 2/3 or more increase in price? However, if FAS and Select sell at the same price, why not go for 100% FAS?
Most mills will not sell Selects separate from FAS, but will combine both into "Selects and Better." There is no stipulation on how much "Better" will be in the pile, but it is expected that all of the "Better" produced from the logs at the time they were sawn will be included. That is, some FAS cannot be removed and the remaining sold as "Select and Better." Note that Select lumber can be 4" and wider and 6' long, while FAS must be at least 6"x8'. So, if wide parts are needed, Selects might not be the best; however, FAS 1-Face is Select lumber that is 6"x8' minimum size, so this grade might be a better option for many people.