How to buy dimensioned wood components
June 30, 2017 | 5:18 pm CDT
Wood Components Exec Looks Forward to Growth, Opportunities

Typically used for furniture, cabinets, building materials and other decorative wood products, dimensioned wood products include: cut-to-size blanks, edge-glued panels, solid or laminated squares, mouldings, turnings, bendings, upholstered frame stock, interior trim, millwork, staircase parts and component parts for cabinets, such as cabinet doors, face frames, and drawer sides and fronts.

Specified by thickness, width and length, dimension products are classified into three types: rough dimension, semi-machined dimension or fully mechanized dimension. Rough dimension stock consists of blanks cut and ripped to specific sizes, normally rough surfaced two sides, or more, to a nominal size.

Semi-machined dimension components are rough dimension parts that have been carried further in the manufacturing process, including: edge or face gluing, surfacing, moulding, tenoning, turning, sanding, mitering, boring, embossing, shaping, routing, carving, etc.

Fully machined dimension parts need no additional machining done prior to assembly, except for a final polish sanding operation before finishing or painting.

How to buy dimension products

The secret to buying dimension products is communication. Tell your dimension suppliers exactly how the part is going to be used in your finished product. Discuss tolerances, specifications and quantities and ask for suggestions to improve your lumber yields, production efficiencies, product quality and ways to reduce costs. Since material costs account for over half of the total cost of producing dimension, the use of lower-grade materials and optional species can result in dramatic savings. Be sure to discuss alternative solutions to meet your needs.

Dimension buyers also should specify the minimum requirements possible in order to maximize the wood utilization and minimize costs. To arrive at the most efficient cost, buyers are encouraged to specify only those faces and tolerances necessary to produce a satisfactory wood component product suited to the end use. All too often, a higher grade of material is specified than is actually needed. When this happens, it means the dimension purchaser is paying more than is necessary.

More reasons to outsource

Outsourcing components enables you to take advantage of other’s design and production expertise, thereby saving on personnel and capital expenditures otherwise required if you were to produce the parts in-house. Other benefits include: increased quality, consistency and efficiency; and expanded product offerings.

For a list of WCMA members that can produce the parts you need, visit

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