Q. What is the difference between No.1 Common and No. 2 Common hardwood lumber?

The main difference, within our woodworking industry that does not make products that have knots, is the price!

A second difference is the amount of large clear area. No. 2 Common has less clear area than No.1 Common. But if you took a saw and cut out the defects in No.1 Common and compared it to the amount of defects in No.2, the difference will be only a few percentage points.

That is, you will get nearly the same yield, but the pieces will be smaller on average with No. 2 Common. If knots are not a defect, then yields will be really close. Many cabinet shops that use a lot of 20-inch length pieces prefer No. 2 Common lumber with its somewhat lower yield, but with its big drop in price.

Gene Wengert, “The Wood Doctor” has been training people in efficient use of wood for 35 years. He is extension specialist emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.