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NELMA Lumber Grades
The Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association is voluntarily supported by quality producers of EasternWhite Pine, and other Softwood and Hardwood lumber.
They are dedicated to "The continuing renewal of our forest resources while producing quality lumber products to meet the needs of the nation's people". NELMA members subscribe to American Lumber Standard Committee's policies as shown in Voluntary Product Standard 20-70. NELMA's Grading Service program assures product quality.

NELMA's Eastern White Pine grade descriptions define the limiting characteristics (knots, holes, splits, etc.) allowed in each grade (quality level). While the grades describe the poorest condition acceptable, it is unlikely the maximum size or number of these characteristics would be present in any board. Because Eastern White Pine grading rules are developed for appearance rather than structural use, it is possible a board of otherwise exceptional quality may have a characteristic larger than listed in the grade while a board with an unusual combination of characteristics which affect serviceability seriously may be excluded.

 
EASTERN WHITE PINE
(Pinus Strobus)

Lightweight, soft, even-textured and easily worked, Eastern White Pine is probably the least resinous of all pines. It does not swell or shrink greatly with moisture content changes and displays remarkable durability as shown by the large number of houses built of Eastern White Pine in New England 200 and more years ago. Because of these desirable characteristics, Eastern White Pine uses include millwork, knotty pine paneling, siding and boards for boxes, crates, coffins, boats, woodenware and novelties.

   
GRADE: PREMIUM


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Premium's good knotty appearance lends itself to use where a natural effect is desirable or will give an excellent painted surface. The grade determination is made from the better face which allows generally sound and tight knots ranging from a 2" red knot or a 5/8" black knot on a 4" nominal width board to a 3-3/4" red knot or a 1-1/2" black knot on a 12" or wider (nominal) board. Red spike knots are permitted up to 1/2 the width of the board, full thickness. In high quality boards maximum size black knots are accepted but must be at least 8 linear feet apart.

A 12" board allows one knot hole up to 1" in diameter and proportionately smaller knot holes for narrower widths. Although only one medium size worm hole is permitted per 6 linear feet, pin worm holes are permissable in up to 10% of the surface area. Only a medium amount of warp, wane, stain and pitch are permissable while short splits can be no longer than the width of a board and skip on the reverse face or one edge is allowed in not more than 20% of the pieces. While sound pith is acceptable, only small well scattered pockets are permitted. Light shake is allowable. Seams are permitted partially surrounding a red knot. The "Standard NELMA Grading Rules for Northeastern Lumber" shows all allowable grade characteristics.

   
GRADE: FINISH


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This grade finishes well because it handsomely displays the sound, tight knots and natural color highlights of Eastern White Pine. Grade determination is made from the better face which allows small, sound, tight knots ranging from a 1-1/4" red knot or 1/2" black knot on a 4" nominal width board to a 2-l/2" red knot or a 3/4" black knot on a 12" or wider (nominal) board. Branch and spike knots are treated as round knots (average diameter).

Knot holes in the face are not allowed but two missing knots on the edge of the reverse face not exceeding 1/2 the thickness or equivalent are permissable. Only very light amounts of pitch, pockets, splits, checks, wane and warp are allowable while the pitch and shake cannot exceed 1/10 the length and skip (reverse side or one edge) is limited to 10% of the pieces. Medium stain (blue or coffee) cannot exceed 1/2 the face surface area in Finish material. The "Standard NELMA Grading Rules for Northeastern Lumber" shows all allowable grade characteristics.

   
GRADE: D &
BETTER SELECT


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D & Better Select is fine finish lumber and as such is graded to the appearance of one face (reverse side may represent common grades.) Occasional pieces may require a cut to yield all useable lumber for finish work (loss not to exceed approximately 5%). D & Better Select allows no large knots (maximum approximately 1/2") and limits the total number of pin knots to one knot per surface foot when half the piece is clear and fewer if knots are scattered. Medium stain (blue or coffee) cannot exceed 3/4 of the face surface area in a clear board and less if present with other limiting characteristics.

A larger surface area is allowable if the stain is light. Only very limited amounts of pitch, checks, pockets, shake, splits, skip (permissable on reverse side or on one edge of 20% of the pieces). Wane and warp are acceptable in small amounts in D & Better Select. The "Standard NELMA Grading Rules for Northeastern Lumber" shows all allowable grade characteristics.

   

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