Clear grade is pretty much flawless with the possible exception of a minor flaw on the back face. Please let us know your tolerance and if you wish edge-grain (quarter sawn, or vertical gain), flat grain, or, in the case of squares (4" x 4" etc), diagonal grain (it appears as edge grain on all faces).
Near-clear grade is actually impossible to target, but there is more allowance for the occasional small knot, pencil wane or “what-have-you.”
Super-select allows for knots, but absolutely no rot, no wane, and no loose or soft knots, “board-shape” flaws, etc. It tends to rule out second growth sapwood, too.
Tight-knot is our standard grade, based on appearance. It can, in fact, include occasional loose or soft knots up to, say, one-eighth of the width of the piece, as well as minor wane, small one-face cracks, minor size variation, etc. All these allowable flaws must be appropriate for the end use (trim, siding, decking, etc) and should not appear in more than one piece out of four, unless miniscule.
Fence grade is for our customers who want a functional, sound fence but are willing to put up with minor defects to save some coin. It allows for loose or soft knots up to one-quarter the width of the board, but no more than the equivalent of one and a half of these in a common 6 foot 1" x 6" (which is by far the most common fence board ordered). The wane can be one-half the thickness or one-quarter the back face by two-thirds the length. It can have a little rot of the same allowance as the size of knot. Cracks can be up to one-quarter the length of the piece but should not show through. End checks of about 1 ½" are okay.
Utility grade is for a piece that does not make fence grade, or is just a small size (1" x 4" and less than 8 ft, 1" x 6" and less than 5 ft or any 1" x 2", 1" x 3" not good enough for a siding batten) but it must have structural integrity. This grade may also include off-size or somewhat warped pieces. We encourage sales by the lift of this product.
The details for Construction grade, also known as No. 2 & better by NLGA standards, fill about three pages so we won't get into them here, but ask your builder or architect which grade is required and we will meet it.
Under the same standards, higher grades for structural timbers are No. 1 and Select Structural.
Appearance grade supersedes the above. Whereas even Select Structural allows some wane, stain, spike knots and surprisingly large knots in larger timbers, Appearance grade is good-looking in addition to being structurally sound. Subjectivity is applied, but there are seldom any disagreements.
Mill-run simply means everything that comes out of the log, ungraded. The most frequent use for it is when we custom-cut people's logs for their own use. If you know what logs you have started with, it can tell you plenty about the quality of the lumber (it could be very high or very low).
Our guarantee: All wood cut is guaranteed to be of the specified grade or better at the time of cutting (and kiln drying if applicable). Blacktail Enterprises and Rain Forest Sawmill take no responsibility for subsequent downgrade due to storage, drying, customer handling, etc.