Ask yourself if the design of the wood grain and amount of character marks are important to you. 

The grade of wood, within a wood species, is determined by the amount of natural characteristics, such as knots and color variations. The grades are:

  •  Clear—free of “defects”, though there may be minor imperfections.
  •  Select—almost clear, but contains some natural characteristics.
  •  Common (number 1 and 2)—has more natural characteristics.  Number 1 common has light and dark colors, knots, and some worm holes.  Number 2 common is more rustic and accentuates all the wood’s characteristics.
  •  First—has natural color variations and limited character marks.
  •  Second—does not have a uniform appearance.  The variations depend on the characteristics of the wood species—such as knot holes, colors, lines, speckled appearance, etc.
  •  Third (utility grade)—rustic in appearance, with all the characteristics of the wood species.

Grain patterns vary between species and grades.  You can have a very uniform creamy white appearance like a First Grade Maple or a wavy, irregular appearance of a #2 Common Hickory.

  • Species and Hardness

 Some species of wood are hard, some are soft.  If you have a dog or kids,  you may want to consider a harder wood species.  If you like lots of character in wood, such as knots and wavy patterns, you may want to 

  •  Species

 There are 100’s of species of wood, both domestic and exotic, that span the spectrum of color options, hardness, and price ranges. 

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