GAINING A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF THE NHLA GRADING RULES by DANA SPESSERT, NHLA Chief Inspector

GAINING A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF THE NHLA GRADING RULES by DANA SPESSERT, NHLA Chief Inspector

4/11/18, 6:53 AM

Understanding and applying the NHLA Rules takes experience and exposure to variances. This month, I would like to

discuss two questions that were recently asked of me in hopes that this knowledge will help you get a step closer to understanding the application of the NHLA hardwood lumber grading system.  The first question I would like to

discuss pertains to manufacturing defects. As you may know, there was a ruling made in the past about manufacturing

defects not being considered wane. As the Chief Inspector, I do see them as wane, as the definition for wane does not distinguish between natural lack of wood and man-made lack of wood. As the NHLA Rules Book clearly states on page 4,

paragraph 4:

“Lumber shall be inspected and

measured as the inspector finds it,

of full length, width and thickness.

No allowance shall be made for

the purpose of raising the grade,

except that in rough stock, wane,

and other defects which can be

removed by surfacing to standard

rough thickness shall not be

considered. Nothing herein shall

be construed as prohibiting the

shipper from improving the grade or

appearance of the lumber at time of

or prior to shipment.”

In my opinion, hardwood lumber inspectors have enough to deal with on a daily basis, they do not need the added stress of determining the reason a defect exists.  The second question I would like to discuss relates to the Sap Hard Maple. The question posed, “Does there need to be a sap face on the 1 Common side of a FAS 1 Face board.” The answer can be explained

in the Rule itself on page 23, under the heading “Sap Hard Maple (When Specified)”. The Rule clearly states that “Each

required cutting shall have one clear sapwood face.”  The confusion comes on FAS1Face and Selects due to the nature of these

two grades. Each face is graded independently and some would believe this rule applies to the limitations such as the amount of sapwood required for this grade. In reality, if only one face of the cutting is required to be sapwood, then the FAS side would

be the ruling side for this color sort.