Technical Data


The FAS grade, which derives from an original grade “First And Seconds”, will provide the user with long, clear cuttings – best suited for high quality furniture, interior joinery and solid wood moulding. Minimum board size is 6″ and wider and 8′ and longer. The FAS grade includes a range of boards that yield from 83’/,% {‘°/,2ths) to 100% clear-wood cuttings over the entire surface of the board. The clear cuttings must be a minimum size of 3″ wide by 7′ long or 4″ wide by 5’ long. The number of these cuttings permitted depends on the size of the board with most boards permitting one to two. The minimum width and length will vary, depending on species and whether the board is green or kiln dried. Both faces of the board must meet the minimum requirement for FAS.

FAS One Face (F1F) This grade is nearly always shipped with FAS. The better face must meet all FAS requirements while the poor face must meet all the requirements of the Number 1 Common grade, thus ensuring the buyer with at least one FAS face.

Summary of US Hardwood Lumber Grades

  • FAS
  • Minimum Board Size
  • Minimum Cutting Size
  • Minimum Yield
  • Formula to Determine Number of Clear Cuttings
  • FAS
  • 6″ x 8′
  • 4″ x 5′ 3″ x 7′
  • Surface measure x 10 | 83 1/3%
  • Surface measure 4
  • FAS 1 FACE
  • Same as FAS for specifies being graded
  • Best face of board must grade FAS
  • Minimum Yield
  • Poor Face of board must grade No 1 Common
  • 4″ x 6′
  • Best face of board must grade FAS
  • Minimum Yield
  • Poor Face of board must grade No 1 Common
  • NO. 1 COMMON
  • 3″ x 4′
  • 4″ x 2′ 3″ x 3′
  • Surface measure x 8 66 2/3%
  • Surface measure + 1 3
  • NO. 2A & B COMMON
  • 3″ x 4′
  • 3″ x 2′
  • Surface measure x 6 50%
  • Surface measure 2

• This chart summarizing the main requirements for the standard grades. For complete information, consult the appropriate section of the NHLA Rule Book.

• For kiln dried lumber, 1//’ shrinkage is permitted for the minimum size board in each grade.

• No. 2A Common requires clear cuttings.

• No. 2B Common is a utility grade requiring cuttings to be sound.

• When specified for export shipment, a comparison can be made respectively between export grades of PRIME and COMSEL with the NHLA grades of FAS and No. 1 Common. It is necessary to consult with your supplier as to the exact specification being applied to these export grades,

Characteristics and defects

The following pages show characteristics that occur in US hardwoods. Some are inherent to certain species and others are generic to all. These characteristics either occur naturally in the lumber or as a result of the drying process. As has already been discussed, the grades are based on the percentage of clear, defect free wood in the board.

The NHLA grading rules allow the following characteristics in the clear cutting percentages for all grades and they are therefore not considered defects.

Note: Although the N HLA grading rules do not consider these characteristics as defects for the standard grades, allowances are made within the individual species. For example, species such as hard maple and ash are more desirable if there is a large portion of the board that is sapwood (white) and very little heartwood. The reverse is true when specifying species such as cherry, oak and walnut. It is essential that the buyers familiarise themselves not only with each species but the growing regions throughout the USA as well. Climate, soil and growing conditions such as hills and valleys all play an important role in the growth of the tree. As previously stated, the NHLA rules are tt1e framework to begin the trading process. More information on characteristics found in individual species is available in other AHEC technical publications.