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Posted: 3/15/2011 8:53:47 AM EST
For those with lumber/construction experience:

Has the quality of wood gone down, up, remained the same?

What about other products like fasteners, plywood, particle board?

I wonder with modern glues and treatments, if there has been an improvement.



Just something I was thinking about.

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 8:56:27 AM EST
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 8:57:42 AM EST
Timber vs. timber, the quality is far inferior today than it was in the past. However, modern wood-based building materials, taken as a whole, are far superior than anything that existed in the past, thanks to resins.

From a structural point of view, the weakest part of a timber structure is the connections. Modern connection material really improves the strength and stability of timber structures. Nevertheless, traditional timber joinery (mortise & tenon, tension rings, doweled connections) can be remarkably robust, if designed and built correctly.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 8:57:59 AM EST
Raw lumber, down. Sizes you just cannot get anymore for example. way too much chip board etc.

Now, glues and stuff like that have made huge improvements.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 8:58:41 AM EST
Originally Posted By AeroE:

Particle board can't improve, it sucks, did suck, and always will suck.

The only thing particle board is good for is making a basketball backboard that doubles as a sponge.

Link Posted: 3/15/2011 8:59:26 AM EST
I have been in residential construction my whole career, 12 years. I am not an old timer, but I can tell you in just twelve years, there has been a significant decline in the quality of dimensional lumber. What would have been a stud grade years ago is now a #1 or #2.

I think this is why we are seeing more and more engineered lumber. Laminated beams, manufactured I-joists, OSB, etc. It is easier to grow a little tree, chop it up and glue it back together in the shape you need than it is to grow a big, straight and true piece of wood.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 9:03:24 AM EST
Stick lumber quality is down. Way down. Engineered lumber quality is up. Try to break an LVL beam on it's veritcal axis.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 9:04:25 AM EST
The typical framing stuff is smaller and in some cases pieces put together. But you can also get steel and other framing 2 x 4s. OSB sheet is the same.

Most building products improved greatly in the late 80s and 90s. But there are still some lousy products that pop up and quickly go away from time to time.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 9:08:06 AM EST
An old factory building near my office was damaged by arson last year and the insurance company demolished it. Since it was originally built around the turn of the 20th century, it was full of old growth lumber like white oak planking for floors and really beefy floor joists (not sure the species). I seriously hope the wood was separated from the rest of the debris and recycled, because wood like that is hard to come by these days. At the very least, it was worth a fortune.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 9:09:05 AM EST
I had a friend that lived in a house that was built in 1933, one day we where in his basement admiring his floor joists, every one was perfect furniture grade Douglass fur.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 9:10:04 AM EST
Lumber is definatly way worse and framing studs have gotten even smaller yet in the last 10 years. Stuff from Home depot is the worst. Good high volume lumber yards seems to have atleast decent lumber.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 9:12:12 AM EST
Originally Posted By Badlatitude:
Lumber is definatly way worse and framing studs have gotten even smaller yet in the last 10 years. Stuff from Home depot is the worst. Good high volume lumber yards seems to have atleast decent lumber.


Not 3 5/8 anymore? I've been out of the business for the last decade.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 9:12:57 AM EST
Originally Posted By BIG_PAPA:
I have been in residential construction my whole career, 12 years. I am not an old timer, but I can tell you in just twelve years, there has been a significant decline in the quality of dimensional lumber. What would have been a stud grade years ago is now a #1 or #2.


this. my dad built our camp back in the late 80's or early 90's. he used #2 and #3 treated lumber. looking at that wood today, its far superior to anything at the local lumber yard.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 9:13:01 AM EST
Originally Posted By bwehn:
I had a friend that lived in a house that was built in 1933, one day we where in his basement admiring his floor joists, every one was perfect furniture grade Douglass fur.


I have an oak house built in 1936. You cannot drive a nail into any of the structural members.

Previous owners and renters have been... unkind to it.

Slowly but surely, it's getting back to where it was.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 9:14:32 AM EST
Originally Posted By Badlatitude:
Lumber is definatly way worse and framing studs have gotten even smaller yet in the last 10 years. Stuff from Home depot is the worst. Good high volume lumber yards seems to have atleast decent lumber.

Home Depot stuff is the worst because they have a contract with the suppliers that allows them to return all the rejected lumber.

I would agree that grading has shifted for the worse. Also downfall is up, we are getting 15-20% downfall in some units. This is across the borad from mills all over northern midwest and canada.

The insect problems and down-turn in the construction market has seriously hampered good lumber production.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 9:16:31 AM EST
Originally Posted By patchouli:
For those with lumber/construction experience:

Has the quality of wood gone down, up, remained the same?

What about other products like fasteners, plywood, particle board?

I wonder with modern glues and treatments, if there has been an improvement.



Just something I was thinking about.

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile


Yep it sure has, hell look at a home built in the 40's the wood is fucking awesome. Today its dogshit at best. Back in the day you get 8 inch or more thick beams 20 foot long all day long every day. Today, you have an engineered beam... Particle board is dog shit and I am going to punch whoever decided it was awesome to use it in an area that gets wet right in the dick. I've had to cut out many floors because that shit gets wet and falls apart.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 9:18:28 AM EST
Originally Posted By Chromekilla:
Yep it sure has, hell look at a home built in the 40's the wood is fucking awesome. Today its dogshit at best. Back in the day you get 8 inch or more thick beams 20 foot long all day long every day. Today, you have an engineered beam... Particle board is dog shit and I am going to punch whoever decided it was awesome to use it in an area that gets wet right in the dick. I've had to cut out many floors because that shit gets wet and falls apart.

1) that engineered beam can carry a far heavier load, pound for pound of that timber beam.
2) If plywood gets wet it will delaminate, so what do you suggest to be used as decking/sheething?
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 9:18:45 AM EST
I've pulled full dimension studs out of houses in SF that were 300 years old when cut down over 100 years ago. They were rough milled. Looking at the end grain, you can't count the number of rings, there is too many. You can't buy lumber like that for furniture today. They were using it for framing.
Most framing lumber today is shit. To get the good stuff, you have to go to the lumber yard and start turning boards on the pile.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 9:26:29 AM EST
You don't even have to be an old timer, or in construction to see the difference. Even in the last decade.

My old house was built in 1951. The joists were ROCK solid. They were hard to drill in to with a sharp bit!

New house, built in 1983. More engineered wood products, and it was not as hardy as the old house, but still, holding together well and decently constructed.

When we were looking for the new house we saw a ton of new construction. I could put big gouges in the joists with my thumbnail. Floors already popped as I walked on them.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 9:31:15 AM EST
First post nailed it.




















Link Posted: 3/15/2011 9:53:31 AM EST
Originally Posted By Windustsearch:
Originally Posted By Badlatitude:
Lumber is definatly way worse and framing studs have gotten even smaller yet in the last 10 years. Stuff from Home depot is the worst. Good high volume lumber yards seems to have atleast decent lumber.


Not 3 5/8 anymore? I've been out of the business for the last decade.


Nope, I was stunned to find out they've taken almost an 1/8" off both directions recently.

Guess it had been a while since I built anything.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 12:44:52 PM EST
Has the quality of wood gone down, up, remained the same?

Declined severely. Trying to do a good stain job on trim today is an exercise in futility, not that anyone is willing to pay for what passes as stain grade anyway.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 12:51:34 PM EST
Originally Posted By Badlatitude:
Lumber is definatly way worse and framing studs have gotten even smaller yet in the last 10 years. Stuff from Home depot is the worst. Good high volume lumber yards seems to have atleast decent lumber.


I pick thru the pile at Home Depot to get the straight boards. My lumber yard wants me to take the top ones off the top of the pile. Last time I got fascia boards at the lumber yard they were unusable so I went to Home Depot and picked until I found straight ones. Low volume it works.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 12:52:14 PM EST
As a Minnesotan, I have seen some AMAZING woodwork. The lumber and railroad Baron's spared no expense in their homes.

Some of the work would not be possible today. Not in terms of dollars, but because there is a serious lack in material and worksmanship.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 12:58:16 PM EST
My house was built in 1913... there are 2x4 studs in there that are 20-23 feet in length.

The lumber that I harvest from renovations go right into neat stacks for feature elements.
I have even been buying lots of reclaimed wood for cosmetic applications.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 1:03:38 PM EST
[Last Edit: 3/15/2011 1:11:08 PM EST by Badlatitude]
Originally Posted By Windustsearch:
Originally Posted By Badlatitude:
Lumber is definatly way worse and framing studs have gotten even smaller yet in the last 10 years. Stuff from Home depot is the worst. Good high volume lumber yards seems to have atleast decent lumber.


Not 3 5/8 anymore? I've been out of the business for the last decade.


3 1/2 now

old stuff in the house is 3 5/8

Really old stuff in garage 3 7/8

"framing studs" from home depot are 2 1/2

Link Posted: 3/15/2011 1:08:24 PM EST
With southern yellow pine it can be milled to stuff you don't want. With a sash gang saw the sawman can cut along the sweep of the log unlike the old blades and you get a pre curved piece of dimensional lumber even before drying.

A chip-n-saw can cut a 4" top of a pine tree into a 2x4 which used to be pulp material.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 1:13:25 PM EST
Originally Posted By Chromekilla:
Originally Posted By patchouli:
For those with lumber/construction experience:

Has the quality of wood gone down, up, remained the same?

What about other products like fasteners, plywood, particle board?

I wonder with modern glues and treatments, if there has been an improvement.



Just something I was thinking about.

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile


Yep it sure has, hell look at a home built in the 40's the wood is fucking awesome. Today its dogshit at best. Back in the day you get 8 inch or more thick beams 20 foot long all day long every day. Today, you have an engineered beam... Particle board is dog shit and I am going to punch whoever decided it was awesome to use it in an area that gets wet right in the dick. I've had to cut out many floors because that shit gets wet and falls apart.


Are you talking about actual particle board or OSB?

If your subfloor is getting wet then you are doing something wrong.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 1:15:13 PM EST
Originally Posted By Ranchitecture:
My house was built in 1913... there are 2x4 studs in there that are 20-23 feet in length.
<...>

I guess the building codes didn't have them worry about tall wall wind loading.

Link Posted: 3/15/2011 1:16:45 PM EST
Originally Posted By oresti:
Are you talking about actual particle board or OSB?
If your subfloor is getting wet then you are doing something wrong.

Most people who bitch about it couldn't tell you the difference between OSB, HDF, or MDF.

Generally, the reason for their bitching is because they are using the wrong product for the job. (Or doing the job wrong.)
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 1:21:14 PM EST
Originally Posted By oresti:
Originally Posted By Chromekilla:
Originally Posted By patchouli:
For those with lumber/construction experience:

Has the quality of wood gone down, up, remained the same?

What about other products like fasteners, plywood, particle board?

I wonder with modern glues and treatments, if there has been an improvement.



Just something I was thinking about.

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile


Yep it sure has, hell look at a home built in the 40's the wood is fucking awesome. Today its dogshit at best. Back in the day you get 8 inch or more thick beams 20 foot long all day long every day. Today, you have an engineered beam... Particle board is dog shit and I am going to punch whoever decided it was awesome to use it in an area that gets wet right in the dick. I've had to cut out many floors because that shit gets wet and falls apart.


Are you talking about actual particle board or OSB?

If your subfloor is getting wet then you are doing something wrong.


Particle board is like the chip shit thats just pressed together. OSB is actually decent stuff...

Bathrooms get wet on quite a few occasions this is one place that such a product should not be used.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 1:34:19 PM EST
Be honest people... In my area, I can easily point out dozens of decaying 50-100 year old cheap farmhouses that were cheap disasters when built. Sure, some older homes were well built of good materials, but don't think that they all were. Good construction has always been costly, and there have always been people taking price point shortcuts.

Besides, its it really any surprise that cheap lumber from hastily grown tree farms is inferior to old growth lumber? At least on the East Coast, 'old growth' is long gone. If you want wonderful lumber again, simply plant desired species and put a cutting moratorium on all forestry operations for 100-150 years. That should make for some fantastic lumber in the early-mid 2100s... Can't wait? Can't afford the good stuff/reclaimed now? Then enjoy tree farm products...
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 1:47:57 PM EST

Originally Posted By DriftPunch:
Be honest people... In my area, I can easily point out dozens of decaying 50-100 year old cheap farmhouses that were cheap disasters when built. Sure, some older homes were well built of good materials, but don't think that they all were. Good construction has always been costly, and there have always been people taking price point shortcuts.

Besides, its it really any surprise that cheap lumber from hastily grown tree farms is inferior to old growth lumber? At least on the East Coast, 'old growth' is long gone. If you want wonderful lumber again, simply plant desired species and put a cutting moratorium on all forestry operations for 100-150 years. That should make for some fantastic lumber in the early-mid 2100s... Can't wait? Can't afford the good stuff/reclaimed now? Then enjoy tree farm products...

Most of the buildings in the Gold Rush communities out here, while built with old growth timbers from virgin forests, were built like shit. Materials are only half of the equation. Some of the shit found when renovating these old homes makes some of the shit found in new homes blush.

It is all relative.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 1:52:53 PM EST
[Last Edit: 3/15/2011 1:53:51 PM EST by ElectricSheep556]
Shit, I can't even get a 2x4 that's not warped to hell anymore. Last time, I just needed a few, and I spent an hour going through their entire stock of them, and only found TWO that were acceptable at all.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 1:55:30 PM EST
I sell building materials.
Most of my lumber comes from Canada. Culling standards depend on the manufacturer and retailer––some are much better than others.
I will say every once in a while I get a bunk of SPF from Germany, and it's phenomenal. The #2 stuff looked better than most #1
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 1:57:13 PM EST
Here is something to think about, Whenever you see in legal notices or the news that a house is condemmed and to be demolished show up with a chainsaw. Most of the lumber will be hauled to the dump and you can get good random lengths for free and if not free a fifty to the supevisor will get you access to furnitue grade rough lumber.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 1:59:20 PM EST
Originally Posted By DriftPunch:
Be honest people... In my area, I can easily point out dozens of decaying 50-100 year old cheap farmhouses that were cheap disasters when built. Sure, some older homes were well built of good materials, but don't think that they all were. Good construction has always been costly, and there have always been people taking price point shortcuts.

Besides, its it really any surprise that cheap lumber from hastily grown tree farms is inferior to old growth lumber? At least on the East Coast, 'old growth' is long gone. If you want wonderful lumber again, simply plant desired species and put a cutting moratorium on all forestry operations for 100-150 years. That should make for some fantastic lumber in the early-mid 2100s... Can't wait? Can't afford the good stuff/reclaimed now? Then enjoy tree farm products...


quoted for truth

In my area it's never been a well to do locale. Most of the farm houses around here are not refined or well crafted at all. They're balloon framed disasters with low grade finish work. Now you go to the river and look at some of the old summer homes built by Wall street tycoons of the 1800's and you'll see some nice materials, designs, and craftsmanship. Apparently a farmer working marginal lands in the late 1800's just got a house up and went back to work in the fields. Improvements generally weren't for style but just for expansion. Funny when you look at some of these places and look at all the additions to the basic box originally built. Some of them look like a stack of nesting boxes laid side by side.

I remember one of the guys was an independent contractor and brought some old 2x4's to use for framing the concrete pads on the trap field. We were reluctant to cut the 2x4's he brought/reclaimed from a house built in the 40's. They were doug fir and true 2x4's. They weighed a shit ton more than the modern boards, if you could call them that. The modern 2x lumber is closer to balsa than douglas fir.

Link Posted: 3/15/2011 2:07:49 PM EST
[Last Edit: 3/15/2011 2:11:59 PM EST by StretchMaK]

Originally Posted By bwehn:
I had a friend that lived in a house that was built in 1933, one day we where in his basement admiring his floor joists, every one was perfect furniture grade Douglass fur.


Our house was built in 1930. The joists are real 2" x 12" oak. Our outside walls are brick and the inside of them is like concrete. Hanging pictures is a bitch.


ETA. A friend of mine frames for local guy and most of what they build now has 2x6 walls.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 2:21:34 PM EST
titebond 3=the bees knees.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 2:28:37 PM EST
If your buying skid material , yes it does.

If you're buying a truckload of mahogany to build windows with, it depends on what you wish to spend. What grade, thicknesses Nothing beats the Honduran stuff we used to get years ago.

We had white oak come in and after machining it starts to split and crack. Sometime it doesn't . heard it was from bad kiln drying. I have no idea.


I look at lumer alot more differant than most people. We get it trucked in, we rip it , cross cut it plane or sand, mould it to clean it up.

I've seen thick slabs of lumber.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 2:57:47 PM EST
[Last Edit: 3/15/2011 3:03:54 PM EST by red-don]
This has not gone without notice in the industry:
http://www.tpinspection.com/download/2010-08-06 memo to lumber agencies.pdf
as a result of:
http://www.spib.org/DesignNotice.pdf

Basically the wood tests at lower than it is assumed to be, in some cases much lower.
Link Posted: 3/15/2011 3:03:03 PM EST
ANY lumber from Menards is too curved and twisted to make a bow out of.

Their "treated" lumber must be stored in a underwater storage fucking tank its so soaked...then when it dries, its 12" shorter than purchased size and twisted like a pretzle. Their standard size boards will vary by 1/2" or more (not lenght)
Link Posted: 3/16/2011 7:37:36 AM EST
I've only been a homeowner for about 10 years now so I don't have a frame of reference for anything earlier than that. But I can tell that when I need some 2x4's from the local lumber place they are not very straight at all.

My house was built in 1985 and I'm surprised at some of the lumber in it. There is an attached shed to the house that I turned into a workshop a couple of years ago. Some of the 2x4's studs still had the pine bark on them and were very twisty. To get the drywall up I had to plane and shim almost every one of them so the drywall would be flat.

This week I'm removing the wallpaper in a bathroom and will repaint it. Once I got all the wallpaper off, I noticed something odd about the vanity countertop. The corner of it was sunk into the drywall. Pulled it off the wall and a channel had been cut in the drywall to accomodate the top lip of the backsplash, but only in the corner. The edges of the vanity were flush with the wall. Pulled out a straight edge and saw that the wall was curved out about 3/8" of an inch, right where a stud was. I'm surprised the drywall hadn't cracked from the strain. As I could access the stud from inside the eaves, I was going to replace it. Spent two hours in two lumber yards in town and couldn't find a straight 2x4 anywhere. So, to my shame, I'm leaving the curved one in (for now).

Now I know why my dad has talked about using steel framing for his next house. Pricey, but better dimensional correctness.
Link Posted: 3/16/2011 8:03:19 AM EST
Originally Posted By Cleatus:
ANY lumber from Menards is too curved and twisted to make a bow out of.

Their "treated" lumber must be stored in a underwater storage fucking tank its so soaked...then when it dries, its 12" shorter than purchased size and twisted like a pretzle. Their standard size boards will vary by 1/2" or more (not lenght)


+1
Link Posted: 3/16/2011 8:14:06 AM EST
My ex-grandfather-in-law owned a hardwood sawmill from the depression era until his death a few years ago. I've seen some damn fine lumber. It is rare these days.
Link Posted: 3/16/2011 8:18:28 AM EST
I read a book by angelo pellegrini "lean years happy years" in the 20's the mill had a conveyor belt to a burn pile, any board with a knot went on the fire.
Link Posted: 3/16/2011 8:26:36 AM EST
[Last Edit: 3/16/2011 8:29:13 AM EST by Angelshare1]
I got a picture of a barn that is a collage of wood pieces slavaged from barn lumber. Kind of neato art. That's all.

Link Posted: 3/16/2011 8:54:21 AM EST
My house is 110 years old.
The studs are a combination of Ash and Walnut and measure 1 7/8"X3 7/8"
Support beams in basement and upper levels are 8"X8"& 10"X10" Oak beams dimensioned to same as 2X4s
One extension wall that was added in the 1950s is made of clear and I mean CLEAR Pine studs.

ALL water lines run along inner walls, I have NEVER had a pipe freeze in winter weather.

When I replaced the Octopus coal converted to oil converted to gas monstrosity that acted as a heat source the ductwork was in such good shape we used it for the new central heat and air units.

It isn't just lumber that constitutes quality of construction.

For the prices charged, I wouldn't/won't pay what is asked for new construction.
Link Posted: 3/16/2011 11:34:34 AM EST
How about the wood used in gun stocks––like, say black walnut?
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