Private wood lots and portable sawmills exist in nearly every state in the United States. Over the years I have had more than one of the owners of these ask me about using rough sawn ungraded lumber in their pole barns.
My recommendation, every time is…NO!
If you are a private wood lot owner, I would recommend you sell your standing timber to a logger. You will get market price for your ungraded lumber, as well as saving all of the labor (and potential hazards) of falling your own timber.
Already have timber which has been felled and milled? There are numerous uses for lumber in non-structural applications. These afford an opportunity to either use the lumber yourself or to resell it to someone who can use it non-structurally.
Why not use it structurally in your building?
From a design standpoint, an engineer or architect should be specifying lumber which has been identified as to species, has known strength characteristics and moisture content.
Lumber graders are certified for their ability to visually determine the strength qualities of a given piece of lumber, based upon the allowable defects allowed within a grade. These defects will include things like slope of grain, size of knots, wane, splits, warp and twist. Prior to certification, lumber graders must learn and be able to identify these defects.
Graded lumber allows the building designer to utilize the known and tested strength properties of any given piece of lumber, so as to utilize it properly to carry the loads needed in your building.
Don’t play by chance – do the job right. Use your home milled lumber for something other than your new pole building, and barring any major catastrophic disaster, you can rest assured your building will serve you for many years to come.
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