Tag Archives: lumber grade stamps

Free Home Milled Lumber

Every few years it seems there arises a need for young (remember I am only 62 years young) men to head into forests and become loggers. I have been there personally – there is just something manly about hacking down some snags with a chain saw! Myself, there is a sudden rush when a tree starts to fall….makes my arm hairs stand on end!

These newly felled trees often become raw material for backyard sawmills. I have seen a few requests for post frame buildings recently where prospective clients want to use their own home milled lumber.


I equate this concept of “free” home milled lumber to my sons who hunt and fish to provide “free” meat for their families. 

Now if these persons would have been doing any sort of internet searching on this subject, they might have stumbled upon a previous article of mine: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/09/ungraded-lumber-using-home-milled-timber/

Adding to this article (better actually go read it, eh?), are these excerpts from 2018’s IBC (International Building Code):

2303.1.1 Sawn lumber.

Sawn lumber used for load-supporting purposes, including end-jointed or edge-glued lumber, machine stress-rated or machine-evaluated lumber, shall be identified by the grade mark of a lumber grading or inspection agency that has been approved by an accreditation body that complies with DOC PS 20 or equivalent. Grading practices and identification shall comply with rules published by an agency approved in accordance with the procedure of DOC PS 20 or equivalent procedures.

2303.1.1.1 Certificate of Inspection.

In lieu of a grade mark on the material, a certificate of inspection as to species and grade issued by a lumber grading or inspection agency meeting the requirements of this section is permitted to be accepted for precut, remanufactured or rough-sawn lumber and for sizes larger than 3 inches nominal thickness.

Keep in mind, Code requirements are only bare minimum standards for safe construction.  In my humble opinion, pushing risks of a failure from an ungraded piece (or pieces) of lumber used structurally is a face slap to already minimal practices. 

Be safe, be sane and be practical. Don’t use home milled lumber for any part of a post frame building.

Eased Edge Lumber

¼” EE

In my exploration of lumber grade stamps, 1/4″ EE was one which I was familiar with, but had no idea what the history was behind it.

When I remodeled my 1909 home 24 years ago – it was for the most part down to the bare studs and floor joists. The lumber, having obviously been milled in 1909 or earlier, was all full sawn (the 2x4s were actually two inches by four inches) and all had square edges. As in totally square edges, not just free of wane.

According to the Western Wood Products Association (www.wwpa.org):

Framing lumber in 2″ thickness is typically produced with a 1/8″ eased edge. However, some mills produce lumber with a 1/4″ eased edge to assist in handling. These products are identified on the grademark as “1/4″ EE.”

Me, being the curious sort, wanted to know more – so I spent way too much time researching trying to find out the history of eased edge lumber. So far, it wasn’t going well.

I did find out lumber of less than four inches in thickness is usually made with eased edges. My own experience with having worked with lumber as a builder, prefabricated wood truss manufacturer and lumber yard owner confirms this. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a 2x anything with squared edges from a lumber mill.

An exception would be lumber which has been re-manufactured. An example of this would be when a low grade wide piece of lumber (say 2×12) is split lengthwise into two smaller dimensions, one of which could meet the quality specifications of a higher grade (say a 2×4 and a 2×8). Re-manufactured lumber will often have a square edge on the side which has been split.

I did find some suppositions floating around on the ‘net about eased edges. One of the most prevalent is to help reduce the incidence of slivers. I have to say, I’ve acquired far more slivers from timbers with square edges, than from smaller dimension lumber with curved edges.

One interesting theory, which I could buy into, would be because drywall installs better over the rounded corners in cases where studs twist a little and push a corner out slightly.

A second theory is it could be a “knife-check” for the blades which are used to plane lumber to S4S (surfaced four sides). My example is when the finished product starts to show square edges, it is time for new knives to be installed in the planer.

This column has thousands upon thousands of loyal readers. I am hopeful one or more of you knows more about the history and reasoning behind eased edges and will add your comments.