Rustic Wood vs. Sap Wood

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“Rustic” Lumber vs. “Sap” Lumber

What is the difference between Rustic lumber and Sapwood lumber? Lumber is “graded” by quality and amount of defects. There is actually a certification process at the lumber grading school that sets a National standard. We are not going to get that deep into the topic in this forum.

“Rustic Lumber”

The term “Rustic” is not a grading term. It would actually be #2 and #3 common lumber. Because a consumer often has no idea what #2 lumber might be, a “slang” term was born! Rustic lumber would have unlimited amounts of knots, grain variation, color change from white to Dark red, defects, check marks, twist, etc. Simply stated it would have the “old rustic look”. Look up a rustic style floor and you will see the large variation between boards, including knots. Clients need to understand that the builder has no idea if you would like 2 knots or 20 knots in your piece of furniture! Because of the artistic nature of hand crafted furniture most shops will not allow any specific requests in the lumber, other than filling in the open knots with Epoxy on tabletops. This keeps food from getting inside the open space.

“Sap Lumber”

Sap lumber is often recognized as lumber with two different color variations in the same board, often with a sharp changeover point. Perhaps you have looked a piece of cherry wood. The grain was a deep red color and then “Bang” the color changed over to nearly white. This is the virgin lumber near the edge of the tree, or an old growth tree with some decay or pulp in the wood. Sap lumber can be clear and free of knots and voids, but would not make the Select grading system due to color alone.

“Clear lumber”

Clear lumber is graded as FAS (Firsts and Seconds) or Select. These are the highest quality boards for length, color, beauty, etc. Just remember Sap boards may be clear of knots, but fail to make the grade due to color.