Frequently Asked Questions

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These are lumber grades. While in board form, lumber is graded by considering the location of knots, the width & length of the board, and wane. For the purposes of mouldings, “FAS” and “select” are interchangeable terms for a premium grade lumber. Defects do exist in this grade but are typically less severe and not as frequent. “#1 Common” is the next step below “Select” or “FAS.” This grade allows for shorter boards (4ft vs. 6ft), and a higher rate of defects. Nickell Moulding does not run lumber of any grade lower than “#1 Common.”
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 mouldings. Minimum board size is 6” and wider and 8’ and longer. The FAS grade includes a range of boards that yield from 83 1/3% (10/12ths) 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.

This grade is virtually the same as FAS 1F except for the minimum board size required. Selects allow boards 4” and wider and 6’ and longer in length. The Selects grade is generally associated with the northern regions of the USA and is also shipped in combination with the FAS grade. Often export shipments of upper grades are simply referred to as FAS.
The conventional business practice for American hardwoods is to ship these upper grades in some combination. Working closely with the supplier will enable the buyer to be sure that the expected quality will be received. When FAS is combined with F1F or Selects every board in the shipment must have a minimum of one FAS face.

Number 1 Common (No. 1C)
The Number 1 Common grade is often referred to as the ‘cabinet grade’ in the USA because of its adaptability to the standard sizes of kitchen cabinet doors used throughout the United States. Number 1 Common is widely used in the manufacture of furniture parts as well, for this same reason. The Number 1 Common grades includes boards that are a minimum of 3” wide and 4’ long and will yield clear face cuttings from 66 2/3% (8/12ths) up to, but not including, the minimum requirement for FAS (83 1/3%). The smallest clear cuttings allowed are 3” by 3’ and 4” by 2’. The number of these clear cuttings is determined by the size of the board.

Number 2A Common (No. 2AC)
The Number 2A Common grade is often referred to as the ‘economy grade’ because of its price and suitability for a wide range of furniture parts. It is also the grade of choice for the U.S. hardwood flooring industry. The Number 2A Common grade includes boards that are a minimum of 3” wide and 4’ long that yield from 50% (6/12ths) up to, but not including, the minimum requirement for Number 1 Common (66 2/3%). The smallest clear cutting allowed is 3” by 2’ and the number of these cuttings depends on the size of the board. If the poorest face meets the minimum requirements for Number 2A Common, it does not matter what the grade of the better face is.

Typically, the longer and/or wider the required moulding, the greater the need for “select” or “FAS.” Using a picture frame moulding as an example: If you require a moulding 1-1/2″ wide, which is mainly used on frames 20″ x 24″ and larger, paying more for FAS would be advisable. If you require a moulding 1-1/4″ wide, with sizes mainly from 8″ x 10″ to 24″ x 30,” #1 common would most likely be a better value. See our Grading Guide for photos showing the difference. If you have further questions regarding grading, a Nickell Moulding representative will be happy to assist you.

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