Real wood elicits a rugged earthiness: the signature smell, handmade sturdiness, simple elegance. In the age of Pinterest and Houzz, wood isn’t just for contractors anymore. With more and more projects readily available online, everyone is unleashing their inner craftsman, strapping on their tool belts, and working with their hands. Buying lumber seems simple enough – you just buy a piece of wood, right? But if you’ve taken a stroll down the lumber aisle at your favorite home improvement store, you know it’s a complex process.
Roll up your sleeves, because we’re about to hit the lumber aisle.
There are two classifications of wood – Softwoods and Hardwoods.
There are three general classifications of Softwood lumber: Yard, Structural, and Shop and Factory.
What is Pressure Treating?
Softwoods can be susceptible to rotting from exposure to water, which is why pressure-treated softwood is ideal for projects that will be exposed to the elements. Outdoor projects like picnic tables, swing sets, decks, and mailbox posts are made with pressure-treated lumber. The pressure-treating process is quick and easy. Wood is placed in a sealed tank and all the air is vacuumed out. This causes the wood’s pores to open. A simple preservative enters the tank, and pressure is applied to force it deep into the cellular structure of the wood. Voila, your outdoor project will last for years and years.
Now that you have a little bit of information in your tool belt, go forth and build. Whether you have a few minutes, hours, days, weeks, or more (you go!), you should be able to find something to get you started. Check out some ideas here.