New grading  DVD for American hardwood

02 December 2011

New grading DVD for American hardwood

The American Hardwood Export Council ( has created a new training DVD to guide those who trade and use US hardwoods through the NHLA Rules for grading lumber, one of the few grading systems which is recognised and used internationally.
The 30 minute DVD presented by Bob Sabistina, Grading Consultant to AHEC, covers three chapters; an introduction to grading and measurement, an explanation of the NHLA lumber grades, and an introduction to the NHLA grading rules for colour sorting, defects, shape and species. A copy of the DVD can be ordered free of charge online and viewed in AHEC’s video library on . The DVD was launched and distributed for the first time as part of AHEC’s presence at Interzum 2011 in Cologne.
European Director of AHEC, David Venables, believes that waste is not an option. He said, “In today’s environment, we cannot afford to waste, and buying efficiently and manufacturing efficiently with a focus on yield is vital. We know that a better understanding of U.S. lumber grading has helped many companies change their approach or attitude towards different grades and species, particularly when they realise there are significant business advantages in having the confidence and understanding to buy and use different grades.”
Bob Sabistina is well-known by the hardwood trade and, in the last year alone, has run seminars across the world on NHLA grading, including UK, Germany, Italy, Poland, Jordan, Dubai, China, and Malaysia. Mr. Venables continued, “Practical demonstrations are inevitably the most effective way to teach a system like the NHLA grading rules. Grades are defined by a fairly complex measurement system and the best way to understand this system is to see Bob in action. This new DVD helps us to document the importance of the grading rules and bring them to a far wider global audience than we could ever hope to achieve through seminars.” The footage was recorded at Brooks Brothers Ltd timber yard in Maldon, Essex.
As the market share of American hardwoods increases in Europe, AHEC continues to educate the market; an ongoing job as company personnel changes, buying habits alter and companies expand. Mr. Sabistina explains that buyers and their customers need to appreciate that hardwood is a natural material and by its nature will contain characteristics and defects that need to be understood and allowed in any given application: “There is a real naivety in the market place about the importance of the higher grades,” he said. “The wood from an FAS board is exactly the same as the wood from a 1 Common board. It probably was cut at the same mill and came from the same tree. The difference is the amount of clear wood without defects, such as knots. If you are cutting the wood up to make cabinets or furniture, you don't need long clear pieces so it is more cost effective to purchase a lower grade.”
By distributing this DVD, AHEC is encouraging importers and their customers to focus on getting the right grade for the right price, and this guidance will help obtain maximum product performance through selection of the correct grade.