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SawdustSteve's picture

I'm re-doing my shop and needed some 2x4's for some storage bin frames. I visited my local Home Despot to see what they had in stock. They stock 2x4's in KD (kiln dried), green, fir, treated and 'whitewood'.

So, my question is... what is whitewood?? Is it the contractors equivelant of 'mystery-meat??' I've got to say that it was nice and clean; creamy white in color with very few knots and no splinters. It was perfect for the work I was doing, but I have no idea of its structural strength as opposed to the standard 'knots with a bit of pine between 'em' that HD usually stocks. No one there knew exactly wat it IS. Any answers?? Wild guesses??
SawdustSteve Long Island, NY

Napie's picture

(post #87850, reply #1 of 26)

Spruce???

heartwould's picture

(post #87850, reply #2 of 26)

Steve, it seems that you are correct in thinking that "whitewood" is a generic term for box store lumber.  Due to cost concerns and to obtain "ready dimensioned" lumber, I built a roomful of bookshelves and a rather tall cd rack for My Young Bride, all made of the good ol' whitewood from Lowe's.  The oldest piece is at least three years old, has been fully packed with hard back books the whole time, and has given no evidence of sagging at all.


There is a quality lumber company not far away where I go to lust and occasionally buy (when I have the money).  Those folks deal with all manner of wood on a daily basis.  The suggestion there was that "whitewood is usually Aspen."  When I reported that comment here, I was upbraided pretty quickly.


So, the best answer I can give to your question is that the whitewood I have used has milled easily, stained rather spottily and stood up to my purposes.  Your framing should be fine.

WillGeorge's picture

(post #87850, reply #9 of 26)

Your post is perfect.. I have used the so called Whitewood and works great if you to NOT rip it into a different width!


Nice if left 'as is' but rip it and another matter!

Have a great day.. Life is wonderful even if you are having a bad day!

heartwould's picture

(post #87850, reply #10 of 26)

Thanks! 

Ray's picture

(post #87850, reply #3 of 26)

My SWAG would be Hemlock, Spruce, or White Pine.  Or a combination of species depending on who's low bidder this week.  All are used for framing.  It's probably their generic framing lumber.

thumbnailed's picture

(post #87850, reply #4 of 26)

In my area, they call that stuff Hem-Fir. I know for a fact it isn't fir, but I have no idea if its hemlock.

dhelm's picture

(post #87850, reply #11 of 26)

Just a quick clarification on "hem-fir".  Hem-fir is hemlock that supposedly has the same structural characteristics as Douglas Fir.  It is primarily logged from Washington state (where I live) and is generally about 10% cheaper than doug fir.  As to the white wood, I have never seen hem-fir used as white wood.  In this area it is usually Sitka Spruce.

oldusty's picture

(post #87850, reply #13 of 26)

     dhelm ,


   We used to have White Fir here in Oregon , it had an aroma to it that earned it the name "piss Fir" remember that stuff ?


           The first saw table I built there was a White Fir 2X4 , didn't realize why it looked different at first . After a week of looking for whatever smelled I finally sniffed the suspect 2X4 .


              dusty

K1500's picture

(post #87850, reply #18 of 26)

I remember 'piss fir' from my left coast days.  Was going to suggest it but figured no one would know what it was!

Dave45's picture

(post #87850, reply #23 of 26)

Could that "piss fir" be Eucalyptus? I've never seen it as lumber, but I've used it for firewood. It makes a pretty good fire, but it smells like somebody pissed on the campfire. - lol

oldusty's picture

(post #87850, reply #25 of 26)

  No way could they be mistaken .

thumbnailed's picture

(post #87850, reply #14 of 26)

It amazes me how regional terminology can be. The wood separating glazing in a door or window is called muntins in New England where I grew up, and mullions in the Mid Atlantic where I now live. Many tools and many woods have distinct local use-names, which doesn't make for clear communication. I also started my woodworking career in California, and never saw a piece of cherry till I moved back east. My point is that, though we are all doing woodworking, I think that there will always be things that need a little translating, especially since this group has trouble agreeing on some of the things that they actually do have in common ;-)

joinerswork's picture

(post #87850, reply #17 of 26)

thumb,


Muntins, mullions. 


Supposedly, muntins are the bars that are vertically oriented, (from muntire, old French, to rise up), and mullions are the horizontal bars, (old Fr, word means middle).  But you are right about local usage, some shops use the terms to mean just the opposite, or indiscriminately. 


I suspect the confusion is added to, by old practice that in some shops made the vertical members full height of the sash, others made the horizontal bars full width, and coped the (short) vertical one into them.  If the terms are used for their lengths, rather than orientation, ie, mullions are long, muntins are short, there is an add'l place for confusion to enter.


Ray 

woodrat1's picture

(post #87850, reply #5 of 26)

My guess is that it's Poplar.

An old carpenter / tradesman I once knew ALWAYS
referred to Poplar as "whitewood".

Bill-

heartwould's picture

(post #87850, reply #6 of 26)

No, the whitewood I've seen and used is definitely not Poplar.  Poplar is very distinctive in both grain and color.  On a rare occasion, the whitewood may be Pine or Spruce, but most of the time it has the characteristic of being "fuzzy" as the lady at the better lumberyard describes it.  "Fuzzy" is why she says it is Aspen.

Floss's picture

(post #87850, reply #7 of 26)

Look at the grade stamp.

It tells you what kind of lumber it is and if it is kiln dried and where it was milled.

Probably SPF which means Spruce, Pine or Fir.

F.

WillGeorge's picture

(post #87850, reply #8 of 26)

Great question. I have no idea..


Wild guesses??  I would think some kind of pine out of Sweden or Canada?


 



 

Have a great day.. Life is wonderful even if you are having a bad day!

K1500's picture

(post #87850, reply #12 of 26)

Regardless of what it is, it will be plenty strong for your application.

cherryjohn's picture

(post #87850, reply #15 of 26)

Ok steve heres how it is at the Orange Apron.  First they know wood by certain designations...2X4.....4x8.... PT and plastic etc.  Dont ask for species because to them its.well......wood.  having worked there I know this first hand.  Now Im going to reveal something that HD should be totally ashamed of but to be ashamed you need to know that you are wrong.


I went to the store manager at the store here in NH that I worked at for a bit  and asked about wood pellets.  For you down south, many folks up here use them to heat their homes.  So when you buy wood pellets youre not buying wood so much as you are buying heat.  I was assured by the manager that the pellets were hardwood pellets " Premium grade".  Trusting soul that I am I ordered 3 tons.  It arrived and I opened the palets and noticed that the pelltes were "pine".  written right on the bag.  So I called about this and got the MOD ( manager on Duty....HD abreviates everything).  I explained the situation and I was told that when the first shipments of pellets came in some were pine and some were hardwood.  However because of the shortage, people were taking what they got.  I explained to the MOD that there is a huge difference in BTU's per ton between pine and hardwood and I wanted hard wood.  He said he would see what he could do about it but he said " HD has no seperate SKU# for hardwood pellets and soft wood pellets...............They are just pellets.  Now imagine you are buying wood for your wood stove and you bought a cord ( 128 cu. ft) and when it arrived you got 70 cu. ft.  Questioning this you got an answer that you should be happy you got any because you got wood.  Seems HD is routinely selling softwood at hardwood prices  all the while giving their " low price gurantee".  Nice fella's


Wicked Decent Woodworks


(oldest woodworking shop in NH)


Rochester NH


" If the women dont find you handsome, they should at least find you handy........yessa!"

Wicked Decent Woodworks

(oldest woodworking shop in NH)

Rochester NH

" If the women dont find you handsome, they should, at least, find you handy........"

heartwould's picture

(post #87850, reply #16 of 26)

Some years ago my eldest son was one of 28 students statewide who were selected to study for the Summer in Mexico.  That was the good news.  The bad news was that I had been selected to pay for the trip.  Being the dutiful father, I took a part time job at the now defunct Builder's Square.


Although you could become an "expert" by reading through some loose leaf binders and taking the quiz at the end of the section, there were precious few employees--and an even smaller percentage of managers--who really knew anything beyond the corporate bottom line. 


Even though I explained during my interview the areas that I had some working knowledge, I was plugged into the paint area.  Despite my protests that I knew little or nothing about paint at the time--surely not enough to be able to adequately advise anyone as to what to use in a given situation--the Assistant Manager who hired me decided that I looked like a paint guy.


There are some "big box" stores that are blessed with fine, knowledgeable staff.  God bless them!  But it seems that they are in the minority.

DonNH's picture

(post #87850, reply #19 of 26)

My understanding of wood burning is that there isn't a big difference in BTU output between equal weights of different wood species - that is, a pound of pine gives off the same number of BTU's as a pound of oak.  So, if you're buying it by weight, and the moisture content is constant, you're probably not being gypped in heat output.  Hardwoods give higher heat output per cord than softwoods because they're more dense.


I do know people who prefer the hardwood pellets because they get less ash .  The pellet plant near here produces only hardwood pellets (primarily using waste sawdust from furniture mills).


Don

cherryjohn's picture

(post #87850, reply #21 of 26)

Ok Don, heres the story................... In the past, when I thought I was wrong I was meerely mistaken.  I believe the last time I was wrong was 1968.......... and to this day I dont recall what I was wrong about.


I did more research after getting your message about wood density because it made sense.  Being a wood burner for many years it gets ingrained in you, hardwood  is good......... softwood is bad.  When you go from an air tite wood stove to a pellet burner its a completely new experience.  The only thing the two have in common is the fire.  What I am saying is you are absolutely correct.  Wood compressed to the same density no matter what the species has about the same BTU's/#.  In fact wood pellets have about 8000 btu's/# while good hard wood has about 6500.  At least thats what the web site reported  pelletsales.com).  What amazed me and my buddy who knows a thing or 2 about heating systems was how much heat you got from a small amount of pellets.  Being a wood burner you say " no way is this thing going to throw any heat..but it did and then some.


I stand corrected by a guy from NH  ( if you were from Calif Id never admit that I was wrong!!)  Thanks for the enlightenment.


Wicked Decent Woodworks


(oldest woodworking shop in NH)


Rochester NH


" If the women dont find you handsome, they should at least find you handy........yessa!"

Wicked Decent Woodworks

(oldest woodworking shop in NH)

Rochester NH

" If the women dont find you handsome, they should, at least, find you handy........"

WillGeorge's picture

(post #87850, reply #22 of 26)

Knowing nothing about the subject! I have a question.


As far as burning the hardwood  is good......... softwood is bad. 


Do the Hardwood and Soft wood pellets that give off the same BTU's have the same
deposits in the flue. Ash or Creosote.


Link to just one source of information I found.
http://www.state.mn.us/mn/externalDocs/Commerce/Wood_Heat_110802043104_WoodHeat.pdf


Creosote is a highly flammable material... I remember that from someplace..


Where the old saying comes from? As in.. 'As far as burning.. the hardwood is good......... softwood is bad.' 


As I said... I do NOT know enough about this subject except to ask a question on the subject at hand. HOWEVER my home fireplace is never used anymore because I was stupid and burned those 'pressed logs' from the local Big Box over a few seasons. Not the pellets! The log type.. Who knows what is in there.. To rebuild my fireplace is, well to say the least, WAY more than I can afford!


My question may be related to the original post. Maybe where the author is coming from?


Just a serious question from an Old Nut!


EDIT! I forgot to mention.. NOTHING against your post or any other posted!



 


 


Edited 10/4/2008 12:02 pm by WillGeorge

Have a great day.. Life is wonderful even if you are having a bad day!

thumbnailed's picture

(post #87850, reply #24 of 26)

Will,


You're absolutely correct about softwoods coating your chimney with creosote, which can lead to chimney fires, and burn down your house. But I don't know if somehow that problem may have been eliminated with the pellets. I'm sure someone out there knows, and will speak up. However, I don't think your only option is to rebuild your chimney, I think a reputable chimney sweeping company should be able to inspect it and remove creosote buildup if it exists. A small amount will simply burn off with regular hardwood fires, though even with hardwood you should have your chimney inspected and cleaned every few years, depending on how much you use it.

cherryjohn's picture

(post #87850, reply #26 of 26)

Hard wood is good and soft wood is bad in its log form because of the fact that hardwood does weigh more than softwood therefor has more BTU's/ #.  Softwood ( pine etc) also produces more creosote.  In the East. unless you get your pine for free almost no one burns softwood in a wood stove.  Youd be filling the sove 5 times a day because the wood is less dense. 


The issue with creosote in wood pellets is very deminished because of the drying process. ( funny how smart I got after DonNH corrected me huh!) The sawdust is dried then compressed into the pellets eliminating almost all moisture.  Ash is another issue.some wood pellets do exhibit more ash than other types.  I think the difference in the blend of wood is what accounts for this.


If the logs you burned in your fireplae were DuraFlame logs ( or the like) they are mostly wax and sawdust.  If you are burning these youd have to burn a lot of duraflames to get any buildup that you should be worried about.  Use the fireplace and burn hardwood, oak maple hickory etc.  My guess is that like me you only use your fireplace about 12 times a year ; holidays and the days that its just plain raw outside.  Creosote is generally more of a problem in an airtite stove because of the exhaust gas temp which can ignite the buildup.   In addition having the ability to throttle down an airtite stove by limiting the inlet air makes the wood smolder and  cause more smoke.   Not that a big fire in a fireplace wouldn't ignite cresote but most fireplace fires ( at least at my house) are not roaring fires...... they are generally lit just for ambiance and taking the chill off.


Wicked Decent Woodworks


(oldest woodworking shop in NH)


Rochester NH


" If the women dont find you handsome, they should at least find you handy........yessa!"

Wicked Decent Woodworks

(oldest woodworking shop in NH)

Rochester NH

" If the women dont find you handsome, they should, at least, find you handy........"

soak's picture

(post #87850, reply #20 of 26)

Whitewood is spruce as I have always understood it.