Lumber Rating Scales and Hardwood Mats

Last month we looked at some of the differences that can make one manufacturer’s hardwood mats great, and leave another manufacturer’s hardwood mats wanting. One of our main areas of focus was the quality of lumber used in the mat itself, as this difference can mean major problems or a day in the park on the jobsite. Because this factor can make such a major difference in the lifespan and durability of a hardwood mat, we wanted to spend a little more time looking at the way lumber is rated.

In the states, there is a lumber rating system in place that helps determine the grade and quality of hardwood and non-hardwood lumber. We’re going to give a quick run-through of what these different grades are and how that can impact what the wood can and should be used for.

To start, No. 1 Common lumber is basically the standard grade of lumber used in furniture production. This particular cut of lumber (also simply called Common or No. 1) offers a pretty solid assortment of long, medium and short cuttings at a pretty average price. No. 2A Common (aka No.2 Common) is pretty much the go-to grade for wood used in millwork, cabinets, and other applications in need of short cuttings. Because these cuts are typically shorter than No. 1, they are slightly more favorably priced, therefore, if possible, No. 2 Common is often used for furniture. No. 2B Common is basically the same cut as the one we just talked about, only stain defects and other defects not compromising structure are admitted. This makes for a good paint grade.

So what’s all this got to do with hardwood mats? Well, with the grades most typically used in other applications out of the way, next time we are going to look at the kind of lumber grade used in hardwood mats, crane mats, and construction mats.

In a post from a while ago, we took a more in depth look at pipeline construction and the how hardwood mats and swamp mats are used to help the process move more quickly and more successfully in the long run. We explored how the mats help protect the environment from the tread of large machinery. We looked at how hardwood mats, pipe dunnage, and skids are all used to keep the pipeline safe and intact before it is finally put in the ground. We also looked at the many way that swamp mats have increased the overall accessibility of once rather unreachable locations. Places like wetlands, and other locations with generally poor soil stability no longer are seen as such an obstacle. Because of the many ways swamp mats can help the pipeline industry, their adoption into the industry has been well received and much needed.

Following a similar train of though, the transmission line construction industry is also starting to more fully realize the benefits of swamp mats in improving productivity. There is definitely not much argument regarding whether or not the use of hardwood mats has made the industry more able to operate with efficiency. On many transmission line construction sites, the land and its soil consistency has always been a major obstacle. Constructing transmission lines across open spaces is one thing, but running line across swamps and wetlands is a different thing completely.

During any transmission line project, there are at least several heavy pieces of machinery and personal transport vehicles that require access the job site. This is fact is made even more complex by a lack of roads and the especially swampy land that always seems to be at the job site, the kind of land that makes the simple act of crossing it an entire feat in and of itself. This is where swamp mats are extremely valuable. The stability and traction they offer by distributing load over a large surface can make the difference between time lost and a successful job. In the transmission line construction industry, the use of swamp mats has proven to be a critical step in boosting the practicality of many projects. The crane mats, swamp mats, and hardwood mats that Dixie Mat makes have been a huge part of the picture and have helped the transmission line construction industry and many others find stability and accessibly in once difficult to reach places.