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Recently moved to a fairly new home, questions about basement timber joists


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Is this your first time looking at milled lumber? 

Everything in your pictures is perfectly normal. These are characteristics of lumber, which is a natural product that comes from large plants called "trees." The characteristics in your pictures are all taken into account when lumber is graded. 

The ugly things in the 1st, 2nd, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 14th pictures are old injuries to the tree that have scabbed over, probably from wind damage where limbs broke off. Don't worry about them. The lumber grader looked at them and said that they were fine for that grade of lumber.  

The 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 15th, 16th, and 17th pictures are something called "wane." This is when the lumber includes a bit of the outer surface of the tree, where the "bark" is. (Bark is a rough outer covering on the trunk of a tree.) In fact, you can see some bark still attached in several places. It's a common characteristic of framing lumber.

The 11th, 12th, and 13th pictures show some blue staining and some iron staining - utterly unimportant. The blue staining is caused by a very, very, very unimportant fungus and the iron staining is probably from where the lumber was in contact with  - wait for it - iron. 

Many of the pictures also show "knots." These are where branches grew out laterally from the tree trunk. In the sizes and positions in the pictures, they're fine. 

You need to understand that framing lumber is graded for utility, not for looks. A completely separate grading process would be used for wood destined to become trim or furniture. It would be foolish to use defect-free wood for framing lumber. This is second nature to anyone who's ever worked with lumber in any way. 

If an inspector were to mention any of these things in an inspection report, he'd be a moron. 

Every piece of wood in every picture is fine. Forget about it and use your powers of obsession for something else.  

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4 hours ago, Torrey said:

Love the reply.  My wife got a chuckle from it too and told me to stop obsessing.  What can I say, this COVID-19 is stressing some of us out.  I'm a finance guy and not a woodworker. Again, thank you for the response and comedy. 

You'd probably enjoy my attempts at understanding finance even more. I can't even balance my checkbook without counting on my fingers. 

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Yes I have...it's pretty bad.. these people have apparently been in the LA area too long....  What a lot of people don't realize is that there are variations of the accent all thru Eastern MA...       Where I live (18 mi SW of BOS) we have a lot of ex-Bostonians from neighborhoods of South Boston, Dorchester, Hyde Park, Readville... that infiltrated our accent which was more hayseed dairy-farm around 1900 or so...       The old New Englanders are long-gone.. their  great grand kids are still around (we have some Puritan descendants still walking around this town).   I do my best as part of my home inspection routines to teach newcomers to MA how to properly pronounce things.. :)



Watah Metah

Soo-wah ejectah

Cirkit Braykah


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