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By DANA SPESSERT, Chief Inspector

The NHLA Rules have evolved to accommodate the natural characteristics of many hardwood species. These variations sometimes have similarities that cause some confusion. In this month’s article, I will discuss a few Rules that get combined and how they should be handled.

Soft maple is a species that has variations based on the geographic regions in which it grows. For example, in the Appalachian and Northern territories of the US and Canada, soft maple tends to be separated on a color sort, mainly Sap or White, referring to the sapwood content in the Cuttings. In the South and Midwest regions, there may be WHND (Worm Holes No Defect), and WHAD (Worm Holes A Defect, standard) sorts that the facility may utilize and sell the lumber accordingly.

I would like to focus on the WHND and Sound Wormy Rules. First, let’s distinguish between WHND and Sound Wormy.

Sound Wormy is a Standard Grade defined on page 19 of the 2023 NHLA Rules Book, under the heading of “Sound Wormy” paragraph 87:

“Sound Wormy shall grade not below No. 1 Common except that the natural characteristics of worm holes, bird pecks, stain, sound knots not exceeding 3/4” in diameter are admitted. Other sound defects which do not exceed in extent or damage the defects described are admitted in the cuttings. Unless therwise specified, Sound Wormy shall include the full product of the log in No. 1 Common and Better Sound Wormy.”

WHND can be found on the same page (page 19) under the heading “WHND”:

“When lumber is purchased under specifications combining the term “worm holes no defect” with the names of standard grades such as “FAS, worm holes no defect,” “No. 1 Common & Better, worm holes no defect,” the required yield shall be the same as specified under Standard Grades, except that worm holes, bird pecks and streaks are admitted without limit.”

As you can see in the Sound Wormy grade, stain and up to ¾” sound knots are admitted, along with many other sound defects. In the WHND sort, only worm holes, bird pecks, and streaks are admitted.

On page 25 of the Rules Book, under the Soft maple heading, you will find:

“Note: When Soft Maple is sold WHND (worm holes no defect) knots or their equivalent, not exceeding 1/4” in their greatest dimension, sound or containing unsound centers not over 1/8” in diameter, shall be admitted in the cuttings.”

With this note added to soft maple, any Standard Grade of soft maple, when it includes WHND (sometimes shortened to ND), would be allowed to have in the Clear Face Cuttings, worm holes, bird pecks, streaks, and knots or their equivalent, not exceeding 1/4” in their greatest dimension, sound or containing unsound centers not over 1/8” in diameter.

Nowhere in the description of WHND does it allow stain that would not surface off to Standard Surfaced Thickness in the Cuttings.

I trust that has made things clear; if you have any questions about WHND, Sound Wormy, or any other species exception.

If you have any questions please reach out to me at d.spessert@nhla.com or 901-399-7551.