The grade of wood, within a wood species, is determined by the amount of natural characteristics, such as knots and color variations. The grades are:
- Clear—free of “defects”, though there may be minor imperfections.
- Select—almost clear, but contains some natural characteristics.
- First common—more natural characteristics, light and dark colors, some knots, some worm holes and limited character marks.
- Second common—more rustic and accentuates more the wood’s characteristics, does not have a uniform appearance—knot holes, varied color, lines, speckled appearance.
Grain patterns vary between species and grades. You can have a very uniform creamy white appearance like a First Grade Maple or a wavy, irregular appearance of a #2 Common Hickory.