Rough, S1S2E, S4S? What do they mean?
When you come into a store like ours looking for a cedar board one of the most common questions you are going to get right off the top is “Rough, S1S, or S4S?”. With so many different titles for wood, it can get quite confusing. The one thing to note is that all of these have nothing to do with the quality, all it tells you is the state of its faces.
A rough board is exactly what it sounds like. After being cut it hasn’t been planed or changed in any way. It is what is sometimes referred to as re-sawn or bandsaw rough. As I have said before, rough isn’t the grade just the surface. In fact rough is often used because it has the raised grain of the wood has a nice appearance for a featured section, especially when stained.
S1S2E, stands for Smooth 1 Side and 2 Edges. It will be 11/16” of an inch thin by a 1/2” smaller than its title since it has been planned on the one face and the two edges. It is often referred to as “good one side” but that is a red herring since it graded for the re-sawn face. S1S2E products are used for a wide variety of projects varying from encasing pressure treated wood to making bird houses. S1S material is also commonly used in things like window trim, just like the picture below.
S4S is Smooth 4 Sides has a few types. The most common is also referred to as decking. It has been planned on all 4 sides and generally has an eased edge. As result, it is approximately a 1/4-1/2” smaller in both dimensions than its namesake. Another kind of S4S that we can make for you is S4S for appearance. This doesn’t have an eased edge. S4S is commonly used for furniture, decking, handrails, etc. Below is a picture of picnic table made out of S4S material.