Low-grade hardwood lumber is abundant across the Lake States and the Northeast United States.
This product has historically been used as pallet lumber, crating material, and firewood with
values of $200-$300 per thousand board feet. Further, several low-valued hardwood species
have become prevalent in these areas through past forestry practices. In order to actively manage
the forests for historical species, new and higher value markets must be established.
The purpose of this project was to evaluate the use of sugar maple (Acer saccharum) and red
maple (Acer rubrum) as structural lumber in metal plate pitched and parallel chord trusses.
Groups of trusses were manufactured with both chords and webs from hardwood lumber, from
softwood chords and hardwood webs and from chords and webs from softwood lumber. Testing
was completed according to ANSl/fPI 2-1995, Standard for Testing Metal Plate Connected
Wood Trusses. Results showed that both pitched and parallel chord trusses manufactured from
hardwood lumber had strength and stiffness that was equivalent to or better than softwood
trusses manufactured from spruce-pine-fir (SPF) and southern yellow pine (SYP) lumber.
Trusses manufactured with SPF chords and hardwood webs had properties that were equivalent
to or better than complete SPF trusses. The findings indicate that the potential use of low-grade
hardwood lumber as truss lumber would result in large volumes of this material being utilized in
a higher value application.
Natural Resources Research Institute, University of Minnesota, Duluth, 5013 Miller Trunk Highway, Duluth, Minnesota 55811; Prepared for and funded by:
USDA Forest Products Laboratory, One Gifford Pinchot Drive, Madison, Wisconsin 53705
Brashaw, Brian; Vatalaro, Robert J; Lackore, Michael; Ross, Robert J; Wang, Xiping; Forsman, John.
Advancing Technology to Manufacture Trusses From Hardwood Lumber.
University of Minnesota Duluth.
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