For purposes of pallets and packaging, we need to talk about hardwood and softwood separately.
The hardwood that is used in pallets and packaging is normally off grade (or non-graded) material. On grade hardwood is typically used in industries such as furniture and flooring. Upper grades of hardwood such as FAS and Selects are normally used for moldings. 1 Common and 2 Common hardwood is used for cabinets, furniture and flooring.
In regards to softwood lumber, grades are usually 1 through 4, with 1 being the best. Grade 1 Common softwood is characterized by clear wood with very small, tight knots. Pallets and packaging are typically made using Grades 2 through 4. The lower grades of softwood have larger and more frequent knots.
Knowing your application and consulting with a pallet and packaging professional is the best start in determining the proper grade of lumber.
Post by: Rich Reiher, Vice President