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British Standard

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British Standard is licensed to
Giorgio Cavalieri
on February 08, 2001

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BRITISH STANDARD |
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Specification for |
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Visual strength grading |
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of softwood |
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Licensed Copy: Giorgio Cavalieri, ALSTOM, 8-Feb-01, Uncontrolled Copy. © BSI

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ICS 79.040 |
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NO COPYING WITHOUT BSI PERMISSION EXCEPT AS PERMITTED BY COPYRIGHT LAW
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BS 4978 : 1996 Issue 2, April 1997

Committees responsible for this


British Standard
The preparation of this British Standard was entrusted by Technical Committee
B/518, Structural timber, to Subcommittee B/518/2, Solid timber, upon which the
following bodies were represented:

British Timber Merchants' Association


British Woodworking Federation
Bureau de Promotion des Industries du Bois
Council of the Forest Industries (COFI)

Licensed Copy: Giorgio Cavalieri, ALSTOM, 8-Feb-01, Uncontrolled Copy. © BSI


Department of the Environment (Building Research Establishment)
Forestry Commission
Institute of Building Control
Institution of Civil Engineers
National House-Building Council
Southern Pine Council
Timber Research and Development Association
Timber Trade Federation
Trussed Rafter and Fabricators' Association
UK Timber Grading Committee
United Kingdom Softwood Sawmillers' Association

This British Standard, having


been prepared under the
direction of the Sector Board for
Building and Civil Engineering,
was published under the
authority of the Standards Board
and comes into effect on
15 August 1996

 BSI 1997
Amendments issued since publication
First published August 1973 Amd. No. Date Text affected
Second edition November 1988
Third edition August 1996
9434 April 1997 Indicated by a sideline in the margin

The following BSI references


relate to the work on this
standard:
Committee reference B/518/2
Draft for comment 95/102069 DC

ISBN 0 580 25841 6


BS 4978 : 1996

Contents

Page
Foreword ii
Specification
1 Scope 1
2 References 1
3 Definitions 1
4 Strength graded timber 1
5 Measurement of characteristics 3
Licensed Copy: Giorgio Cavalieri, ALSTOM, 8-Feb-01, Uncontrolled Copy. © BSI

6 Grade requirements 8
7 Marking 8
Annexes
A (normative) Determination of the knot area ratio in cases of dispute 10
B (normative) The control and supervision of strength grading operations 10
C (normative) Determination of slope of grain 11
D (informative) Species marking 11
Table
1 Permissible limits for the GS and SS visual strength grades 7
Figures
1 Edge, face and margin areas 2
2 Knot projection 3
3 Typical knot area ratios and the resulting grades 4
4 Measurement of rate of growth 5
5 Amounts of wane 6
6 Measurement of bow, spring and twist 6
7 Example of a mark on visually strength graded softwood 9
C.1 Swivel handled scribe for determination of slope of grain 11
C.2 Use of scribe 12
C.3 Measurement of slope of grain 12
List of references Inside back cover

 BSI 1996 i
BS 4978 : 1996

Foreword

This British Standard has been prepared by Subcommittee B/518/2. It supersedes


BS 4978 : 1988 which is withdrawn.
The first edition of this British Standard was published in 1973 with the title
Specification for timber grades for structural use. Consequent upon the publication of
BS 5756 : 1980 Specification for tropical hardwoods graded for structural use, the title
was changed to Specification for softwood grades for structural use.
This edition of this British Standard has been revised to take account of the
publication of relevant European Standards.

Licensed Copy: Giorgio Cavalieri, ALSTOM, 8-Feb-01, Uncontrolled Copy. © BSI


(a) Changes have been made to the visual grading section in accordance with
BS EN 518 Structural timber Ð Grading Ð Requirements for visual strength
grading standards.
(b) Machine strength grading is now specified in BS EN 519 Structural timber Ð
Grading Ð Requirements for machine strength graded timber and grading
machines. The sections concerning machine strength grading have therefore been
deleted and the title has been changed.
(c) The section concerning visual strength grades for laminations has been deleted.
Additional requirements for laminations are now given in BS EN 386 Glued
laminated timber Ð Performance requirements and minimum production
requirements. Additional requirements for material for trussed rafters are given in
BS 5268 Structural use of timber Part 3 Code of practice for trussed rafter roofs1).
This British Standard specifies the means of assessing the quality of softwood for
which grade stresses are given in BS 5268 : Part 2.
It takes account of and includes certain of the provisions contained in the Economic
Commission for Europe (ECE) Recommended standard for stress grading and
finger-jointing of structural coniferous sawn timber [1].
This British Standard complies with EN 518 : 1995 Structural timber Ð Grading Ð
Requirements for visual strength grading standards.
Annex A specifies the method to be used for the determination of knot area ratio in
cases of dispute, annex B specifies the minimum requirements for the control of
strength grading operations, annex C specifies the determination of slope of grain and
annex D gives guidance on species marking.
Compliance with a British Standard does not of itself confer immunity
from legal obligations.

1) Currently being revised.

ii  BSI 1996
BS 4978 : 1996

Specification

1 Scope 3.1 parcel


This British Standard specifies a method of strength Quantity of sawn timber of the same target size,
grading softwood visually for structural use. quality and description.
The permissible limits of characteristics for two 3.2 fissure
visual strength grades of softwood, General Longitudinal separation of fibres, appearing on a
Structural Grade (GS) and Special Structural face, edge or end of a piece of softwood, and
Grade (SS) are specified. including checks, shakes and splits.
This British Standard applies to softwoods graded 3.3 margin
Licensed Copy: Giorgio Cavalieri, ALSTOM, 8-Feb-01, Uncontrolled Copy. © BSI

both in the United Kingdom and abroad.


Area adjoining an edge of the cross-section,
Softwood which is graded abroad under the occupying one-quarter of the total cross-sectional
supervision of a certification body approved by the area of the piece (see figure 1).
UK Timber Grading Committee2) and graded and
marked in accordance with this British Standard 3.4 margin knot area ratio (MKAR)
does not have to be regraded in the United Kingdom, Ratio of the sum of the projected cross-sectional
provided that it is not resawn into smaller sizes. areas of all knots or portions of knots in a margin
Where British Standards covering specific end use intersected at any cross-section, to the
requirements specify permissible limits for grades cross-sectional area of margin.
covered by this standard, varying from those given in 3.5 sample
table 1, the requirements of those standards will Number of specimens of one cross-sectional size and
replace or be additional to the requirements of from one parcel.
table 1.
NOTE. Additional requirements for laminations and for material 3.6 strength class
for trussed rafters are given in BS EN 386 and in BS 5268 : Part 3 3), Classification of softwood based on particular
respectively. characteristic values of bending strength, density and
mean modulus of elasticity parallel to the grain.
2 References 3.7 total knot area ratio (TKAR)
2.1 Normative references Ratio of the sum of the total projected
This British Standard incorporates, by dated or cross-sectional areas of all knots intersected by any
undated reference, provisions from other cross-section to the total cross-sectional area of the
publications. These normative references are made piece (see figure 2).
at the appropriate places in the text and the cited 3.8 dry graded timber
publications are listed on the inside back cover. For Timber that is part of a batch that has been assessed
dated references, only the edition cited applies; any for fissures and distortion at an average moisture
subsequent amendments to or revisions of any of the content of 20 % or less, with no reading exceeding
cited publications apply to this British Standard only 24 % moisture content.
when incorporated in the reference by amendment
or revision. For undated references, the latest edition 3.9 wet graded timber
of the cited publication applies, together with any Timber that is part of a batch that has been assessed
amendments. for fissures and distortion at an average moisture
content in excess of 20 %.
2.2 Informative references
This British Standard refers to other publications 3.10 knot area ratio
that provide information or guidance. Editions of Ratio of the sum of projected cross-sectional areas
these publications current at the time of issue of this of the knots to the cross-sectional area of the piece.
standard are listed on the inside back cover, but
reference should be made to the latest editions. 4 Strength graded timber
4.1 Supervision of strength grading operations
3 Definitions Visual strength grading operations shall be carried
For the purposes of this British Standard, the out by a grader and/or grading company, under the
nomenclature given in BS 7359 and the definitions supervision of a certification body approved by the
given in BS 5268 : Part 2, BS EN 518, BS EN 336 and UK Timber Grading Committee, all of whom shall be
BS 6100 : Part 4 apply together with the following. assessed in accordance with annex B.

2) UK Timber Grading Committee, Timber Trade Federation, Clareville House, 26-27 Oxendon Street, London SW1Y 4EL.
3) Currently being revised.

 BSI 1996 1
BS 4978 : 1996

Licensed Copy: Giorgio Cavalieri, ALSTOM, 8-Feb-01, Uncontrolled Copy. © BSI


Figure 1. Edge, face and margin areas

4.2 Sizes 4.6 Moisture content


Unless otherwise specified, softwood graded to this 4.6.1 Determination
standard shall conform to BS EN 336 with respect to
permissible deviations and processing reductions The moisture content shall be determined in
applicable to constructional timber. It shall have a accordance with BS EN 336.
minimum cross-sectional area of 2000 mm2 and a 4.6.2 Dry graded timber
minimum thickness of 20 mm. The fissures and distortion of a batch of timber
NOTE. Dimensional limits for laminations are given in BS EN 386. being strength graded shall be assessed when the
4.3 Processed timber batch has an average moisture content of 20 % or
less, with no reading exceeding 24 % moisture
If the grading has been carried out before
content.
processing, provided that the processing reduction
from the target size is not greater than 3 mm for 4.6.3 Wet graded timber
dimensions less than or equal to 100 mm, or not Because thick timber is difficult to dry, 4.6.2 shall
greater than 5 mm for dimensions greater than not apply to timber that has a target thickness of
100 mm, the grade shall not be considered to have 100 mm or more. Neither shall 4.6.2 apply to timber
been changed. that is specified for use in contact with water or in
4.4 Resawing or surfacing climatic conditions leading to a timber moisture
content higher than 20 % (corresponding to service
Where graded softwood is resawn or surfaced to an
class 3, as defined in BS 5268 : Part 2).
extent beyond the limits of 4.3, the softwood shall
be regraded if it is to conform to this British 4.7 Acceptance limits for visually graded
Standard. softwood
4.5 Cross-cutting When, on inspection of a representative sample of a
parcel of graded softwood, it is ascertained that not
Cross-cutting shall be permitted provided that each
more than 10 % of the pieces exceed the permissible
resulting piece conforms to this British Standard.
limits of the grade and, provided that not more than
3 % of the pieces in the sample exceed the
permissible limits by more than î, the parcel shall
be considered as conforming to the grade.
Where the parcel contains less than 10 pieces, the
permissible limits shall not be exceeded.

2  BSI 1996
Licensed Copy: Giorgio Cavalieri, ALSTOM, 8-Feb-01, Uncontrolled Copy. © BSI BS 4978 : 1996

Figure 2. Knot projection

5 Measurement of characteristics No distinction shall be made between knot holes,


5.1 Knots dead knots or live knots.
Knots shall be assessed by their total knot area ratio Square section pieces shall be graded in accordance
(TKAR) (see 3.7) and their margin knot area ratio with note 4 to table 1.
(MKAR) (see 3.4). Knots shall be considered as part NOTE 2. Figure 2 shows the method of deriving a projection of
of the same cross-section if any part of the knots or knots on a cross-sectional plane.
the grain disturbances for which they are responsible NOTE 3. Typical knot area ratios are shown in figure 3.
overlap along the length of the piece.
NOTE 1. In making this assessment, knots or knot holes of 5 mm
In cases of dispute, annex A shall be used to
diameter or less may be ignored. determine the knot area ratio.

 BSI 1996 3
BS 4978 : 1996 Issue 2, April 1997

Licensed Copy: Giorgio Cavalieri, ALSTOM, 8-Feb-01, Uncontrolled Copy. © BSI


| MKAR < ¯ MKAR < ¯ MKAR > ¯
| TKAR > ¯ TKAR > î, < ¯ TKAR > î
| Reject GS Grade Reject

| MKAR < ¯ MKAR > ¯ MKAR < ¯


| TKAR < î TKAR > 1/5 , < î TKAR > î, < ¯
| SS Grade GS Grade GS Grade

| MKAR > ¯ MKAR > ¯ MKAR < ¯


| TKAR < 1/5 TKAR > 1/5 , < î TKAR < î
| SS Grade GS Grade SS Grade

Figure 3. Typical knot area ratios and the resulting grades

4  BSI 1997
BS 4978 : 1996

5.2 Slope of grain b) The ratio of full edge dimension relative to the
Slope of grain shall be assessed as the inclination of target thickness is given by the formulae:
the wood fibres (grain) to the longitudinal axis of b 2 K1
the piece. The slope shall be expressed as the b
number of units of length over which unit deviation
occurs. It shall be measured over a distance or
sufficiently great to determine the general slope, b 2 K2 2 K3
disregarding local deviations. The slope of grain shall b
be measured as follows:
where h, b, V1 to V3 and K1 to K3 are as given in
a) by taking a line parallel to the surface fissures; figure 5.
Licensed Copy: Giorgio Cavalieri, ALSTOM, 8-Feb-01, Uncontrolled Copy. © BSI

or
b) by using a grain detector (scribe) (see annex C). 5.5 Fissures
5.3 Rate of growth The limits for the length of fissures are given in
To assess the rate of growth, measurement shall be table 1. Measurement shall be taken at the time of
made on one end of the piece and expressed as the grading.
average ring width, in millimetres. The measurement NOTE. The length of a fissure is influenced by moisture content.
shall be taken as follows: Precise limits to cover all conditions and applications cannot
therefore be given and guidance only is provided as to what might
a) along a straight line 75 mm long, normal to the be considered acceptable limits at 20 % moisture content.
growth rings, which:
1) when the pith is absent, passes through the 5.6 Resin pockets and bark pockets
centre of the end of the piece (see figure 4a); Resin pockets and bark pockets shall be assessed as
and fissures or knots according to their shape. If a bark
2) when the pith is present, commences 25 mm pocket is assessed as a knot it shall be taken into
from the pith (see figure 4b); or account when assessing knot area ratio.
b) if a line 75 mm long is unobtainable, on the
longest possible line normal to the growth rings 5.7 Distortion
and passing through the centre of the piece. The methods of assessing distortion are shown in
5.4 Wane figure 6. Bow, spring and twist shall be assessed over
Conformity to the limits of wane given in table 1 a 2 m length. Longitudinal curvature in square
shall be determined using the formulae given in section pieces shall be assessed using the limits for
items a) and b). bow. Measurement shall be taken at the time of
a) The ratio of full face dimension relative to the grading.
target width is given by the formulae: NOTE. The amount of distortion is influenced by moisture
content. Precise limits to cover all conditions and applications
h 2 V1 cannot therefore be given and guidance only is provided as to
h what might be considered acceptable limits at 20 % moisture
or content.
h 2 V2 2 V3
h

y = 25 mm
z = 75 mm
(However, see 5.3.)
a) b)

Figure 4. Measurement of rate of growth

 BSI 1996 5
BS 4978 : 1996 Issue 2, April 1997

Licensed Copy: Giorgio Cavalieri, ALSTOM, 8-Feb-01, Uncontrolled Copy. © BSI


Figure 5. Amounts of wane

| Bow Bow is W

| Spring Spring is X

| Twist Twist is Y

Figure 6. Measurement of bow, spring and twist

6  BSI 1997
BS 4978 : 1996

Table 1. Permissible limits for the GS and SS visual strength grades


Characteristic Grade
(see clause 3) GS (see note 3) SS
Knots (see note 4) Either: Either:
if MKAR is less than or equal to ¯, if MKAR is less than or equal to ¯,
then TKAR shall be less than or then TKAR shall be less than or
equal to ¯ equal to î
Or: Or:
Licensed Copy: Giorgio Cavalieri, ALSTOM, 8-Feb-01, Uncontrolled Copy. © BSI

if MKAR is greater than ¯, then if MKAR is greater than ¯, then


TKAR shall be less than or equal to TKAR shall be less than or equal to
1/
î 5

Slope of grain Not greater than 1 in 6 Not greater than 1 in 10


Rate of growth Average width of annual rings not Average width of annual rings not
greater than 10 mm greater than 6 mm
Fissures:
not through the thickness Unlimited Not longer than half the length of the
piece
through the thickness Not longer than 600 mm on any Not longer than twice the width of the
running metre piece
Wane (see 5.4 and figure 5) Wane shall not reduce the full edge and face dimensions to less than 2/3 of the
dimensions of the piece. Length of wane is unlimited.
Distortion (see figure 6):
bow Not greater than 20 mm over a length Not greater than 10 mm over a length
of 2 m of 2 m
spring Not greater than 12 mm over a length Not greater than 8 mm over a length
of 2 m of 2 m
twist Not greater than 2 mm per 25 mm Not greater than 1 mm per 25 mm
width over a length of 2 m width over a length of 2 m
cup Unlimited Unlimited
Resin pockets and bark
pockets:
not through the thickness Unlimited, if shorter than the width of the piece; otherwise, the same limits as
for length of fissures
through the thickness Unlimited, if shorter than half the width of the piece; otherwise the same
limits as for length of fissures
Insect damage Permitted provided it conforms to the requirements of clause 6.
No active infestation is permitted.
Wood wasp holes are not permitted.
NOTE 1. Typical knot area ratios are shown in figure 3.
NOTE 2. The length of fissures and the amount of distortion are linked with moisture content, therefore the limits given can only be
applicable at the time of grading.
NOTE 3. For the following species and species combinations the fissure and distortion limits in the GS column apply, irrespective of
the strength grade:
Douglas Fir (British);
Norway spruce;
Sitka spruce (British);
Sitka spruce (Canada);
western red cedar;
western white woods.
NOTE 4. When grading square sections, they shall be considered in their unfavourable orientation, i.e. for determining MKAR, those
surfaces shall be considered to be edges that result in the worse grade.
NOTE 5. Additional requirements for laminations and for material for trussed rafters are given in BS EN 386 and in BS 5268 : Part 3,
respectively.

 BSI 1996 7
BS 4978 : 1996

6 Grade requirements In exceptional circumstances, the end use of


Two visual strength grades called General Structural softwood may require marking to be omitted for
(GS) and Special Structural (SS) are specified. To aesthetic reasons. In such cases when the customer
qualify for a grade, a piece shall not contain specifically requests/orders softwood to be free from
characteristics which exceed the limits given in grade marks, each parcel of softwood of a single
table 1 when measured or assessed in accordance grade shall be dispatched under the cover of a
with clause 5. certificate of compliance stating the following
Sapstain is not a structural defect and shall be minimum information in addition to that listed in
acceptable without limitation. items a), b) and c):

Licensed Copy: Giorgio Cavalieri, ALSTOM, 8-Feb-01, Uncontrolled Copy. © BSI


Any piece which contains abnormal defects such as 1) the serial number and date of the certificate;
compression wood, insect damage (e.g. worm holes, 2) the customer's name and address;
pin holes), fungal decay (but not sapstain), damage, 3) the customer's purchase order number;
combinations of knots and/or other characteristics,
which may cause a decrease in strength properties to 4) the softwood dimensions and quantities;
an amount which threatens the serviceability of the 5) the date the softwood was graded;
piece shall be excluded from the grades. 6) the signature of the grader countersigned by
Where the reduction in strength caused by the the supervisor, together with the following
abnormal defect is obviously less than that caused statement:
by the defects admitted by the grade, the piece shall `This softwood was graded in accordance with
be accepted provided that the abnormal defect is of BS 4978.'
a type which will not progress after conversion
and/or drying (e.g. white pocket rot derived from the 7) if dry graded timber (see 4.6.2), the words
standing tree). `dry softwood', or if kiln dried, `dry softwood' or
Where arrises are rounded as part of the `kiln dried softwood';
manufacturing process, they shall not exceed a 8) if wet graded timber (see 4.6.3), the words
radius of 3 mm and shall be ignored when assessing `wet softwood'.
wane. An example is given in figure 7 of a mark on visually
If, when grading, automatic devices are used to strength graded softwood.
estimate the size or shape of the visual If the marking or stamping is removed by processing
characteristics or to estimate the size or geometrical or cross-cutting, the softwood shall be re-marked or
shape of the individual pieces, such automatic
re-stamped with its original grade (and, optionally,
devices shall only be used to assess the grade of
strength class), the species or species combination,
each piece against the visual requirements of this
the letters `DRY', `KD' or `WET' as originally marked,
British Standard.
the number of this standard (i.e. BS 4978) and the
name of the processing company, prefixed by the
7 Marking letter `R' to denote re-marking.
Each piece of visually strength graded softwood shall
have the following information clearly and indelibly
indicated by marking or stamping on one face:
a) the grade;
b) the species or species combination (see
annex D);
NOTE. Each piece of visually strength graded timber may be
marked with a strength class in addition to the species and grade
or species combination and grade assigned to the piece. For the
strength class corresponding to the species and grade or species
combination and grade see BS 5268 : Part 2.
c) information whereby the company responsible
for the grading may be identified;
d) the certification body and the number of this
British Standard, i.e. BS 49784);
e) if dry graded timber (see 4.6.2), the word
`DRY', or if kiln dried, `DRY' or `KD';
f) if wet graded timber (see 4.6.3), the word
`WET'.

4) Marking BS 4978 on or in relation to a product represents a manufacturer's declaration of conformity, i.e. a claim by or on behalf of
the manufacturer that the product meets the requirements of the standard. The accuracy of the claim is solely the claimant's
responsibility. Such a declaration is not to be confused with third party certification of conformity.

8  BSI 1996
Licensed Copy: Giorgio Cavalieri, ALSTOM, 8-Feb-01, Uncontrolled Copy. © BSI BS 4978 : 1996

Figure 7. Example of a mark on visually strength graded softwood

 BSI 1996 9
BS 4978 : 1996

Annexes

Annex A (normative) Annex B (normative)


Determination of the knot area ratio in The control and supervision of strength
cases of dispute grading operations
This annex describes the method of calculating the B.1 General
worst knot area ratio in any piece of softwood in cases
of dispute. The procedure is as follows. This annex specifies the minimum requirements for the
control of strength grading operations necessary for
a) Choose that section in the piece which intersects the production of strength graded timber conforming
the knot or group of knots of which the knot area

Licensed Copy: Giorgio Cavalieri, ALSTOM, 8-Feb-01, Uncontrolled Copy. © BSI


to this British Standard. It does not attempt to include
ratio produces the lowest grade. (See 5.1 to other necessary parts of an acceptable third party
determine which knots to consider in any one certification scheme, i.e. organizational responsibility,
section.) legal considerations, dispute procedures, etc.
b) Consider all knots with diameters greater than The control and supervision of visual strength grading
5 mm intersected by the chosen section in shall be carried out in accordance with B.2.
calculating the knot area ratio of both margin areas
and of the whole piece. B.2 Visual grading systems
Make full-scale drawings of the chosen section and B.2.1 All graders shall be certified by the certification
mark the margin areas by dotted lines. Mark points body.
on the appropriate side of the rectangle representing
any knot on that surface. The points marked need to B.2.2 The certification body's representative shall, at
represent the widest projection of the knot on that least once per year, visit the grader to check that
face or edge. timber graded by the grader conforms to this British
Standard.
c) Estimate the position of the pith within or
without the cross-section by examining the end B.2.3 The company carrying out the grading shall
nearest to the chosen section. Assume that the nominate a representative who will be responsible for
annual rings are concentric with the pith. the operation of the graders and review the grading
d) Depending on the position of the pith, calculate records on a weekly basis.
the knot area ratio using one of the methods given, B.2.4 The company carrying out the grading shall be
as follows. responsible for seeing that steps are taken to ensure
1) If the pith is within the cross-section, join the that rejected timber is not regraded and is stored
points representing the limits of the knots on the separately from timber conforming to this British
drawing by straight lines to a point representing Standard.
the estimated position of the pith. Measure the B.2.5 Graded timber shall be protected in storage and
area within these lines which corresponds to transport to the extent necessary to minimize
knots for the whole cross-section and for that area downgrading of the timber.
which lies within either margin.
2) Where the pith is outside the cross-section, join B.2.6 Where a company is strength grading for a
up the points on the perimeter of the drawing in a specific order, the following records shall be kept for
manner appropriate to the assumption that each each parcel of graded timber:
knot is approximately a cone with its apex at the a) the job or order number;
pith. Measure the area thus enclosed, b) the customer's name, if known, or identifying
corresponding to the estimated position of knots, reference;
for the whole cross-section and for both margin
c) the timber species or species combination and its
areas.
source;
e) In both the cases referred to in d)1) and d)2) NOTE. For source, it is sufficient to record the shipper's end mark
express: where this exists.
1) the total area of knots within each margin area d) timber size and surface finish (planed or sawn);
as a proportion of the whole of that margin area e) the number of pieces in each grade and the
for the purpose of deciding whether a margin number of rejects;
condition exists or not;
f) the date of grading;
2) the total area of knots within the
g) the grader's name or identification number;
cross-sectional area of the piece as a proportion of
the cross-sectional area of the piece for the h) the average moisture content;
purpose of determining the knot area ratio at that i) the highest moisture content reading.
section. NOTE. Where the company or sawmill is strength grading for
stock or in a continuous process the requirements to keep records
as in items a), b) and e) may be modified in consultation with the
certification body.

10  BSI 1996
BS 4978 : 1996

Annex C (normative) Annex D (informative)


Determination of slope of grain Species marking
C.1 General This annex gives guidance on the abbreviations which
This annex specifies the method used to determine the should be used when marking softwood in accordance
slope of grain by means of a scribe (see figure C.1) with this British Standard.
comprising a cranked rod with a swivel handle and a For the purposes of this British Standard, `British'
needle at the tip set to a slight trailing angle. includes timber grown in Ireland.
C.2 Procedure
Licensed Copy: Giorgio Cavalieri, ALSTOM, 8-Feb-01, Uncontrolled Copy. © BSI

Press the needle into the softwood and draw the scribe Species Abbreviation
along with a steady action in the apparent direction of
the grain, which is indicated more precisely as the Caribbean pitch pine CAR/P
needle forms a groove. Corsican pine (British) B/P
NOTE. If the pressure on the needle is not sufficient it may be
dragged across the grain; on the other hand, a steady action is
Douglas fir (British) B/DF
impossible if the pressure is excessive and the needle penetrates Douglas fir-larch (Canada) NA/DFL
too far into the softwood. Douglas fir-larch (USA) NA/DFL
In Douglas fir, the late wood is relatively dense and the hem-fir (Canada) NA/HF
needle meeting it tends to be diverted, resulting in a
step in the groove. To avoid this, use a particularly hem-fir (USA) NA/HF
slow and steady action as each early wood stripe is larch (British) B/L
met. Norway spruce B/S
If the action is correct, the needle follows the grain Parana pine PP
even when the direction of pull of the scribe is slightly redwood ER
out of line. This property can be used as follows to redwood/whitewood EW/ER
check that the scribe does follow the grain: scribe
Scots pine B/P
another groove in close proximity on each side of the
original one with the direction of pull diverging slightly Sitka spruce (British) B/S
outwards in each case; if the grooves follow the grain, Sitka spruce (Canada) C/S
they are parallel to each other. southern pine US/SP
Measure the inclination of grain on a face as shown in spruce-pine-fir (Canada) NA/SPF
figures C.2 and C.3 in which AB is the line indicating spruce-pine-fir (USA) NA/SPF
grain direction, AC is a line drawn parallel to the edge
western red cedar NA/WRC
of the member, BC is a line drawn at right angles to
AC. Let a be the length of AC, b the length of BC. western white woods US/WW
Then if x = a/b, express the slope of grain as 1 in x. whitewood EW

Figure C.1 Swivel handled scribe for determination of slope of grain

 BSI 1996 11
BS 4978 : 1996 Annex C

Licensed Copy: Giorgio Cavalieri, ALSTOM, 8-Feb-01, Uncontrolled Copy. © BSI


Figure C.2 Use of scribe

Figure C.3 Measurement of slope of grain

12  BSI 1996
BS 4978 : 1996

List of references (see clause 2)

Normative references

BSI publications
BRITISH STANDARDS INSTITUTION, London

BS 5268 : Structural use of timber


BS 5268 : Part 2 : 1996 Code of practice for permissible stress design, materials and
workmanship
Licensed Copy: Giorgio Cavalieri, ALSTOM, 8-Feb-01, Uncontrolled Copy. © BSI

BS 6100 : Glossary of building and civil engineering terms


BS 6100 : Part 4 : Forest products
BS 7359 : 1991 Nomenclature of commercial timbers including sources of supply
BS EN 336 : 1995 Structural timber Ð Coniferous and poplar Ð Sizes Ð
Permissible deviations
BS EN 518 : 1995 Structural timber Ð Grading Ð Requirements for visual strength
grading standards

Informative references

BSI publications
BRITISH STANDARDS INSTITUTION, London

BS 5268 : Structural use of timber


BS 5268 : Part 3 : 1985 Code of practice for trussed rafter roofs5)
BS 5756 : 1980 Specification for tropical hardwoods graded for structural use5) 6)
BS EN 386 : 1995 Glued laminated timber Ð Performance requirements and
minimum production requirements
BS EN 519 : 1995 Structural timber Ð Grading Ð Requirements for machine
strength graded timber and grading machines7)

Other references
[1] EUROPEAN ECONOMIC COMMISSION (ECE). Recommended standard for stress grading and
finger-jointing of structural coniferous sawn timber. Geneva: United Nations7) 8).

5) Currently being revised.


6) Referred to in the foreword only.
7) Referred to in the foreword only.
8) Available from the Department of the Environment, Building Research Establishment, Garston, Watford, Herts, WD2 7JR.

 BSI 1996
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