National Hardwood Lumber Association

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The National Hardwood Lumber Association is an American hardwood lumber grading group. It was founded in 1898[1] to standardize the grades for hardwood lumber. Previously, lumber was graded by lumber mills on an individual basis, and there was no standardization between mills.[2]

From 1898 to 1932, the NHLA based its lumber grades on the number and size of visual imperfections in a given piece of lumber. In 1932, it changed its standards to grade based on clear cutting sizes. The grade is determined by "the proportion of a piece that can be cut into a certain number of smaller pieces of material, commonly called cuttings, which are general clear on one side, have the reverse side sound, and are not smaller than a specified size."[2]


As the creators of North America's commonly used lumber grading system, the NHLA has involved itself heavily in the education and certification of lumber inspectors. It also serves as a tool for communication and promotion for hardwood producers, consumers, and equipment manufacturers.The NHLA advocates for the hardwood industry, provides services and expertise to the industry, and promotes networking between groups interested in the profitable production of hardwood and related products.[1][3]

Training programs[edit]

The NHLA offers a 12-week training program for people interested in becoming a lumber inspector. It also offers continuing education for graduates of the 12-week program or individuals already in the lumber industry who have a firm understanding of the field. In addition to the traditional 12-week course, NHLA now offers the Progressive Program. In an attempt to further its educational reach, the NHLA Inspector Training School is embracing new technology and offering a distance learning ITS Program. The "Progressive Program" is divided into three blocks. Upon successful completion of one block, a student can then progress to the next study block. Block 1 of the Progressive Program requires two weeks of hands-on study at the NHLA Inspector Training School in Memphis, Tenn. Block 2 allows for up to 12 months of online study for memorization and study of required material; and Block 3 Block 3 requires an additional three weeks of classroom study and board runs back at NHLA headquarters.[4]


The NHLA holds an “Annual Convention & Exhibit Showcase” which serves as a focal point for the lumber industry as well as businesses involved in forestry, lumber production and sales, and tool and machinery manufactures’. Visit to learn more about the upcoming conventions.[citation needed]


The NHLA founded the Hardwood Federation to act as a lobby for the hardwood industry in Washington, D.C. and has remained the leading partner of that organization. Their focus is mainly on issues that will affect the production of hardwood and hardwood markets.[5]

Promotion and advertising[edit]

The NHLA publishes the Hardwood Matters magazine which serves as the flagship publication for the industry. It offers opportunities for advertising and provides information to trends and changes in the industry to its members. For similar purposes it also publishes a members-only newsletter and has an extensive online job board and website.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b "Our Roles". Retrieved 2016-02-13.
  2. ^ a b U S Dept of Agriculture (2007). The Encyclopedia of Wood. Skyhorse Publishing Inc. pp. 5–1–5–20. ISBN 978-1-60239-057-7. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  3. ^ Forest Plywood. "Hardwood & Softwood Lumber". Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  4. ^ "Education". Retrieved 2016-02-13.
  5. ^ "Hardwood Federation - Home". 2015-08-28. Retrieved 2016-02-13.

External links[edit]