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IS LUMBER QUALITY SLIPPING? by Robert Stroh JLC - APRIL 1989 Lumber serves as the primary framing material for residential and light-commercial construction. Has lumber changed over the years? What is the future outlook for the lumber supply? Answers to these questions require a discussion of tree growth, lumber production, lumber grading and purchasing, and forest management. The discussion will be on the softwoods, from which framing lumber is commonly produced. Tree Growth The center of the stem of a tree is called the pith. Surrounding the pith and running out to the bark is the woody portion of the tree, which is the source of our lumber. Unfortunately, lumber is not a uniform material: It contains knots, varies in density and strength, and