What is Common Board? (How to Buy in 2023)
If you’ve ever looked at wood options, you may have seen common board as a material choice.
However, not everyone is familiar with this type of wood. What is common board? What is it used for in woodworking? Is it something you should take advantage of as someone with a project in mind?
In this post, I’ll explain what common board is, when you should use it, and much more. Let’s get started!
In This Article:
What is Common Board?
Common board is a type of wood ideal for beginners who want to take on woodworking projects.
Most big box stores carry common boards as their most affordable material for customers. They’re cheap and straight enough to work. Common boards are typically pine boards and are softwood, which is ideal for many projects both inside and outside.
If you want dimensional lumber in 1×2 or 1×3, you often can’t get it with common board.
Each plank starts at a 1×4 size. If you need a smaller piece, you will have to cut down the wood to get the actual measurements you want for the project.
If you’re a beginner and you’re not sure which wood will best work for your DIY project, check out common board. The rustic character and malleable construction might make them the ideal wood for your woodworking plans.
Wondering how much weight a 2×4 can hold? Check out this guide to learn more!
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What Are Common Boards Used For?
There are many purposes common wood can come in handy for, whether you need something professional or are trying out a new project for your home. Let’s talk about a few items you can make if you have a board on hand.
Here are a few of the best items builders can make with common wood:
- Tables: You can build side tables for the entryway or picnic tables outside.
- Chairs: You might construct tiny chairs for kids to sit in or picnic chairs for an outside table.
- Boxes: You can create little wooden boxes for decorative purposes in your home.
- Desks: You can make desks to display small decorations or serve as learning spaces.
- Shelving: You can create shelving to hold decoration, for example, a vase of flowers.
- Cabinets: You can construct cabinets and cabinet doors for your dishes and spices.
As long as you properly seal the material and keep everything fastened, common boards can serve multiple purposes.
It’s critical to note that common board is not as strong as more expensive, treated pieces. You shouldn’t try to make something that needs to hold a ton of weight. They’re not as durable as hardwoods, such as walnut or birch.
How Much is Common Board?
Because common boards are whatever material the company can get their hands on, they are often cheaper than other hardwood and softwood options.
Of course, this affordability can mean you are stuck with more defects. However, it’s possible to paint or stain over the faults without spending too much time.
Here are a few examples of Home Depot common board prices you can find. It’s important to note that prices of common board can change daily depending on the current cost of lumber.
- $7.58 a piece for 1 in. x 4 in. x 8 ft. Premium Kiln-Dried Square Edge Whitewood Common Board
- $11.42 a piece for 1 in. x 6 in. x 8 ft. Square Edge Spruce Common Board
- $11.87 a piece for 1 in. x 6 in. x 12 ft. Premium Tongue and Groove Pattern Whitewood Board
Common wood will save you money on your lumber need. If you’re going to experiment, you might as well invest in a common board so you can figure out what you’re doing and making a mistake won’t cost a fortune.
It’s smart to start with smaller projects and work your way up to the best grade hardwood.
Where Can You Get Common Board?
Common board is simple to find at almost any home improvement store.
They often make common boards out of materials in the area. For most stores, that ends up being pine. However, common wood can be a variety of materials.
A few stores that sell common boards include:
- Home Depot: Home Depot is one of the largest home improvement companies in the nation. They have everything you need to renovate, from pieces of wood to electric tools and appliances. If you need common board, you can easily find a piece at Home Depot.
- Lowe’s: Lowe’s is like Home Depot, and close behind in popularity. They also sell materials with the intent to deliver customers the ability to renovate and build items for themselves. Common board is right up their alley.
Many towns have local lumber supply centers or hardware stores that sell wood and they should also have common boards for sale.
What Does Common Wood Look Like?
Common wood comes in many sizes, shapes, and colors.
It’s often made of pine, but other trees come in handy to process common lumber for the market. No piece of common wood is the same as the next.
Here are a few characteristics often noticeable in common wood:
- Size: Common wood only comes in the 1×4 sizeTypically you can’t purchase anything smaller than that.
- Shape: Although not all are flawed, some types of common wood are warped. This fact makes them even cheaper to put your money into a project.
- Texture: Many common planks of wood have flaws, such as knots or scratches on the surface. Again, not every piece of wood is the same.
You can check the descriptor to determine what type of wood it is, what it looks like, and if it’s the right choice for your project.
How Does Common Wood Compare to Plywood and MDF?
Plywood and MDF are two common woodworking materials people use for their projects.
They’re great for a beginner because they’re not too thick and you can cut them with ease without handing solid pieces of hardwood.
How does common wood compare to plywood and MDF when it comes to the build?
Here are a few ways common wood comes out on top:
- It’s powerful: Common wood can last in many environments, especially if it’s been sealed against the weather for a longer lifespan.
- It’s simple to cut: If you’re a beginner, you will have no trouble cutting a piece of common wood.
- It can hold more: Common wood is thicker. This wood is much more sturdy.
Still, plywood and MDF have their advantages.
Here are a few ways plywood and MDF are better than common wood:
- They’re strong: Both of these materials, although somewhat thin, are strong. Plywood is more powerful than MDF is in reality.
- They’re affordable: Plywood and MDF are also affordable choices for the average individual. You can get a bit of bang for your buck with careful planning.
Plywood and MDF have their strengths, but so does common wood. It’s up to you to determine which seems like the better fit for what you have in mind.
Are you building a shelf? A table? What strength are you on the hunt for in your building project? By answering these questions, you should be able to determine which wood is right for your project.
Are There Different Grades of Common Wood?
As with most wood, different grades of common wood are suitable for varying purposes.
Under the ‘common’ title, there are several different grades that a plank of wood can fall under in a store.
These can range from perfect to knotted and gnarled boards. Let’s talk about the pine boards and the grade that comes with them.
The grades of a common pine board include:
- Premium: Premium is the top of the top, sleek with tight knots hidden inside.
- Finish: Finish is a step below premium and accepts finished boards with a few knots here and there.
- Standard: Standard is less finished and often utilized in construction.
- Industrial: This one is at the very bottom. There are often holes or knots, but not so much that the structural integrity of the wood goes.
When purchasing wood, it’s vital to know what you’re paying for at the store. Do you want a premium piece of common board or something a little more industrial? There are plenty of options to choose from that can be used for a variety of projects.
What Type of Wood is Common Board?
Common wood is many different planks of wood.
Most of the time, they are made from pine and are a soft wood. A few kinds of wood are more common than others when analyzing common wood.
A few of the other types of wood common board is made from include:
- Maple: Maple is a strong wood that is easily stained if the color needs to change.
- Poplar: Poplar is a hardwood, but it’s as easy as softwood for furniture.
- Douglas Fir: Douglas fir is one of the most common trees in the forest, and the lumber it produces is straight-grained.
- Red Oak: Red Oak is a gorgeous wood with a little more texture than other woods in woodworking.
- Mahogany: Mahogany is reddish-brown lumber in a straight grain for woodworking.
Although there is more than one wood common wood that can be made from, the most common out of all of them is pine.
Pros and Cons of Common Wood
If you’re thinking about utilizing common board for your projects, it’s critical to consider the pros and cons that come along with it.
Many pros come with adding common wood to your stack of material. It never hurts to experiment with something new, and these good items might add to the intrigue of common lumber.
Here are a few of the biggest pros that come with common wood:
- It’s affordable: Common wood is more affordable than premium wood products without a lack of quality.
- It’s decent quality: Most common wood you find might not be pretty, but it will work well for the project you want to try out. A low price with decent material is the ideal combination.
- It’s workable: It’s simple to work with common wood, even for beginners with no experience.
Common wood can work for anyone, beginner or expert.
If you want to weigh your options, it’s critical to look at both sides.
Here are a few of the cons that come with common wood:
- There can be more defects: With common wood, you can find pieces riddled with issues.
- You get what you get: The material common wood is is whatever is in the area at the time. There’s nothing specific.
- It doesn’t come small: If you need a 1×2 board, you won’t find it in common wood. You will have to cut down the piece to your liking, as they come in 1×4 as a minimum size.
Of course, the type of wood you invest in depends on what you want to make and how much experience you have under your belt. Are you an experienced woodworker or just starting? It’s up to you to determine your comfort level.
Final Thoughts on Common Boards
Common wood is a type of wood that many people in woodworking, especially beginners, can use to make a variety of wood projects.
It is typically made of pine, though it can also be fir or mahogany or some other woods. It can come in handy to build things like tables, chairs, and even boxes for decoration and it’s also one of the more affordable wood options.
There are different grades of common board that describe the quality of the wood. You can easily find them in stock at your local hardware store.
Overall, common board can be an affordable lumbar option for your next project.