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Grading - Silva Select No.2 Clear & Better Western Red Cedar

Species:                                  Western Red Cedar
Grade:                                     No.2 Clear
Grading body:                        Pacific Lumber Inspection Bureau (PLIB)
Reference:                              Paragraph 401-a


The purpose of this document is to provide a detailed, factual and accurate description of the material along with the officially published grade description where applicable.

It goes without saying that reading this description is no substitute for seeing the actual material.  We are always happy to send out hand samples, but they have very limited use in determining the overall quality - it is impossible to cram every feature and characteristic that you might encounter in a delivery of timber on a single 6” sample.  For this reason we encourage you to visit our premises and take a closer at the product before you buy. 


What is a timber grade?

The grading of timber can be defined as the sorting of wood sawn from a log into different qualities relating to classifications for appearance, end use or strength. The practice is essential to maintain consistency and to ensure reliability from order to order.

A timber grade is simply a minimum standard describing the extent and limitations of the characteristics permitted in a piece of timber depending on its end use.

Grading is explained in further detail in our document – ‘The Grading of Timber’

Silva Select ‘No. 2 Clear and Better’ Grade

This particular product is produced from a sawn Western Red Cedar clear grade known as No. 2 Clear and Better’.  It is one of two grades - the other being ‘No. 4 Clear’- of sawn clear Western Red Cedar which are classified in accordance with the R-List Export Grading Rule Book published by the Pacific Lumber Export Bureau. 

The actual grading rules as they appear in the aforementioned publication are set out below, however you will find probably find our own description to be more useful and a more accurate representation of our actual product.  This is because the grading rules describe the minimum standards for the grade.

Silva’s Select Kiln Dried No. 2 Clear & Better is produced by one of North America’s most respected producers of Western Red Cedar.  It is pre-graded at the sawmill then sawn to size and graded again.  It is then kiln dried under strict controls, then graded once again.  The result of this three-step process is the highest standard No. 2 Clear & Better product available.

Silva Select No. 2 Clear & Better far exceeds the grading rules set out in the Export R-List Grading & Dressing Rules book.  Usually with this grade you should expect some trimming and wastage; however with this product you will find very little. 

It is ideal for cladding installers and manufacturers looking for a consistent high end product with the minimal amount of wastage.

We have repeatedly been told by industrial users that this product is the best they have seen on the UK market. 


Although the grade permits three knots per 200 x 3660mm board (or equivalent) the vast majority of the boards you will receive are entirely free of knots.  Sound tight knots of up to 13mm on the face and 19mm on the reverse are permitted on boards of up to 76mm thick.

We examined a pack of 19 x 137mm Tongue & Groove cladding containing 98 boards at  4.88mm lengths which is featured in our video and found only 12 knots spread over 10 boards to the face, all under 10 in size.  The grade actually permits 3 x 13mm knots on the face or 3 x 19mm knots on the reverse of a 200 x 3660mm sawn board.


Splits of approximately the width of the board are permitted within the grading rules.  In the pack we examined we found 7 pieces with splits.  You may encounter the odd small split on the edge or end, which can either be trimmed out or glued. 


The grading rules permit a minimum of 6 annual growth rings per 25mm, however Silva Select No. 2 Clear & Better is manufactured from fine grained coastal grown Western Red Cedar.  The pack we examined contained a high percentage of vertical grain boards.

Damaged boards

In this pack we found 1 damaged board that our pickers would typically remove before sending out and 4 more with minor damage that would either not be visible when installed (dings on tongues) or easily trimmed off the ends.


Colour Variation

As with any natural wood product you should expect colour variation both between boards and within individual boards.


This particular pack was randomly selected and we know it to be representative of Silva Select No. 2 Clear & Better.  The quality of raw material that we receive from our supplier is consistent from one shipment to the next, so we are confident that the material you receive will be of a quality similar to the material described above and shown in the video.  That said, please bear in mind that the next pack we could have chosen may have had more imperfections or it may have had fewer imperfections.

You are likely to generate a very small amount of wastage when using this product, but by planning your cuts prior to installing this will be minimal.

In summary Silva Select No. 2 Clear & Better is a high quality product that displays minimal minor imperfections but in general it far exceeds industry standard and is suitable for all types of residential and commercial buildings. 


  • FSC
  • PEFC
  • Trada member
  • Responsible purchaser
  • Cedar Shake & Shingle Bureau
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