Selecting the right wood can save time, money and deliver better results. If you’re building a visible project, like a book shelf, you should use “clear” or “select” grade boards – those with fewer knotholes or other defects. “Common” grade wood has more defects and a rougher surface but is ideal for framing or fences. When you’re buying lumber, hold one end of a board up to your eye and look down the edge to make sure it’s completely straight and doesn’t bow or arch. If your project calls for plywood you probably know that it comes in four by eight foot sheets…or that the thickness varies from one quarter inch to three quarters of an inch….but it also comes in grades of finish ranging from A through D…as you might expect A is the best.