Getting the Most Value From a Hardwood Log

One of the most valuable assets to a sawmill is a skilled and experienced sawyer that knows how to get the most value out of each hardwood log that comes their way. While sawing may seem pretty straightforward, it takes quite a bit of practice and skill for a sawyer to know just the right way to get the most out of each and every log to maximize the efficiency and production of the sawmill.

Every hardwood log is a little bit different than the last, and of course, that means no two logs are sawn the same way. As hardwood logs are sawn into grade lumber (Prime, FAS, 1 Common, 2 Common, 3 Common) and industrial lumber (Ties, cants, timber mats, etc.) they will eventually make their way into the furniture, millwork, flooring, and various other industries. Therefore, the ability of a sawyer to analyze each log and maximize value is crucial for the sawmills success. DSC0850

When looking at a hardwood log, after the slabs are removed from the sides, the highest quality boards can typically be found on the outside of the log with lower quality boards found closer to the center which usually include more knots from branches as the tree grew over time.

Once the log is squared up by the sawyer, they prepare to maximize the amount of clear, wide boards to a specific thickness. It take a keen eye to read the log and make the right cutting decisions with speed and accuracy time after time. Depending on the market value, sawyers need to look at the log after each individual pass and make a calculation on how to maximize the potential with each cut.

As technology advances, sawyers make use of log scanning machines to add an additional layer of insight into the potential quality of a log to increase yield. However, the expertise of the sawyer is ultimately what drives the sawmills success.

Thankfully, we have an excellent team of sawyers here at Baillie and we believe that they offer us a competitive advantage in the hardwood industry.

Have any other thoughts on the importance of a sawyer’s role? Let us know, we would love to hear them!

Brett Del Prince
Baillie Lumber
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