Impact of Ellipticality on Lumber Grade and Volume Recovery For Red Oak Logs


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Virginia Tech


Hardwood sawmills must become more efficient to remain competitive. One way to increase efficiency and competitiveness is to increase the value or lumber volume produced from logs. While methods to maximize value and volume recovery exist for round logs, little information exists on how to maximize these outcomes for logs with ellipticality.

The goal of this research was to determine the impact of low and high degrees of ellipticality on green lumber grade and volume recovery for red oak logs under current sawing methods. Logs of low and high ellipticality were selected and processed at four Appalachian area sawmills. Processing variables and lumber output were tracked for all logs.

It was determined that there was no significant difference in overrun, lumber volume, lumber value, and lumber grade between low and high ellipticality logs when comparing the log output at all four sawmills. It was determined that how an individual sawmill processes logs affects the outcome between logs with high and low ellipticality. None of the sawmills produced more value for high elliptical logs than for low elliptical logs and it was possible to produce more lumber volume and value with low elliptical logs.

Highly elliptical logs required more processing time than low ellipticality logs in terms of log turns, total elapsed time at the headrig, and number of sawlines at the headrig. The increased processing time results in increased processing costs which were estimated to be $1.28 to $11.33 per log. These costs were not offset by an increase in lumber volume nor lumber value; therefore, highly elliptical sawlogs are less desirable to process than low elliptical logs using current sawing methods.



Red Oak Lumber Volume Production, Log Ellipticality, Lumber Value, Lumber Grade