Timber Measurement Society Meeting, Tacoma Washington
6-8 April, 2011

The meeting was attended by more than 75 people from the US, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, and Switzerland.  Next year's meeting will be held in the Coeur d'Alene, Idaho area, tentatively on 11-13 April 2012.  Most of the presentations from the meeting can be downloaded below. Download the minutes of the business meeting, agenda and photo journal

April 6, 2011
Working with Weight Scale: Basic Information and Tenets of the Ton(ne)

Matt FonsecaUNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section, Geveva Switzerland. Matt gave an overview of the drivers of weight to volume ratios based on his experience in working with weight in western North America and in the southeast of the US. He also provided some information on some of the different add-ons and controls used in conjunction with weight to minimize risk when weight as used as the transaction unit.  Click here to view the presentation.

Transacting Logs by Weight: A Western US Overview

Neal Hart,
 Jendro & Hart LLC, Sunriver, Oregon. Neal provided some background on why the use of weight and cubic is increasing in the Western US. He also provided some comparisons of weight and volumes in cubic and Scribner, noting that the relationship between weight and cubic volume is quite predictable and linear, while the relationship between weight and Scribner volume is erratic and not very predictable, especially given the high percentage of small diameter logs that is now common in the region. In addition, Neal provided some information on relationship with value and some of the pitfalls when using conversion factors for weight to Scribner volume.  Click here to view the presentation.  

Selling Logs By Weight

Pete Van SickleIdaho Department of Lands, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Pete gave an overview of the Idaho Department of Lands timber program as well as their regional scaling load. They have been gathering weight to volume ratios for some time and now feel comfortable selling volume on a weight basis. He presented some of the results of weight to volume analysis that they pointed to their aim of increasing the number of weight based sales to 80% of their program, and increasing the component of bigger wood to be included in their weight sale offers. He did state that large timber (>24" dbh) will continue to be physically measured.  Click here to view the presentation.  

Buying Logs on Weight

Bill McFarlingNeiman Timber Company, Spearfish, South Dakota. Bill provided a view at their three sawmill locations and presented comprehensively, the methods and processes that Neiman uses for their log purchase and inventory systems which are entirely based on weight and weight converted volumes. He also covered some of the challenges that they have had to find solutions for, as well as the difficult situation that the beetle killed ponderosa pine is creating. Click here to view the presentation.  

Global and Regional Forest Products Economic Trends

Delton Alderman, Researcher, USFS Research Station, Princeton, West Virginia.  Delton presented the current economic climate for forest products globally and provided the, all important to North American wood manufacturers, situation with housing in North America and the world. Many questions remain as to how the sluggish economy in the US, coupled with a huge supply of unsold houses will affect the industry. He mentioned that one bright spot was demand from Asia, which is increasing in China, and at least in the short-term will likely increase in Japan. Click here to view the presentation.

Measurement and Quality Guidelines for Pole Logs

Tom McKenzieBell Pole, Conway, Washington. Tom covered the technical requirements of logs used to make poles and provided easy to follow examples of defects that are allowed and those that are not allowed. In addition he proved data on converting between BC Firmwood scaled logs in m3 vs. Scribner long log in both standard (1 in 10) and actual taper.  Click here to view the presentation.

The Ultimate Timber Cruise Prescription

Jon Aschenbach, Resource Supply LLC, Beaverton Oregon. Jon presented a cruising process and procedures that works well when the stakes are high, e.g., high volume and high valued stands. He outlined some of the procedural differences, such as using GPS and other technology to improve accuracy and using good logic in grid layout, and also advocated what might be interpreted as "old school" approaches toward minimizing the risk of cruising high valued stands.  Click here to view the presentation.
Simple Sample Log Scaling: Results of a Study Done on Vancouver Island

Peter Dyson, Researcher, FPInnovations-Forest Operations, Vancouver, British Columba.  Peter gave the background and results of a study that he worked on in the Vancouver Island region of British Columbia. In many parts of BC, log transport is done via water transport, with temporary landings used to handle, scale and place logs into rafts. As a result of the remote and temporary location, it is often not feasible to install certified weight scales. The aim of the study was to assess the accuracy of sample scaling without the benefit of log weights to extrapolate load volume to the non-sampled population, but rather use truck load average to extrapolate. The results were very interesting.  Click here to view the presentation.  

Log Freshness: an Overview of Log Shelf-life Related Quality Issues, their Timing and Prevention

Don GsellWeyerhaeuser, Vancouver, Washington.  Don provided a background on the pathogens and wood properties issues that affect log grade, and thus sales realization, in the Pacific Northwest region. He provided some good practices to minimize preventable degrade as well as shared information on just how much value can be lost when one does not follow best practices.  Click here to view the presentation.
Voice Recognition: Application for Hands-free Log Scaling, Chain Talley and End Talley

Barry Hodgkin, President, Simply Computing International, Maineville, Ohio.  Barry demonstrated the use of voice data collection for log scaling. The system uses voice command technology to record log scaling information and generates scale data and reports in real-time via software/hardware systems that they put together for their clients. Advantages include: fewer errors (no more key-punching), the use of both hands, the scaler can keep his eyes on the logs rather than needing to view a hand-held screen, and for those working in very cold conditions - the ability to cover hands in heavy gloves or mittens. The system also records data quickly and works even where there is substantial background noise. This system is also used for lumber grading and tallying, and a timber cruising application is currently under development.   Click here to learn more about this system and the products and services offered.

Eastern Perspectives - the US Northeast Timber Trade: Rules, Misrules, Conversions, and the 12,000 mile Journey from New England to the Far East

Hal WilkinsVan Mohl & Ohnemus GmbH, Westminster Station, Vermont. Hal presented his experiences and view on the Northeastern US log market in terms of trade flows. He mentioned that the region has been a significant log exporting region for some time now. Despite years of experience, converting between units of measure has been an ongoing frustration for Hal and his colleagues in the log trade business. Hal presented the traditional units of measure of the Northeast and some of the obstacles that he has faced by buying and selling based on different log scaling methods.  Click here to
view the presentation.
Measuring Stock-pile Volumes: How to Accurately Assess Volumes of Chips, Residue and Biomass

Jason MartinAtterbury Consultants, Beaverton, Oregon.  Jason presented a simple, accurate and fast way of assessing stockpile volumes using MapSmart and a pulse laser positioning system. The survey and assessment can be done with one person and conducted on days when aerial assessment would not be possible. The cost of the equipment is reasonable and the processing time to input data into MapSmart to calculate volume is minimal (hours) when compared to other methods. In addition, the system is safe (does not require the surveyor to climb piles or position themselves in the path of heavy equipment.  
Click here  to view the presentation.
April 7, 2011
New Method of Cubic Scaling in New Zealand to Replace the JAS Method and Work on the New Version of New Zealand's Log Scaling Manual

John Ellis, Group Technical Manager, C3 Ltd.; and Managing Director of Scaling Research International, Mount Maunganui, New Zealand.  John has been working on a new method of scaling logs in New Zealand that replaces the Japanese Agricultural Standard (JAS) that has been traditionally used for export logs. While it is often accepted to purchase logs using the unit of measure from the point of origin of the logs, the 3-D method, which is traditionally used to ascertain actual volumes in New Zealand, is not as practical as JAS for use in export as it requires a large-end diameter (complicated as export logs are normally scaled on the truck). The 2-D method (derived from the 3-D formula) has shown to assess volumes accurately and does not have the inherent inaccuracies of the JAS method, thus reconciling standing inventory does not require complicated conversion factors.  The switch to 2-D will also be more compatible with other international and automated methods of assessing diameter and volume. There is still some work to be done on assessing conversion to Guo Biao (GB) method used in China and publishing a refereed paper on the method.

John also covered the work that is currently underway to update the New Zealand Procedures for the Measurement of Roundwood, which was last revised in 1994. The new manual relies heavily on visual examples to convey procedures rather than text and covers:  measurement procedures and checks, how to measure diameters, length measurement, methods of estimating wood within log, measurement of log quality, check scaling, conversion between systems, and formulae and tables. The section on conversion between systems will have data on converting between: weight to volume, JAS to cubic, Scribner to cubic, Huber to cubic, Brereton to cubic and hopefully Guo Biao. John will keep us abreast of the release and availability of both the paper on 2-D and the revised scaling standards publication.  


Bark Volume: Assessing Bark as a Fuel for Biomass Energy

Roy Anderson, Senior Consultant, Beck Group, Portland Oregon.  Roy gave a brief description of the services that the Beck Group provides, such as planning, consulting and benchmarking for the forest products industry and then focused on the current work that he has done on assessing bark availability for biomass energy. Recently, with the sudden increase in interest for carbon neutral energy; biomass, or in this case residue bark from mills, has suddenly become a valued commodity whereas before it had minimal value. As a result, there is a demand for data on bark yield in order to conduct feasibility studies on possible biomass plants. Roy shared some of the information that they were able to determine and find, as well as their approach to analysis.
Click here to view the presentation.

Terrestrial LIDAR for Forest Measurement and Monitoring

Glen Murphy, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon.  Glen presented an inventory system that he has been testing, which is based on terrestrial light detecting and ranging (LIDAR) which can take accurate measurements. The scanner is mounted on a tripod and scans 360 degrees (hemispherically), measures millions of points per second and can scan out in a 30 meter radius. The result is an accurate set of measurements; not only for establishing size and volume, but also other grade related criteria, such us crook and sweep, taper, knot size and number.
Click here to view the presentation.

Aerial LIDAR for Forest Inventory

Steve Reutebuch, USDA Forest Service, PNW Research Station, Cooperative for Forest-Systems Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.  Steve introduced the various types of LIDAR (terrestrial, satellite, aerial), but focused on aerial LIDAR, with it's application for measuring forest canopy as the main focus. He gave an example of satellite being used at a high level, with sub-sampling done via aerial LIDAR and ground plots to fill in the blanks. LIDAR can make fairly accurate height measurements, however, it has limitations in accuracy and because it cannot determine species, among other things. 
 Click here to view the presentation.
Sampling- the Black Hole in Fibre Measurement and Quality Management Processes

Murray Hall, Murray Hall Consulting Ltd., Duncan, British Columbia. Murray gave a presentation based on his experience in reviewing procedures for sampling wood fibre to determine bone-dry weight. In the scope of the entire assessment of raw materials delivered, this aspect has far more potential than any other for error and bias. Murray outlined what best practices are, based on his experience and research, and gave some examples of what would appear to be small errors that lead to huge mis-payments. 
Click here to view the presentation.

Status of the National Biomass Estimator Library

Troy D. HeitheckerUSFS Forest Management Service Center, Fort Collins, CO.  Troy covered the past present and future work that is being done in developing tools for assessing biomass, which includes methodology (biomass equations, weight volume ratios, dry weight equivalents, etc.), and software tools (which are all available absolutely free). 
To view the presentation Click here, and here to go to the Biomass Estimator Library. 

Setting the Confidence Interval around the Total Inventory Estimate for a Stand-based Inventory

Steve Fairweather
Mason, Bruce & Girard, Portland, Oregon. Steve presented the use of simulation to determine a confidence interval on stands that have had inventory assessed via different methods, which precludes the use of traditional formulas. In addition, one can use simulation to answer many questions about inventory procedures and make-up.  Click here to view the presentation.

Log Yard Inventory Measurements: 2011 Update

John Calkins, Simpson Lumber Company, Shelton, Washington. John gave an update on what he has learned while working on improving the physical log yard inventory methods and outlined the technology that he has utilized. The TruPulse 360 forms the backbone of John's system, but additionally, John has been working with others in developing systems and software to make log yard inventory, simple, fast, accurate and repeatable.  
Click here to view the presentation.

Lodgepole Pine Epidemic: Utilization and  Scaling

Ernie Bauer, Executive Director, Idaho Board of Scaling Practices, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Ernie provided background on the mountain pine beetle epidemic and the challenges faced in determining how best to utilize dead lodgepole pine (LPP), given the time since the tree was girdled by the beetle. Additionally, Ernie covered the various approaches used for scaling LPP, including west and east-side Scribner, BC Firmwood, and USFS Cubic.
Click here to view the presentation.

Update on Logmeter, Drive-through Log Scanning

Mario Angel, WoodTech - North America, Portland, Oregon. Mario provided background on the WoodTech company, which is based in Chile, as well as installations in the US and worldwide.  He showed the comparative advantages of their scanners, which measure load volumes in real time, when a truck drives through their scanning arch.  The scanners can differentiate logs and chips from the truck and trailer and even measure attributes such as log diameter length and imperfections such as crookedness. They are currently working on using cameras on the ends of the loads, which will increase scanner sensitivity further.  Click here to view the presentation. View a short video on the Logmeter 4000.

Eastern Washington Standard Taper Issues

 Russ CarrierBoise Cascade, Kettle Falls, Washington.
Russ discussed the situation in Northeast Washington whereby they are part of USFS Region 6 and thus share the Region 6 standard taper rules for butt-cut logs, however, their "sourcing area" is shared by mills from Idaho (Region 1), with very different standard taper rules, thus generally lower volumes. Russ went on to cover the various different scenarios of point of origin vs. point of scaling regulations as well as the often conflicting agency regulations in this area of region 6.  Click here to view the presentation.

April 8, 2011
On April 9, we had a field trip to the Simpson mill in Tacoma. Most took a tour of the mill and participated in a comparison scale on seven group of logs. The logs included mix of typical Douglas fir and western hemlock logs that are used at this mill, however, there were a few other species as well. The volumes for the loads, using various scaling methods (average of group), were as follows:

  Log dimensions NWLRAG long log* Log dimensions BC Scribner board foot (revised) NWLRAG (bureau) cubic foot USFS cubic foot BC cubic metre JAS
Load Ln'  d1" d2" Ln m d1 rads d2 rads long log gross bf long log net bf short log gross bf short log net bf gross ft3 firm ft3  net ft3  gross ft3   net ft3   firm m3   firm m3 
1 31.7 8.3 11.9 10.0 11.5 15.9     3,840     3,237     5,340     4,760   1,000      985      893       970     892     28.75  
2 40.0 11.2 14.4 12.5 15.0 19.2     4,070     4,060     5,090     5,060      908      908      905       873     869     25.99  
3 38.9 9.8 13.6 12.2 13.2 17.8     3,613     3,477     4,680     4,390      894      894      862       839     789     25.10  
4 20.8 12.1 14.6 6.7 16.2 19.5     1,483     1,380     1,750     1,660      311      311      287       274     260       9.03       8.67
5 39.4 10.5 14.3 12.4 14.1 19.0     3,483     2,637     4,510     3,370      850      850      604       820     601     24.30     24.42
6 35.7 9.2 12.5 11.2 12.4 16.4     3,723     3,620     4,650     4,490      925      925      900       883     858     25.71     27.34
7 39.7 14.0 18.7 12.4 18.7 24.7        883        717     1,150     1,000      195      195      164       202     135       5.62       5.97
Total 35.1 9.8 13.3 11.0 13.3 17.6   21,097   19,127   27,170   24,730   5,083   5,068   4,615    4,861  4,403   144.51  
                            Note: *Average log diameters for short log Scribner and USFS cubic will be theoritcally 0.5" larger as a result of truncating each diameter for long log Scribner.

The following is a brief summary of the some of the key findings when analyzing the log data gathered:

1. For all practical purposes, the NWLRAG cubic scale provided exactly the same volume as B.C. Firmwood when divided by the 35.315 constant for ft3 to m3.
2. USFS Cubic gross volume was generally 95% of BC and NWLRAG cubic, with half the difference from diameter rounding rules and the other half from unmeasured trim allowance. The net volume ratio was 1 m3 BC = 0.863 m3 of USFS cubic (using the 35.315 constant) for this group of logs.
3. Japanese Agricultural Standard scale (JAS) was about 2.7% higher than BC or NWLRAG for the 66 m3 that was compared.
4. One can closely approximate diameters measured in BC rads to inches in diameters measured by the Sribner methods  by  dividing the rads by 1.33 for long log Scribner and 1.28 for short log Scribner.
5. BC m3 to MBF: long log gross = 6.85, net = 7.56; short log gross = 5.32, net = 5.84
6 Long log (west-side) to short log (east-side) Scribner = .777 gross, .773 net.

Thanks to all who participated in scaling the logs. This is very useful information.

After the field trip, the meeting was adjourned at about 2:30 PM.

TMS Central Committee Officers and Contacts

Chairman: Matt Fonseca                     Matthew.Fonseca@unece.org

Vice chairman: John Calkins              

Vice chairman: Mario Angel               Mario.Angel@woodtechms.com

Secretary-Treasurer: Thelma Alsup    4alsups@centurytel.net

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 Updated 2008-11-16