Timber Measurement Central Committee Meeting, Medford Oregon 18-19 October, 2006

There were 44 members in attendance from the western parts of the US. Given that the market for logs and lumber is the worst it has been since 1964, we were pleased with the turnout. Medford provided a great location for our meeting; beautiful weather for mid-October and great facilities for our meeting and a log roll-out (the creek behind the hotel was full of spawning salmon which could easily be viewed from at the back of the hotel while they jumped the fish ladder). Below is a summary of the presentations and downloadable copies of their PowerPoint presentations. To view the minutes of the meeting, click here


Tribal scaling program update - Thelma Alsup (BIA Regional Log Scaling Coordinator/Check Scaler, based in Warm Springs, Oregon)

Thelma updated us on her work at getting consistent tribal scaling guidelines and certifying scalers and check scalers. She works with various tribes in the Northwest on the above and organizes roll-outs and training. She is also responsible for check scaling tribal wood. She coordinates scaling with government agencies and the private sector. Besides policy and scaling budgeting for the tribes, she also works at making sure that the scalers are equipped with handheld data recorders and the appropriate software. Thelma represents 9 tribes. She will be looking at standard taper ratios on a tribe by tribe basis and is planning on setting up taper studies.


Log data processing system - Bill McFarling (Black Hills Log System Supervisor, Pope and Talbot, Spearfish, South Dakota)

Bill demoed their log data processing system. The system manages truck weigh-in including a sample tare weight system (whereby it randomly selects tare weights at a desired frequency) and has many safeguards to insure that weight is not accidentally or purposely manipulated. The system also error-checks and gives an audit trail. It also selects sample scale loads and quality check loads at any desired frequency. The system verbally tells the truck driver where to unload the logs based on log sort and if from an agency. The system stores all individual log data and all load data. It has an excellent load/log querying system whereby one can get almost any information quickly and simply. The system manages all log data and QC information, tabulates the log yard inventory, and calculates payments to all contractors and landowners. The system is marketed by Round2 Consulting out of Boise Idaho.


Presnetation 2

Cubic log scale: defunct or still worthwhile – Rich Ernst (Forester, USFS Forest Management Service Center in Fort Collins Colorado)

Rich stated that the US government stance, for federally owned timber, is that they are still on cubic and have no plans on deviating from that. There are a few caveats to this in that Alaska and salvage sales are allowed to continue with Scribner. Their focus is on tree measure rather than scaling, and the new focus is on weight based sales. He stated that the official position is to not go back to board foot measure and that the USFS is committed to measuring timber volume in cubic units.

presentation 3

Biomass and Stewardship sales – Blair Moody (Forester, BLM, Ashland Resource area)

Stewardship contracts allow the exchange of wood fiber for services rendered. Stewardship sales are not intended to replace the normal timber sales program. These sales still have to live up to the management standards such as NEPA, EIS, etc. The main focus is forest health and to mitigate fire hazard by removing small commercial and noncommercial trees, but can also cover noxious weeds, campground maintenance, etc. They collaborate with rural communities, businesses and other agencies. Biomass is also a strong focus, as these trees tend to be small and government policy is moving toward this direction given energy goals and demand. Much of the aims of this program come from the “Healthy Forest Initiative” and “Green Energy”. In 2005 they offered 71,000 tons of biomass (10,000 in Oregon and Washington). In 2006 there will be approximately 200,000 tons of biomass offered.  

presentation 4

Weight scale – Frank Cooper (BLM, Bend Oregon)

The BLM does not sell sawlogs via weight, however, they do use weight-sample scale, and weight for biomass sales. Frank has found that weight is being manipulated via leaving the logs on the ground on biomass sales, which are sold on weight, and thus has reservations regarding the usefulness of it (especially for sawlog sales) for selling BLM wood where the purchaser has flexibility to leave wood on the ground.  Frank presented some information which showed that wood can lose more than 30% of its weight simply by letting it dry out.

presentation 5

New method of cruising biomass – Dave Johns (Check Cruiser, USFS, R5, Quincy California)

John developed a method using orthoquads (satellite images that are digitally corrected) to estimate cubic foot volume per acre. The system is based on 3-P and a density index (which was developed by Rich Ernst). Basically one estimates biomass volume from aerial photos and the estimate is corrected by sample cruising on the ground. They have found this system to be accurate, easily applied, and lower cost method of obtaining volume.

presentation 6

Scribner log rules committee update – Frank Duran (in place of Camille Smith who was unable to attend, USFS Regional Measurements Specialist, R6, Portland Oregon)

Many of the Scribner log rules were updated via the work done by the Cubic Log Rules Committee research. Rules affecting oversize knot deductions, twist, pecky rot, pistol butt, forks, etc. These rule changes were done to give updated guidelines for any logs scaled via Scribner (salvage sales). The changes are effective immediately and will appear in the next variation of the USFS board foot handbook.

Presentation 7

Weyerhaeuser scaling profile: how they handle log measurement – Mike Hayes (Scaling Manager, Weyerhaeuser, Longview, Washington)

Mike currently supervises the scaling process at the Lonview sort-yard and has a 30+ year career in scaling and related areas. He went over the changes he has seen at Weyerhaeuser over his career, including the change to almost all mechanized logging. Weyerhaeuser uses both Scribner and cubic. Their scalers undergo an extensive scaling training program, which typically takes from 3-5 years. They ship many logs to Japanese customers and some of the ships will haul 9.7 mmbf on one ship. Their success in developing a strong customer base for their logs is based on their high expectations on log manufacturing quality, highly trained workers, and excellent feedback mechanisms to insure that everybody is aware of their performance.

Presentation 8

State of the art timber cruising, a.k.a. vertical scaling – Jon Aschenbach (Vice President of Sales, Atterbury Consultants, Portland Oregon)

Jon covered the current standard procedures and algorithms utilized in cruising. Jon demonstrated the new style reloscope, which works very well even in dark, low light stands. John covered the important areas of focus for cruisers and recommended that they spend time with scalers to learn about how they handle defect deductions.

Presentation 9

The drivers of product recovery – Matt Fonseca (Manager of Log Utilization and Lumber Quality Control, Plum Creek Timber Company, Columbia Falls, Montana)

Matt covered the variables the drive recover of particular products. He showed how recovery of lumber, plywood, and residual products (chips, sawdust, shavings, bark) will vary given the type of mill (stud, dimension, board, or hardwood), the efficiency of the mill, specie, and given the particulars of log characteristics (diameter, length, taper, etc). He also covered how the unit of measure affects or even distorts product recovery.

Presentation 10
rollout 1 rollout2
Jeff Hedlund organized a great log roll-out at the Boise Building mill in nearby White City. Many thanks to him and Boise Building for hosting the rollout. There were 54 highly defective logs and it seems that one of the intents was to give everybody a chance to utilize the new USFS Region 6 supplement for twisted grain and oversize knots. I think we all saw more twist and knot deductions in one day than we normally see in a year. To see the logs that were bucked in order to better ascertain the defect click here.

TMS Central Committee Officers and Contacts

Chairman: Jerry Youmans                 Jerry.Youmans@potlatchcorp.com

Vice chairman: Matt Fonseca             Matt.Fonseca@plumcreek.com

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

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 Updated 2007-11-07