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Author Topic: What is the difference in a #1 and #2 grade log (Hardwood)  (Read 3202 times)

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Offline just_sawing

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What is the difference in a #1 and #2 grade log (Hardwood)
« on: September 14, 2009, 04:26:54 AM »
The log yards have closed here and I am buying locally from individuals. I have just bought some cherry that is 8 foot long 15"dia  This log had a significant knot mid way. I graded it as #2 due to a cat eye on the other side and the knot in the middle. There is all the difference in the world between 1 and 2 in price. I don't want to cheat any one but in this economic times I have to be strict.
I don't have pistures but what are your rules for #1
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: What is the difference in a #1 and #2 grade log (Hardwood)
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2009, 05:46:16 AM »
Usually, each mill has their own grading system.  Its something they developed which gives them the best profit and treats the logger fairly.

The USFS has developed a grading system.  It seems to work for some people, but it isn't widely accepted.  They have also run a bunch of yield tests on many different species.  I find that grade yield will vary from different areas, so a grade yield should also be used by a mill using the system.  Here's an overview of their system:

I have seen sawlogs graded as prime, select, choice, #1, #2, #3, pallet, and tie.  It all has to do with length, size, defect and location of the defect.  Most #1 logs have a minimum diameter.  They may vary by species, with the more valuable species having a smaller diameter.   

Defect placement is often more important than size.  Large knots will drop a log grade.  They won't even make tie logs, since they don't make good ties.  Defect that is at the end of the log can be trimmed back.  Defect in the middle of the face would have to be small in order to pull good grade.  Quite often one or two small defects can be positioned to come off in an edging strip.

Things like double heart, sweep, seams and splits have to be considered in grade.  Too much sweep will always drop the grade of the log, no matter how nice.  It will also reduce volume.

Usually the large mills in your area will steer the prices and the grade of logs.  If you can get their grade sheet, that should help you in how they are grading logs.  Right now, grade is pretty stiff at the lumber end, so that should filter back to the log end. 

Sawyers make good log graders and buyers.  They usually know what the inside of a log looks like better than most. 
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Offline Kelvin

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Re: What is the difference in a #1 and #2 grade log (Hardwood)
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2009, 09:43:47 PM »
I've seen it printed somewhere what yield in terms of selects and No. 1 etc boards that a certain grade log will yield.  I think No. 1 sawlog is 75% selects?  Something like this.  Once you've sawn enough you can visualize if you can corner the knots and how many clear faces you have left.  If you can imagine what the lumber will look like based on the surface defects and the logs location in the tree, for instance a 2nd or 3rd log up a tree will be much knottier than the butt log even if they look veneer clean.  You only see veneer buyers taking the butt to a certain length based on size and condition.
Good luck,

Offline solidwoods

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Re: What is the difference in a #1 and #2 grade log (Hardwood)
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2009, 02:03:48 PM »
The doc that Ron recommended is a good place to start.
I used that info and made my own log scale/grade sheets from it.
I broke it down to tree species, since a #1 log must be 10' long on the sheet, I reduced cherry and walnut to 8' for #1 etc.  That's just a matter of what log grades I put a higher value on .
And I grade pine, many just buy by the weight.
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Offline DRB

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Re: What is the difference in a #1 and #2 grade log (Hardwood)
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2009, 09:48:34 PM »
I think grading a log with a big knot on one side and a limb scar on the other as a #2 is correct.  If I was buying it that is what I would grade it.  A knot in the middle of the board is a much bigger deal then one at the end. IMHO to grade as a #1 sawlog it should have no knots or scars on at least 3 sides and be straight.  Any crook lowers the grade. A #1 should have no double hearts and the heart has to be centered in the log.

Offline Frickman

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Re: What is the difference in a #1 and #2 grade log (Hardwood)
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2009, 09:34:48 PM »
I have minimum diameters and lengths for different species in the different grades. The higher the grade, the larger in diameter and/or longer in length it must be. After that my Prime and Choice grades, of which there are several, are four clear sides. These are veneer logs and very high grade sawlogs. A number 1 is minimum three clear sides, number 2 is miminum two clear sides, and a number 3 is minimum one clear side. Below that are number 4 and blocking / utilty logs with zero clear sides. The size and placement of defects do not matter to me unless they go through the log and affect another side or reduce the volume of the cant, i.e. a large hollow knot.

Not all number 1 logs are three clear sides. A 10" cherry with four clear sides doesn't make a Prime because of the diameter, but it will make a number 1. The same thing goes for the other grades.

Excessive sweep, crook or bend will drop a log a grade. Or two. Sometimes I may ignore one small defect if it can be placed on a corner and edged out. Hollow may not affect grade, but it will sure affect volume. Gum may affect cherry and mineral may affect oak. A split will affect grade and volume, but the log may still yield some nice lumber. Small hearts help maple and tulip poplar, big hearts help oak and cherry.

That's all there is to it for me, minimum size, clear sides, sweep and crook, and color to a certain extent. I still end up with about six or seven grades in each species which cover about everything I buy and sell. Most logs I can scale and grade in less than a minute. I'll spend some extra time on the real high dollar logs, but the normal run of the woods sawlogs are pretty quick and easy.

Like Ron said, if you saw enough logs you soon can tell what they will yield.
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