In the buying and
selling of logs there must be someone to determine exactly what
is changing hands. This is the job of a log scaler. This exchange
generally takes place between a landowner and the sawmill.
As a log scaler, I determine the specie, board footage, the amount of defect (that material that doesn't fall into any merchantable grade of lumber)and the different grades of lumber that will be produced by any
given log. To achieve these ends I physically measure the log
using measuring tapes and a specially programmed, hand-held
computer to determine its gross board footage. I then use the
experience gained from my years as a career log scaler (I started
scaling logs in 1973) to judge how serious any defect I have
encountered will be and to make the appropriate deductions for
it. I then apply an industry wide set of scaling and grading
rules to give the net volume of the log its appropriate grade.
I work as a master log scaler and
grader for the Northern California Log Scaling and Grading Bureau
based in Arcata, CA. My experience is solely in western woods.
There are several other scaling bureaus similar to the one I work
for along the west coast in Oregon and Washington. The Northern
California Bureau provides its services throughout greater
California. In times past the job of scaling logs was handled
mostly by the lumber mills themselves. This led to widespread
abuse by these companies who were paying the timber owners,
loggers and truckers on the scale which had been determined by
log scalers who were in their company's employ. The temptation to
make improper adjustments in the scale was strong. To help remedy
this corruption of the industry third-party, non-profit
organizations that owned neither sawmills nor timber were formed
to act as impartial agencies to determine the correct scale of
these increasingly valuable logs. These scaling bureaus are held
responsible by individual boards of directors that represent
loggers and timber and sawmill owners alike.
This system has
been working very well for many years now and I am proud to be a
part of it. As in all industries, the greed and avarice of some
is tempered by the dedication and professionalism of others.
These are perilous times for the timber industry and we are
undergoing some rapid changes, so please do keep in mind...
...for all of those of you who are not already bored to tears by all of this I might suggest clicking HERE to read what I consider a remarkable article on log scalers and the log scaling philosophy by R. W. McIntyre!
...or try clicking HERE for a listing of some interesting log scaling links (including my own "Day In the Life of a Scaler").
please whisk me back to: DR. GIL'S HOME PAGE!