log scaling

logger gil logger gil

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.

log deck

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...

wood is good

...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").

Now, please whisk me back to: DR. GIL'S HOME PAGE!