Lumber from Local Woodlots

Publication Number: NRAES-27
Cost: $10.00
Length: 42 pages
ISBN: 0-935817-09-3

This publication was awarded a blue ribbon in the 1988 ASAE Educational Aids Competition.

This guide provides background knowledge of the woodlot-to-lumber process. Topics covered include wood species, wood properties, sources of professional assistance and training, proper woodlot management, contracting with loggers and sawyers, good harvesting practices, sawing methods, and lumber drying and storage. This guide is meant to encourage the use of local woodlot resources for construction. (1988)

Local woodlots may be inexpensive sources of high-grade lumber for home and farm construction projects. Lumber from Local Woodlots, NRAES-27, a publication from the Northeast Regional Agricultural Engineering Service, walks readers through the woodlot-to-lumber process. Four chapters offer background knowledge for evaluating woodlot resources and planning harvesting, sawing, and seasonal operations. The manual is intended not to replace the need for professional foresters' advice about woodlot management but to educate woodlot owners about the practices, language, and liabilities involved.

The first step in the woodlot-to-lumber process is understanding the woodlot resources. The book describes more than forty tree species native to the eastern U.S. and examines differing characteristics between hardwoods and softwoods. Several properties of woods are explained and summarized in a concise, easy-to-read table. Many factors in woodlot management are discussed, including the necessity of working with a professional forester.

Harvesting timber is the next step in the woodlot-to-lumber process. Woodlot owners must understand logging language, legal considerations of contracting for services, and good harvesting practices. The liabilities of hiring loggers and working on the land are great and must be addressed by landowners. Conservation practices are described so that owners can protect their woodlots from erosion.

The third step following harvesting is sawing logs into lumber. The terminology and considerations of hiring good saw operators are important for owners who desire the most value from their woodlots. Custom sawing, different kinds of saws, and differences in sawing methods for hardwood and softwood trees are discussed to help beginners make informed choices.

The final step before woodlot owners can begin planned projects is seasoning, or drying, the lumber. The book explains shrinkage and the possible defects involved in the drying process. Air-drying, the process by which wood is seasoned before use, is explained step-by-step and followed by a discussion about storing lumber.

Lumber from Local Woodlots, NRAES-27, provides an overview for woodlot owners or those planning to buy lumber from local mills. Woodlot owners may keep the lumber produced for their own use or, possibly, trade it for other materials. Appendixes in the book list use requirements for several structural building members and provide addresses to write for project ideas and plans. A comprehensive glossary defines more than 150 terms associated with the woodlot-to-lumber process.

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