Timber Measurement Society Meeting, Portland Oregon
7-9 April, 2010

The meeting was attended by more than 60 people from the US, Canada, Chile, Sweden, Italy, New Zealand, and Switzerland.  Next year's meeting will be held in the Seattle Washington area, tentatively on 6-8 April 2011.  Most of the presentations from the meeting can be downloaded below. Download the minutes of the business meeting, agenda and photo journal

April 7, 2010
Fast and accurate determination of the dry matter content in wood chips with dual energy x-ray

Mikael Hultnäs, PhD student, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden. Mikael provided an overview of the Department of Forest Products and presented some key findings from his PhD project, "Scaling of Pulpwood". He showed the extensive work done on testing the accuracy of the Mantex device which provides moisture content and thus dry weight in real time (less than one minute). In other words, no need to heat the chip samples in a vented oven for 24 hours.  The device can also spot contamination of non-wood material, e.g., rocks and metal. The device has proven itself to be very accurate in Sweden, both in single specie applications (spruce) and in mixed species (spruce and pine. Click here to view the presentation.
The variability of weight scaling results 

Kim Iles, Kim Iles and Associates, Nanaimo, British Columbia. Kim gave us the view on statistical sampling that you don't find in the text books.  He pointed out that we typically miscalculate the  sampling error when determining the sample size needed for sample cruising or sample scaling.  There is nothing wrong with systematic sampling, such as prior load sampling in log scaling or grids and other systematic methods of cruising. Determining the sampling error of these systematic methods, with formulas designed for random samples will overestimate the sample size needed. The 95% confidence limit
(t =2) is misleading, with a more realistic confidence limit being t = 0.7; Finally, the result of the above is that we generally over sample. Click here to view the presentation.  

Rethinking standard taper rates for butt-cut logs

Eini Lowell, USFS Pacific Northwest Experiment Station, Portland, Oregon. Eini showed the current assumptions used in the USFS Region 6 taper tables for butt-cut logs and how they compare with empirical data from other sources. Her presentation focused on long (32'-40') lodgepole pine from regions within and surrounding Eastern Washington. The results appeared to indicate that the assumptions used in the Scaling Handbook for Region 6 east-side, Scribner scaling have the potential to overstate log volumes by a significant amount. Further research is recommended and needed.  Click here to view the presentation.  

Onboard truck weigh scales as an alternative to using platform scales for weighing timber

Peter Dyson, Researcher, FPInnovations -Feric Division, Vancouver, British Columba.  Peter gave the background and results of a study that he worked on in the Vancouver Island region of British Columbia. The aim of the study was to assess the possibility of using onboard truck weight scales as a substitute for platform scales.  He showed the advantages of using such a system and the results of their study via a comparison of the net weight of the loads as measured by the onboard truck scales vs. drive-on platform weight scales. The results were very impressive, with 81% of the 280 loads (10, 644 tons or 9,654 tonnes) within + or - 1%.  The total log weights as measured by the onboard truck scales were +0.05% of what was determined via the platform scales.  Click here to view the presentation.  

Interfor’s efforts to improve efficiency in measuring logs

Bruce Moran, Scaling Supervisor, Interfor, Campbell River, British Columbia. Bruce presented the ongoing process at Interfor to gain efficiency in their log scaling processes and how these relate to efficiency in other areas of their operation. He reviewed past and current methods and efforts at improved efficiency.  A current focus is scanner based log scaling. They currently have a Microtec log scanner installed in their Acorn, B.C. sawmill and are looking toward this technology as an important focus for future gains in log scaling efficiency.  Click here to view the presentation.

Measuring biomass and other low value forest products

Frank Duran, R6 Measurements Specialist, USFS, Portland, Oregon. With the advent of bioenergy and other demands for low valued fiber taken from the forest, the US Forest Service developed a number of methods to measure these products.  These were developed with an eye to the accuracy standards, costs and the inherent variability of measuring some of these products. The issues and procedures that he covered were: "Low Value Policy" (June 2009), 3P photo, slash piles, load count and weight, sample error policy and random branch sampling.  Click here to view the presentation.

Measuring logs on the truck: keys to accurate and expedient truck scaling

Gary Baylous, Operations Manager, Pacific Rim Log Scaling Bureau, Lacy, Washington. Gary presented the key ingredients necessary for accurate load volumes when scaling on the truck.  He showed the essentials in terms of equipment, load presentation and scaling skills. Approximately 40% of the volume that Pacific Rim scales is on the truck and when done properly, truck scaling yields accurate volumes and provide some advantages over ground scaling, in terms of reduced handling & breakage.  Click here to view the presentation.

Log scaling update from New Zealand

John Ellis, Group Technical Manager, C3 Ltd.; and Managing Director of Scaling Research International, Mount Maunganui, New Zealand.  John gave us an overview of forest management and harvest in New Zealand and C3's scaling and log handling operations in New Zealand. He covered the procedures used in the 3D method of scaling in New Zealand as well as the 2D, JAS and Chinese systems.  He also briefed us on the situation with scaler employment, as well as standards used to monitor scaling performance.  

Logmeter, drive through log scanning for volume and log attributes

Mario Angel, WoodTech - North America, Portland, Oregon. Mario provided background on the WoodTech company, which is based in Chile, as well as installations, worldwide, where their products are currently being used.  He showed the comparative advantages of their scanners, which measure load volumes in real time, when a truck drives through their scanning arch.  The scanners can differentiate logs and chips from the truck and trailer and even measure attributes such as log diameter length and imperfections such as crookedness.  The scanning arch can be used to view the visible characteristics of the load (external logs), which can be used to extrapolate the hidden logs, or with the addition of back lasers, it can measure logs inside the load. Volume accuracy is very good and can be utilized to calculate a board foot volume as well.  Click here to view the presentation. View a short video on the Logmeter 4000.
Tips for using the latest technology for timber cruising

Bill CarrLaserTech, Missoula, Montana.  Bill gave practical instruction on the use of the Impulse 200, TruPulse 200/200B and 360/360B laser measuring devices for measuring heights and distance, including procedures for those difficult situations,  such as through foliage or when the tree is leaning. He also showed procedures for measuring crown cover and tree spacing. He gave pointers on the use of the Criterion RD 1000 for measuring diameters (at different points on the stem) and variable plot cruises.  Finally he presented some of the useful accessories that can be used with the impulse laser measuring devices, such as the compass module and MapStar angle encoder. Click here to view the presentation.
April 8, 2010
Timber industry economic forecast

Henry Spelter, USFS Forest Products Laboratory, Madison, Wisconsin.  Henry gave a concise overview on the current situation with credit boom, the North American and world economy, and how this situation is currently affecting the forest products industry.  He concludes that in North America, housing and construction will improve, thus increasing demand, gradually given the population increase and immigration rates projected and that by mid-decade, much of the lost demand will be back. In  addition to this, there are other factors at play such as increased offshore demand (e.g., China) , reduced log supply in some regions , such as will be the case in B.C. because of the mountain pine beetle, which all point to the potential of a strong rebound in the next 2-3 years. Click here to view the presentation.
New USFS procedures for using GPS on traverses surveys and new area determination standards

Gary Boyack, Forest Measurements Service Center, USFS, Fort Collins, Colorado. Gary reviewed the revisions being done to the Forest Service timber cruising handbook , FSH 2409.12, section 50, which covers area determination used in timber cruising.  These include the use of GPS for the walk around method and the corner method. The results of these revisions are that the new proven technology and techniques are addressed and clarity has been improved via the revision of confusing and conflicting instruction.  Click here to view the presentation.

Two Trails: a survey package for cruising

Gary also gave a presentation on a new beta surveying program for timber cruising, called Two Trails, that they developed to assist cruisers: when GPS is not available, when the canopy cover is too thick to get an accurate GPS reading, when in deep canyons or when positional dilution of position (PDOP) is bad. The system allows the mixed use of GPS and traditional traverse survey.  The program has companion versions in PC and mobile CE format. It is freeware and is available free of charge hereClick here to view the presentation on Two Trails.
Return-to-log models for procurement and planning (product volume and value recovery)

Roy Anderson, Senior Consultant, Beck Group, Portland Oregon.  Roy gave a brief description of the services that the Beck Group provides and then focused on RTL (return to log models). He described that an RTL is an extremely useful tool for a mill or seller to determine the worth of logs of a particular species, size and grade. The model can be used for calculating what a mill can pay for logs (stumpage and at the mill gate) given a desired profit and risk margin, and it can be used as a tool for modeling possible scenarios, such as different products, or different units of log volume measure, etc. He described the process used to populate the model with information that is taken from log tests and operation expenses (milling and harvest and haul). Finally he described why there is so much variation in log value as a result of diameter. 
Click here to view the presentation.
Log yard inventory measurements: lessons learned

John Calkins, Scaling Supervision, Simpson Timber Company, Shelton, Washington.  John presented the lessons that he has learned while working on improving the physical log yard inventory methods. The focus of this work was being able to accurately assess the stacked measure volume of the log decks by taking accurate heights and lengths (widths were known from the loads that went into inventory). Additionally, it was important to come up with a system that one person could do efficiently, that was straightforward to all, including auditors, and thus could be replicated and checked.  After many trials with different systems, the TruPulse 360 appears to be the perfect tool to accomplish these aims. 
 Click here to view the presentation.
Using the Laser Rangefinder for measuring log decks

Jon Aschenbach, Resource Supply LLC., Beaverton, Oregon. Picking up where John Calkins left off, Jon Aschenbach gave a presentation on the methods of using laser rangefinders, such as the TruPulse 360 for measuring log deck volume. Some of the advantages of this technology, over the old tape and measuring staff, is that it reduces the time needed to measure a deck, one person operation, can measure a wide variety of log decks, is repeatable, accurate and can be safer. Jon has developed software and techniques for using the laser rangefinder for log deck measurements and was especially excited about the capabilities of rangefinders, such as the TruPulse 360B which has a built in compass, which allows one to shoot deck dimensions in numerous places on the deck from one location. 
Click here to view the presentation.
The use of CTLs, pre-bundling and weight to volume ratios in helicopter logging

David Horrax, Forester, Columbia Helicopters Inc., Portland, Oregon.  Typically, helicopter logging is associated with areas where no mechanized equipment can access and thus logs tend to be scattered randomly, often requiring complex and varied cable hookups. Recently, however, Columbia has been hired to harvest some sales where it was possible to get cut-to-length harvesters into the sale area. This significantly increased production, as logs could be pre-bundled and more fully manufactured (no limbs, etc.). In addition the CTLs are able to calculate cubic meters of log volume, which allows the use of weight to volume ratios to determine accurate log turn weights,  thus capatalizing on potential pay load capacity.  
Click here to view the presentation. View a short video on heli-logging pre-bundled log turns. 
Is there a better way to measure timber than the board foot?

Neal Hart, Jendro & Hart LLC, Sunriver, Oregon. Neal made a compelling case for cubic log scale rather than the board foot. He presented some of the misconceptions regarding the board foot rules, such as: that board foot log is the same as board foot lumber and that there is a single factor for converting between cubic volume and board foot.
Interestingly enough he showed that two of the most common and erroneous assumptions regarding cubic to mbf conversions (4.53 m3 = 1 mbf log volume; 2.36 m3 = 1 mbf lumber volume) are still used quoted and cited. He pointed out that it is almost impossible to make any meaningful analysis of mill recovery using board foot log measure and that many costly mistakes have been made in the past as a result of the volume misrepresentation of the board foot log rules. Click here to view the presentation.
Western hardwoods overview: log measurement issues, value drivers, manufacturing

Rob Johnson, Western Hardwood Association, Camas, Washington. Rob presented an overview of the hardwood industry in the Pacific Northwest, from the log yard to the final product. There are six major species (and many more minor ones) of hardwoods processed in the Pacific Northwest: red alder (by far the most important), big leaf maple, birch, western ash, black cottonwood, and pacific albus (which is a hybrid poplar grown in plantations). He showed the typical merchandising and manufacturing process. Finally, he explained that alder is typically graded under proprietary rules and since it finds its highest worth and biggest demand in appearance applications rather than structural, the grade is rather demanding, with fall down ending up as pallet stock or chips.  
Click here to view the presentation.
Measuring carbon for commercial purposes in wood and the forest

Steve Fairweather, Mason Bruce & Girard, Portland, Oregon. Steve presented his experience in conducting forest inventories for small landowners at an accuracy standard that meets the requirements of the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX).  The rules of the CCX stipulate that the inventory estimate must have a 90% confidence interval that is no larger than + or - 10%, the inventory must work with the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) growth model,  and must be capable of verification by CCX approved auditors.  Two important pointers in meeting the CCX standards is to stratify stands and consider using large plots rather than small ones, as this will reduce variability. 
Click here to view the presentation.
The challenges and choices for woodland owners in a "cap and trade" world

Mike Gaudern Portland, Woodlands Carbon Company, Salem, Oregon. Mike gave an overview of the work that Woodland Carbon does to assist small landowners in getting into the voluntary carbon market. This is accomplished by pooling together small forest blocks held by individual landowners and assisting them with the forest management options and inventory process. In addition, mike gave us an overview of the process of getting paid to increase the carbon storage in your timber stand and pointed out three important steps in achieving this:  develop a forest management plan that increases the carbon storage of your forest, get certified (e.g., American Tree Farms), and conduct a forest inventory.  
Click here to view the presentation.
CT scanning (computer tomography): optimization technology that can measure and map defects inside of logs

 Konrad Tschurtschenthaler, Microtec, Brixen, Italy
. Konrad gave everybody an introduction to Microtec. He gave the historical background on the discovery, logic and use of the x-ray, and provided an explanation on the technical application of this technology to measure and map internal defects , such as decay, metal, pitch pockets, knots, checks, shake, sapwood, heartwood and bark. This technology (Tomolog)  will not only allow the proper measurement and net volume estimation, but will give a new form of mill optimization whereby the mill can maximize grade yield. The log is simply run through a scanner (even at high feed speeds) and the size and location of the defects are known. The potential for this technology is huge -  on all accounts. Click here to view the presentation.
Scaling profile: Hampton Affiliates

Richard Wilfong, Scaling Supervisor, Hampton Affiliates, Salem, Oregon. Rich gave us a view into their operations in the US (they also are in Canada), focusing on the five sawmills that they operate in Oregon and Washington (Willamina, Tillamook, Morton, Randle, Darrington).  He briefed us on the size of their operations, log yard and scaling ramp procedures as well as how they communicate and receive data from the two scaling bureaus (Yamhill and Pacific Rim) that take care of their scaling.  They have an excellent log information system, which is populated daily with deliveries , which can be used to estimate inventory, spot any log quality issues from the sale area and take care of any questions that they might have regarding log attributes. 
Click here to view the presentation.

Bi-directional transfer of data and support files between the hand held scale software on an Allegro MX

David Dean, Electornic Data Solutions, Jerome, Idaho. In prior versions of their log scale systems, data, programs, and support files were exchanged between the hand held scale software and the PC support software, DataLink CE, with either ActiveSync, phone modem, or direct serial connection. They now have the ability to transfer data, programs, and support files over the internet to DataLink CE using TCP/IP. David demonstrated the bi-directional transfer of data and support files between the hand held scale software on an Allegro MX at our meetings in Portland to a laptop running DataLink CE in Jerome Idaho using our office internet connection. The hand held connected to the internet using the wireless network in the motel.

Forest product conversion factors for North America and Europe: Why do sawmills in Europe average 56% recovery,
and in North America only 47%?

Matt Fonseca, UNECE/FAO Timber Section, Geneva Switzerland. Matt gave a presentation on the work that is ongoing in the UNECE Timber section in the area for forest products data harmonization which is important in understanding conversion factors. The UNECE/FAO uses conversion factors for periodic "forest sector outlook studies" as well as for checking the accuracy of data that goes into the "timber database", which has forest products production and trade statistics for North America and Europe. The Timber Section recently completed a publication on forest product conversion factors (Forest Product Conversion Factors for the UNECE Region). Country experts (most of which were members of the Task Force on Forest Products Conversion Factors)  and correspondents submitted their ratios. The results were interesting in that differences in the way volumes are determined and at what point in the manufacturing process (primarily roundwood and sawnwood) likely cause much of this difference.  In addition there is a short presentation on some of the key findings of this project, which would suggest changes need to be made to conversion factors that are used internally and printed as a general guide in other publications.
Click here to view the presentation on conversion factors and here to view the presentation on data harmonization. 
April 9, 2010
On April 9, we had a field trip to the interfor mill in Mollala Oregon. Most took a tour of the mill and participated in a comparison scale on a group of 35 logs. The logs included mix of typical Douglas fir and western hemlock logs that are used at this mill, however, there were a number of other species and large, highly defective logs thrown in to make things interesting. This included a large western red cedar that was a borderline cull or merchantable log (depending on how far the rot ran up the log) as well as a large western hemlock log with twist and frost cracks, which was considered to be cull by some and merchantable by others. The median numbers for the logs were as follows:

BC Firmwood m3

NZ 3-D m3

JAS m3


USFS ft3

Scribner Long log bf

Scribner Short log bf





























Given the small sample size and the very high percentage of defect, which was  not representative, these numbers should not be used as any kind of an indication as to conversion factors from one method to another, but they are very interesting. It should be noted that there are substantial differences in how these rules are applied. BC firmwood only accounts for void, soft-rot and char, New Zealand 3-D and JAS are not accounting for defect, while the NWLRAG cubic, USFS cubic, and the two Scribner rules deduct for virtually all defects that reduce lumber recovery, such as many firm defects, e.g., shake, cracks, crook, etc.

After the field trip, the group had a lunch at a local cafe in Molalla. The meeting was adjourned at about 2:30 PM.

TMS Central Committee Officers and Contacts

Chairman: Matt Fonseca                     Matthew.Fonseca@unece.org

Vice chairman: John Calkins              

Vice chairman: Mario Angel               Mario.Angel@woodtechms.com

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

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