It’s no secret that tree cutting strategies play a big role in the log’s ultimate value. But unless you spend your days in the woods around loggers, you may not know some of the strategies we use to cut trees to their highest value. Here are a few examples:
This first image shows blocks that were cut from the end of the tree. By cutting these blocks, this particular log lost volume, however, its grade was improved. With that grade jump, the overall value of the log increased. Should the log have been cut shorter to begin with? It may have been miss cut because of the flair or bulge on the bottom left side of the butted piece. But by removing those blocks, even though volume was decreased, the grade improved, and consequently, its value.
This second image is what we like to call a “cookie” cut. In this particular example, the log had sufficient length that allowed us to make a cut and improve the grade but not lose volume. It was a win-win from two directions: First, the defects on the end of both logs would have down-graded them to a grade 1 sawlog. But by making these cuts, both logs were upgraded to veneer logs and consequently, their value increased.
Doing these cut backs is not always a guaranteed win. Sometimes defects get worse. As is the case in this final picture, where the cut back shows the defect getting more severe as additional cuts were made.
By understanding what the market is looking for and the characteristics of trees, logical risks can be taken to improve the value of individual logs in order to get the best value from a forest.