Small sawmill utilization of Appalachian hardwoods for ties production, mill and wood costs, and practice in relation to...


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Small sawmill utilization of Appalachian hardwoods for ties production, mill and wood costs, and practice in relation to forest management and profits
Physical Description:
Mixed Material
Garver, R. D
Cuno, J. B
Forest Products Laboratory (U.S.)
University of Wisconsin
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory ( Madison, Wis )
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 29615047
oclc - 758351030
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Full Text

U. S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service


In cooperation with the University of Wisconsin




Production, Mill and Wood Costs, and Practice in Relation to Forest
Management and Profits

Senior Foresier
Associate Wood Technologist

Published in
March, 1931

Digitized by the

Internet Archive

in 2013



17.c .;T :.: .:J _-::T .':D PROFITS


R. D. C-AR'R, S nior Fortr,

J. B. C7,7' Asjociate Seed Technolog'ist!

_., annual increment f'rom. about oie-fifth the saw timber growing
area of the Unit d Stat s is required to b-alance the drain on forestA, for
cross ties, switch tiee; and bridge timbers. On this basis the tic industry,
including bcth the, consuirinj an(.d producing e.ids, is c-s 4di- of a fjr;t
area eqval in size to the :._ t acreage of ',hr statc s of vt Jersey,
Iew Hammleire) M-ainc, '.aryl.ind, Rhode Island, plus one-half of Arkcnsas. It
uses about one-ninth as much wood as is con'uzned as liubr. ii.portance
of the tie industry on forest practice is further emphasized by the fact
that sound loass which produce only comrn-.on lumber are practically as ood for
tics as logs which produce hilnh ,rade lumber. Thus,; the tie industry
provides a profitable outlet for low -rade material which if sawed into
lumber, would be difficult to dispose of at a price above its production
cost and thereby re-ioves soie of the economic obstacles encontcre'd in
practicing forestry.

Ties and ti.nbers are hcldin their markets against substitutes
as well as or perhaps better than any other wood product of the forest.
Present indicasticns ar that they wvill continu- to do so. A tie operation
is a two-edged knimY, howver, so far as forestry is concerncd.E, Tie
production can be made to favor good silviculture and close utilization,
or, on the other land, young trees cmn be slaughtered and the land skinned
closer in tie operations than in most ajy other way* oftentimes because
ties are produced from 101o q atlity timber, operatoi'v 'iv little heed to

-T:i authors -wish to mae 0 C'no.-led ..j t to AKo Miller, As.ociate ini'neer,
and A. C. Vaolling Lnr.oer Inspcctor, ':ho, in addition tc helping in the
field work, rcnd;red val-a!ble assitance in ana'lysis of the dati; Iso
to members of National o.Fore.' -To. 7 -"nd the Appalachian P rt' t
Experiment Station, who assisted in planning '.nd carrrin;- ouit tlhe 'icld
vo rk.

For example, ie 'rco often h wed, whichh resut:s in the o;,u o
about 8 board feet of lumiber fcr each tie prod.ced. 0r., evwn if s'17d e the
lumfber in the slabs is not always used. It is just ,s important to pr,-ctice
good silvicalt-iure nd close utilisation on tie operations -,s on lumber
operations. Tie ojper.rtions are carried on in such a way as to be ea..ily
adaptable to selective cutting, either as to the trees to be cut or th1' ar's
to be logged. If a com)TOnnr is p[)ropely or.,nized, it is profitable to utilize
the side lumber. Cre in tie minuf'cture a bearing on utili:,ation .nd
profits Jast the sa. as in lumber manufacture.

Mo.'t of the hardwood timberland in the Appalachirns has been cut
over to a greater or less degr et Fire has un through the remaining stnds
from time to time, with th, r's:ult tlit th- tres are for the most part poorly
formed and defective. These poor trees should be r a portable i-mill cutting ties -nd timber seems to be one of the best ways of
doins it. If unrestricted cuttin.a is practiced, th- future production of the,
stand will be wrecked for a long. tim*. On the other :hand;, if_ selective
cutting is oracticod, enough hroltly yo ung tre.e s ca.- ordinarily be 1,ft to
form the nucleus for a future. crop.

The specific purupcoe of this investigation was to {et inform-tion
at small sawmills tLat cut ties and timbers as the principal products on
production costs, overrun, erce 4ta g of defect, _eerce:aItoea of the different
grades of ties, timber and lumber from trees of different sizes and specie,:;
and mill and woods practice in relation to fret m.anag-, .nt end tic
operations in the Appalalchian region vith pa'rticular refer-ncce to hardwoods.

This report contains the results of a logging and millin-
investigation carried on by the Forest Service a ong' the small savwmill
operations o- the Shenandoah nationall Forest, located.d in Virginia and Jest
Virginia, which were cutting principall1y ties and timbers with lumber ',s a
secondary product.

The study w*.s carried o-t onr. the Sh':na.doah NThtional 7orost o0 t
Trout .un a.nc1 Thor:-. Bottom drainages, which are a part of the Lost !iiver
Working Circle. The areai comprised aboit -, acres of rough mountain lnd
that supported a light stndl o mied hrdw .d and in. e stiatd eat
20, 00 1) board fect. For the most part the coil wars rocky and containoed
very little organic matter. Fire haJ rn: over the area from time to ti.e
prior to the creation of the ,.tional forest. Ma ny of t>e trek-s were fire-
scarred and badly decayed, but there were eno-agh health yoLung trees which,
if released from com:-otition, wold 1mao -oof.growt ad. proTt c vide the nucleus
for another crop The stand ave raged about l<3 "1 bo',rdl fc tper acre and
was made up of -(5 recentt .i:. e, L oamc, ) percent chest ut, 1' p rc pine
and 2 percent other h'ord''oods, such ickr, sh and black -mi. Small
mills ,ere the only ,r .ticn.ble mea,-ns, of cutting the tract bcuse of the
light stand and low qualityy timuber.


The tiu ber sale nren on ;]ich thi: s`, udy w',s conducted wasu ad
by the Fo,'est Service to a subsidiary of a larg< compcrny. In addition to
taking out the timber, the company Iso contracted to han,'dle about i,
tons of chestnut oak bark on th' area. -i. sale contract catllcd for the
cutting of not less than ?'0 percent of all mercantable timber 12 inches
arnd :larger in diameter breast high, oxceot in dead timber -'nd chestnut -uere
everythin .-orith taing ws rmovd. A r was considered merchafitable
if it contained o0ne or more logss 'im had a neot scale epual to one-fourth of
its gross scale volume. Any log, which was at least F foet lon- ,,nd inches
in dia:-.eter aat the small end and .jhich after deductions for visible
indication,, of defect scaled on-third f the gross scl, as onird
merchaita~ble. Slash w',s lopped nd sc:ttrId.,
Sfollowin: information a[plies directly to Imall, circu-a!r
pplicsod Oiesl fo ,111) onthihrcnda
sav..ill operations and to A lchi hard;oods as fould on th Shienn"doah
iaticn'l forest, Vira ni. and "'est Vir inia:

1. ,ie a nd timb r o r' tions p-ovidc one, of the me:as i f
removing und.esirable sp ,ces, poor specii..ens of d 'iraile species and of
o),ze poor o'L -,n "o-f".
sa~laging po)r quality stands of ha'd-./ood, in the Appalachians so that
another tiber cr)op can bc bouan with h lth -nd sirl groi tk.

2. The averag- .e cost o" producing ties, tL:-.bers "nd' lw-uber fro.,
five species of the oi s vrind yrom $14.16 er thousand board feet, mill
tally, for black a;, -o "15o4 for chestnut oa-'ko

The avera-e v-lue of te tie:, timbers and l.iLa)er varied from
p23.44 per thousand board feet, mill tally, for scarlet o,0)' to o.3 perD
thous:and boardC feet for white ok.

4. The average difference betwe .. *nro',:ction cos-t, not including
stmrnp--e, interest or a mrYin for profitt and risk', and the value of t n
ties, timbers and lum.ber was ..(6 pter thousand board feet, mill tally,
for chestirnt oax, &,jl for' scarlet oa:, $K.4) for black oak,, S0.34 for
red oak and. for 1hite oak.

T- overran, including rr cted tie:, averaged 3o.4 p rent
for the five oaks combined. _. cv rrun v : te:tr'eel high in because they woere cut mostly into tics, onl- a. .sill percent,-gje going into
lumber. 0 u rthe1rm.rer, .e s.all lo ; partic-ularly the crookcud ones, xzwere
often cut into pole tis.

o. Defect, which included crook, rot and ny d(ft'c th't
reduced the grcss vol-mn, forP tha los broughIt to th, mill, w'a. as a olow;.;:
Chustnut oa,- 16.1 percent; whit, odak, 12. percent; red oak, Ii.3 prct;
sca'rlkt oak, 11.1 percent, and bi'c- oak, 6. percent.

7. Th. preta s cf ties wre r'- .,j cted by main lin
railroads, principally be us of rot: Chestnut oak, 17 percent; white oa ,
5 percent; black oa, 20 percent; red oa-m, 16 percent, and scarlet o
23 percent.

8. On a net log scale basis, the cost of producing ti:,, tib- ,rs
and lumber from red oak trees 11 inches in diametcr was 1.5, times more than
that for red oak trees 2L5 inches in diameter. ihen reduced to a raill telly
basis the cost w.vas practically the same for the two diameters due, to th
effect of the extremely high overrun in the small logs.

5. A larger percentage of the small trees than of th, lar trees
was cut into ties. For ex--mpl on the avrg, 3 percent of the r -
trees 12 inches in diameter a':s cit into ties and 7 percent into le,
while 73 percent of the red or.k trees 24 inches in diamet er was cut into
lumber a.nd 27 percent into ties and timbers.

I. G(-ood silvic Iture demands w eding many AppIl'chian st' ne:.
On te national for st ti. -iber sale are', where thLis st" was a .de about'
80 oerc2nt of the of all trees 12 inches in aiam. ,r and lareJr was
cut. One h-undred and seven thrifty trees per acre, v,-rying in size from 4
to 21 inches in diameter, then remained on the ground.

1!o Ii.h+ s-erccn of thm trees cut w,,re i1 :rchntablc ,o'.t of
these wore c cstau oa 1 followedd by hite otao, black ea,, scc -ie t oa and
lastly red oam.

12. fhite oak and chestnut oak growing in competition with other
species seem. to maintain a sustained irowvth rate better than rod oak, scarlet
oak or black oak.

13. I. average yield per acre from tops a.nnd limbs lo2t on the
cutting area was ?bout be 15 cords of fairly straight material from 4 to 14
inches in diameter and from 4 to 8 feet in length.

14. On the ave ae, '1 percent of the oans cut were long-butt ,d"
because of rot.

15. :rush disposal costs on the study area, varied from 89 cents
per thousand board feet, not log scale, for cnestnut oa,; to $1.28 for black
oak. This variation is due principally to the.i fact that brush disposal costs
more per thousand board feet for small trees than ;or large ones.

16. Milling costs for small oper'-tions cutting ties, timbers and
l-umber show less spread between smal l ind large logs than is true in : mLbL
mill op !rations cutting only lumber.

17. The output of the mill selected as representing an average in
efficiency was 8,940 board feet, mill tally, pexr L -hour day. Delay tim
amounted to 27.6 percent.




3 1262 08929 1966