Log Scaler
The log scaler is an occupation in the timber industry. The Log Scaler measures the cut trees to determine the scale (volume) and quality (grade) of the wood to be used for manufacturing
Manufacturing is the use of machines, tools and labor to produce goods for use or sale. The term may refer to a range of human activity, from handicraft to high tech, but is most commonly applied to industrial production, in which raw materials are transformed into finished goods on a large scale...

. When logs are sold, in order to determine the basis for a sale price in a standard way, the logs are "scaled" which means they are measured, identified as to species, and deductions for defects assigned to produce a net volume of merchantable wood. There are several different scales or rules that are used to determine the volume of wood. Scribner Decimal C rule is based on diagrams of circles that show the amount of boards that will be utilized from diameters of logs. Cubic rule, often called Metric in Canada, determines the cubic volume of the log material. The logs are recorded as gross scale (actual log measurements, length and diameter) and net scale (volume after deductions for defects are taken out). This occupation is usually performed by a third party organization qualified to "scale" government timber. Since internal defects are determined by external indications it is not an exact science and is subject to interpretation of log scaling rules. The log scaler is subject to random "check scales" in which another scaler rescales exactly the same logs and the results are compared. The log scaler must be within + or - 1% of the gross scale and + or - 2% of the net scale to keep their certification to scale. The scale is used for payment, quality control
Quality control
Quality control, or QC for short, is a process by which entities review the quality of all factors involved in production. This approach places an emphasis on three aspects:...

 and inventory purposes.

Historical methods

Historically in the Pacific Northwest, logs were first sold after they were delivered to the water and rafted. Consequently log scalers would walk the rafts and measure and grade the logs in the water. When logging was done by hand, the fallers and buckers were often paid on a piecework basis so the individual workmen's production was scaled daily as well. Presently few logs are ever rafted.

Ramp scaling

A log scaling method that has been popular since the adaptation of trucks to haul logs has been the 'ramp scale'. In this approach the log truck is driven beside a scale ramp which is simply an elevated platform and from there the log scaler climbs around on the truck and on the load and measures and grades the logs. Although the ramp is typically operated by the scaling bureau it may be located with a sawmill yard that is buying the logs or it may be at some other convenient location. Depending on the location the ramp may scale logs for a single mill, or the ramp may be located so that logs scaled may proceed to multiple destinations. The photo at the right shows two trucks at a typical Pacific Northwest bureau scale ramp. Ramp scaling is often used where space is limited, speed is important, or the logs are of relatively low value. Assessing the grade of a log involves inspecting the log for defects and when it is in the middle of a truck load of logs it may be difficult to see the log.

Rollout scaling

Particularly where high value logs are involved a preferred method of scaling is a 'roll out' method. In this process the logs are removed from the truck and rolled out on the ground or on skids a single layer deep. The scaler can then see a good part of every log to assist in determining what if any defects it may have such as sweep, or rot. Roll out scaling has to be done where heavy machinery is available to handle the logs, and requires the space to do the rollout, and time and expense of the extra handling. If handled correctly, rollout scaling can be more efficient (at least for the trucks) as the trucks do not have to wait to be scaled and can be unloaded and leave immediately. This contrasts with the ramp scale where the truck must wait with the load until the scaling is complete.

Standing wood scaling

Method of standing wood scaling is used for high-value logs volume measurement or for creation of allometric equations
Tree allometry
Tree allometry establishes quantitative relations between some key characteristic dimensions of trees and other properties...


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