RED ALDER LUMBER (Alnus Rubra) ALDER SAWMILL PRODUCTION In the 21 st century 1

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  • RED ALDER LUMBER(Alnus Rubra)

    ALDER SAWMILL PRODUCTION In the 21st century*

  • RESOURCERed Alder log costs are up over 300% versus mid 1980.Avg log diameters to the mill are down approximately 15%.Limitations on harvest due to regulation, environmental issues and conifer market fluctuations make it difficult for the mills to forecast needed supplies.

  • GOOD STEWARDSHIPDue to resource limitations, the mills have recognized the importance of being good stewards of the fiber.

    Regular intervention and information from the mill resource managers have educated the logging community and have established BEST PRACTICES.

    RESULT - increased fiber recovery for the mills and economic value to the vendor.

  • GOOD STEWARDSHIPMechanical harvesters and de-limbers have been modified to control fiber damage and protect the high value lumber in the outer jacket of the Red Alder log.Bucking lengths have been established to give both the vendor and the mill higher recoveries and economic return.





  • SAWMILLINGMerchandising line:

    Chopsaw/BuckingDe-barkerSorting lineWhole log chipper/Hog

  • RECOVERYExtracting the most fiber out of the log resource.

    Log management and rotation:

    Quick rotations from the forest through the mill are key to capturing the highest log to lumber recoveries and values.

  • RECOVERYExtracting the most fiber out of the log resource.

    Saw log versus Pulp log:

    Due to increased log costs, diminished chip markets and supply shortages, todays mills are striving to recover valuable lumber from what was only considered for chips.

  • SAWMILLINGHeadsaw:CarriageRound Saw/Bandmill

    Resaw/Gang/Scrag Mill

  • RECOVERYExtracting the most fiber out of the log resource.

    Thin kerf saws and saw technology:

    Advances is saw technologies and filing equipment have made possible higher log to lumber recoveries throughout the sawmill process. Thin kerf band mills and round saws are a necessity for the fiber recovery effort.

  • SAWMILLINGExtracting the most fiber out of the log resource.

    Technology and Optimization:Log to lumber recovery, grade yield recovery and overall production have increased by as much as 18% due to mills adding scanning technology and optimization.

  • RECOVERYExtracting the most fiber out of the log resource.

    Knife Planing versus Sanding:

    Arguments go both ways on this issue. Red Alder sawmills throughout the northwest use both methods. Target sizes in the green lumber can be shaved 50 thousandths by sanding the rough dry product versus knife planing. Sanding also promotes less tear-out around the knots, but maintenance and operating costs are much higher than a Knife Planer.

  • RECOVERYExtracting the most fiber out of the log resource.


    All of the technological advances, process control and product development mean nothing to recovery efforts if equipment is not well maintained. Poor maintenance practices have huge impacts on recoveries and have extreme measurable results to the mills bottom line.

  • SAWMILLINGExtracting the most fiber out of the log resource.

    Through education, commitment, and technological advancement, todays sawmills have necessary tools available to increase log to lumber recoveries and extract the highest value out of the available resource.

  • CONSISTENCYConsistency throughout the manufacturing process is key to the mills productivity and maintaining a favorable position in the marketplace.

    The result of consistent or inconsistent manufacturing has a direct effect on the mills market demand, perceived quality and overall value of its production.


    Commitment by mill management, employee education and dedication to consistent manufacturing processes establish the Product Attitude of the mills production.

    The Product Attitude is maintained during the sawmill manufacturing process by consistent log breakdown technique and process controls. This assures the continuity of the product character, with all previous volumes.

  • QUALITY Red Alder In The Marketplace:

    The range of quality from mill production to mill production in Red Alder lumber is not a mystery.

    There is a direct correlation to each sawmills resources, capabilities, education and commitment.

  • QUALITYKiln Drying:

    Measurable value loss due to de-grade during the kiln drying process can be eliminated through monitoring a few key production elements.

    Green Lumber Sizes.Stacking, Sticker Sizes and Sticker Placement.Proper Green Yard Bunking.Good Kiln Loading.

  • QUALITYWhen rough dry lumber moves to the finish side of the Red Alder mill (Planer/Sander), the product attitude and quality have already been established.

    In the finish side of the mill, little can be done to disguise any quality issues or man made defect.

    The manufacturing process and procedures maintained throughout the sawmill operation hold the truth to the lumber quality.

  • QUALITYFirst impressions count in the marketplace:

    Clear grade marks and on the best face.

    Good unitization is perceived as good quality.

    Crisp stenciling centered on the side of the units and neat banding application.

  • PRODUCTIONWhether the mill is a small manufacturer producing 6mbf per hour or a large manufacturer producing 18mbf per hour, the correlation is the same Production Pays The Bills - the higher the productionthe lower the manufacturing costs to the mill. All aspects of sawmilling (Safety-Quality-Production) are equally important, but all have to be managed in order for a mill to be successful.

  • PRODUCTIONIn recent years, the vision of the Red Alder sawmill has changed. Due to the influence of government regulation, supply issues and product demand, the industry has evolved.

  • PRODUCTIONThe Red Alder sawmill of the past had quarterly lumber pricing and 40% of the production went into green pallet grade lumber sold to pallet manufacturers. Recovery was adequate at about 120-130%, but not of much concern.

  • PRODUCTIONTodays Red Alder sawmill has taken more of a commodity stance in lumber pricing.

    Mills have added value by reducing the green pallet grade production to around 20%. The same fiber that made pallet grade lumber has been diverted into higher value, kiln dried Rustic Grade products. Recovery is key to success and an average of 150-160% is not uncommon.

  • GRADINGThrough the efforts of the NHLA & WHA the grade rules for Red Alder will be modified in the NHLA rules book to list generic descriptions of the grades developed under proprietary grade rules.

    The NHLA rules will help establish a comfort zone for Red Alder buyers in the main grades. However, it will not cover the ever changing niche grade development Red Alder has always seemed to strive for.