The National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA) rules are used to grade lumber. The rules are a voluntary grading system that provides buyers and sellers a common language for the buying and selling of lumber. These rules were established in 1898 by lumbermen as a way to help standardize how lumber was sold so that all parties could benefit from an agreed-upon method of measurement, inspection and grading. The NHLA has continued to be an important voice in the hardwood industry since that time and serves as a model for other standards development organizations throughout the world.

Log volume

Logs are measured in feet and inches. This means that the smallest end of the log is called its small end, while the big side is called its butt. It’s important to note that logs are not measured by diameter but rather by length, which should be included in your calculations if you’re looking at merchantable volume (the amount of wood that can be sold) or total log volume (the total amount of usable material).

Small end diameter

The small end diameter (SED) is the diameter of the log at its smallest end, or butt end. The SED is measured from the top of the bark to the center of the small end. The SED is equal to or greater than one-half of any given log’s length.

For example, if your log is 10 feet long and has a SED of 6 inches, it would be classified as having a 6-inch small end diameter (6 inches = 1 foot).

Length

The length of your log is the distance from one end of your log to the other. It is measured when your log is lying on the ground in its natural state. The length of a board that comes from a log can be longer or shorter than this measurement, depending on how much it is trimmed and planned before being used as lumber.

Merchantable volume

It’s important to understand how merchantable volume is calculated. Merchantable volume refers to the amount of wood that can be sold, and it’s calculated by dividing the total log volume (which includes both round and knotty) by .85.

Total log volume

The formula above is a good estimate of the log’s volume. It is not perfect, however, and should be used only as a guide since it assumes that the log is round and has no knots or other asymmetries. The formula was developed by Huber in 1894 and published in 1895 in his book Die Forstliche Statistik (Forest Statistics).

The first step to calculating your logs’ total volume is to measure them lengthwise from end to end. You should do this before you cut the tops off with your chainsaw so that you know exactly how long each section of lumber will be once it’s cut into boards or planks later on down at the milling shop!

How to use the log weight calculator

The log weight calculator has many different options, so let’s go through them really quickly.

For starters, you can pick the shape of the piece: log or board. Depending on what you pick, you will be shown a diagram of the piece.

Next, you can pick the species of the wood:

  • Alder, red
  • Apple
  • Ash, green
  • Ash, Oregon
  • Ash, white
  • Aspen, quaking
  • Bald cypress
  • Basswood
  • Beech
  • Birch, paper
  • Birch, yellow
  • Butternut
  • Cedar, incense
  • Cedar, western red
  • Cherry, black
  • Chestnut
  • Chinaberry
  • Cottonwood
  • Elm, American
  • Fir, Douglas
  • Fir, noble
  • Fir, white
  • Gum, black
  • Gum, red
  • Hackberry
  • Hemlock western
  • Hickory Shagbark
  • Honey locust
  • Horse chestnut
  • Larch
  • Locust, black
  • Locust, honey
  • Magnolia ev.
  • Maple, red
  • Maple, sugar
  • Oak, black
  • Oak, Cali. black
  • Oak, English
  • Oak, red
  • Oak, scarlet
  • Pecan
  • Persimmon
  • Pine, sugar
  • Spruce, Sitka
  • Tamarack
  • Walnut, black
  • Willow

After that, you have to input the three diameters: at the smaller end, at the larger end, and at the mid-section, then the length, and the calculator will give you the volume of the log.

Now, you can calculate the weight of the entire stack, either with the quantity of wood pieces, or the size of the stack.

FAQ

How do you calculate the weight of a log?

All you need is the volume of the log and the density of the type of wood the log is made of.

What is the strongest wood?

Generally acknowledged as the hardest wood, is lignum vitae (Guaiacum sanctum and Guaiacum officinale).

How much does an oak tree weigh?

There are different types of oak trees, but generally, their density is around 62 lb/ft2.