A profile of Pennsylvania's hardwood sawmill industry

Journal Article (Review;Journal)

A mail survey of all identified hardwood sawmills in Pennsylvania was conducted in the fall of 2000 to better understand firm size, species used, origin of logs, processing technology employed, the hardwood lumber grades produced, and the value-added features performed by these sawmills in 1999. An adjusted response rate of 31 percent was obtained for the study's 161 usable surveys. Pennsylvania's sawmills produced approximately 1.3 billion board feet of hardwood lumber in 1999. Responding sawmills producing over 3 million board feet (MMBF) per year (1/3 of the firms) accounted for 80 percent of total production. Red and white oak comprised 40 percent of the log volume purchased by responding sawmills in 1999 followed by yellow-poplar (13%), cherry (13%), soft maple (9%), hard maple (7%), and ash (5%). Thirty-eight percent of responding sawmills employed foresters. The vast majority (80%) of hardwood logs were purchased from non-industrial private forest land, followed by state forests (10%), industrial private forests (9%), federal forests (1%), and municipal lands (1%). Circle headrigs were used by 75 percent of responding sawmills; however, two-thirds of very large firms (10 MMBF and greater) used band headrigs. Whereas only 35 percent of all Pennsylvania hardwood sawmills used a computer-aided headrig, nearly all (94%) of the largest sawmills sampled used computer-aided headrigs in 1999. Approximately 19 percent of the hardwood lumber produced by our study respondents in 1999 was First and Seconds (FAS) & Select (SEL) grade followed by No. 1 Common (24%), No. 2 Common (17%), No. 3A and 3B Common (8%), pallet grade (23%), tie grade (6%), and other (3%). The 16 largest sawmills (10 MMBF+) produced a significantly higher percent of FAS & SEL (30%) lumber grade in 1999 as compared to the study's smaller sawmills. NHLA grading was the most common value-added process performed by responding sawmills (47%) in 1999 followed by kiln-drying (30%), surfacing (30%), custom sorting (26%), end-coating (25%), and custom grading (21%).

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Smith, PM; Dasmohapatra, S; Luppold, WG

Published Date

  • May 1, 2004

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 54 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 43 - 49

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0015-7473

Citation Source

  • Scopus