Virtual Tour of the Forest: Forest Products

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The forest products industry ranks first in manufacturing jobs and second in salaries and wages in Virginia. Timber market values rank second behind poultry and eggs when compared to all of Virginia agricultural crops.

Many different products are made from the wood, which is harvested in Virginia.

When timber is harvested there are usually large straight logs, which can be made into lumber for framing houses, and small or crooked logs, which can be used for pallets, flooring, paper, and other products.

Some small crooked logs are chipped into pieces and then glued back together to make various products including chipboard, which is used under floors, roofs, and sides when houses are built. Some chemicals in wood are used to make plastics and even used in food products.

When logs are brought to a sawmill they are sorted by size and species of trees, then stacked in the log yard. Then when they are needed the bark is removed and they proceed through the head saw.

The head saw cuts the log lengthwise into long rectangular pieces called "cants". The "slabs" which  are sawn off the edge of the logs are chipped and sold to paper mills to make paper. The bark is sold for mulch to put around shrubbery.







The log which has been cut into a long rectangular piece  called a "cant" will be resawn into boards using a gang saw. The boards move down a conveyor and are sorted by species, grade, width and length.

The boards are seasoned or dried so they will stay straight and not warp. The boards will be sold to retail lumber stores, furniture plants, and other places where the wood will be manufactured into a variety of products.