Buying Logs Board Feet Per Ton

Ballpark numbers for estimating how many board feet you can saw from a ton of logs. July 3, 2008

Most of the prices I get for buying logs are by the ton. How do I calculate how many board feet to expect per ton? Right now I am looking at red cedar, but soon will need to know for red oak and poplar also. Thanks for any help.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor S:
It depends on what species you are buying and what you are sawing the logs into. Less dense woods like pine or poplar of course will be less tons board feet than hickory or white oak.

If you are sawing 7x9 railroad ties or all 2x8's you'll get more footage than sawing the best grade 4/4 and edging and trimming to upgrade the lumber. Scragg mill operators have told me mixed hardwood small logs take about 6-7 tons for a thousand board foot. As the log size (diameter) goes up your percentage of waste (slabs) goes down. Also if you are buying by the ton, crooked logs will yield less.

From contributor A:
I buy ERC by the ton and average 200 board feet per ton most of the time. I scale by the cedar scale and you have to be right on or you will come up short. I buy oak and pine by the ton and average 250 to 300 board feet per ton. Industry standard is about 4 tons per 1mbdft.

From the original questioner:
That is close to what I was figuring. I tried to find a chart or calculator online, but I guess there is no such thing. I stabbed at it with the calculators here at WOODWEB, by figuring log weight on enough logs to equal 1 ton, then putting those same logs into the log volume calculator. The answer came out close to what Contributor A said.