Understanding the Sawmilling Term "Cant"

To a sawmill operator, what is a "cant"? Experts explain. September 17, 2008

What is a cant?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor A:
A cant, to me, is a completely edged (maybe all four sides sometimes) piece of wood cut by the mill, or something close to this. To me if I was cutting 2x6's out of a log 32" in diameter I would cut 3 or 4, 1 5/8 boards or flitches, then I would drop the head down 5 1/2", to make a cant to re-saw later. Does this sound right?

From contributor B:
A cant is a piece of wood usually over 2" thick and sawn on at least three sides. Most pallet shops want cants to re-saw into pallet parts because they have more options on what sizes they can cut from them.

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
A cant is a partially sawn log with at least one flat side. That is, you can have a one-sided cant (sawn on one side only and the other three sides still round), a two sided cant (sawn on two sides, usually opposite sides), three sided, and four sided. As can be seen from the earlier postings, the definition is not clear in everyone's mind, so it is best to specify what you mean by using a modifier in front of the word "cant."

From contributor S:
From my thinking a cant is sometimes cut and then removed or put onto another machine. From this point of view a cant would have four flat sides. However I also had a buddy who worked in a plywood mill, and there cants were perfectly round.

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
In a veneer operation or veneer mill, a partially processed log is more often called a flitch, rather than a cant. (Technically, a plywood mill uses dry veneer and adhesive to make sheets of plywood, so they would not be using a log).

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Note that you can put a two sided cant into a bull edger. You can put a one, two or three sided cant into a re-saw, depending on the saw's configuration. Therefore, as a partially processed piece of wood, a cant does not need to have four sides sawn before it is moved into another machine. (It is also possible to sawn on cant on the headrig, so it does not even have to be moved to another machine).

From contributor R:
To contributor S: Those are called peeler cores, not cants.

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
The full name is a "cant hook" or a "Peavey."