Wood weight and highway transport

How to accurately estimate the weight of a truckload of air-dried lumber to assure compliance with trucking regulations. Includes access info for resources. August 1, 2000

I recently milled about 1,500 board feet (BF) of red oak, white oak and walnut. Rather than air drying which is currently being done, I'd now like to have it kiln dried.

The nearest kiln to the Cincinnati, Ohio area that I can find, is in St. Leon, Indiana. In order to deliver this I need to pass the interstate scales on I-74. I'm trying to find the weight of this wood to determine how to transport it (on a budget).

Fifteen hundred BF on a net scale will weigh between 7,500 and 8,500 pounds, depending upon species mix, moisture content (MC), etc. I would recommend a good, heavy-duty, tandem-axle trailer behind a 3/4-ton or 1-ton pickup. Four tons is a pretty stout load, but you shouldn't have to hire a commercial hauler if you take your time and be careful.

According to "Log Rules and Other Useful Information" published by the Northeastern Loggers Association:

Green red oak lumber weighs 5,250 lbs. per 1,000 BF.
Green white oak lumber weighs 5,200 lbs. per 1,000 BF.
Green black walnut lumber weighs 4,840 lbs. MBF.

Let's assume that the 1,500 BF was measured in the green state (before any drying); that the actual thickness of the lumber was 1-1/8 inches; and the actual length was 12 feet, 2 inches. Also, assume we are dealing with northern red oak, at 75 percent MC, white oak (65 percent), and black walnut (90 percent), and that the woods are average in weight for their species.

Based on these assumptions, the weight of red oak is 5,821 pounds, white oak is 5,879 pounds, and walnut is 5,753 (all per 1,000 BF).

Gene Wengert, forum moderator

I have seen several articles on wood weights, but have never found a bookshelf reference on weights by the thousand BF, whether in the log or rough cut. I've looked all over the Web and haven't found a reference either. I would like to have such a reference when a customer asks about weights.

You might start with the Service Forester's Handbook, published by the U.S. Forest Service. Mine came out of Southeastern area, Atlanta, GA. Try the Service's Forest Product's Laboratory in Madison, WI. Phone number: (608) 231-9200.

The Northeastern Loggers' Assn. has a popular 28-page booklet that has what your looking for. It costs $3.50. Call 800-318-7561 (credit card orders) or for snail mail, send to Books, P.O. Box 69, Old Forge, NY 13420 and ask for their booklet "Log Rules & Other Useful Information."

I have a four page article that tells you how to calculate the weight for all US species. Includes the effects of changing MC (many reports do not do this!), extra thickness (most articles assume 1.000 inches thick), overlength (that extra 2 inches can add up), width (especially important for softwoods) and species. Also, if you grade at one MC, but want the weight at another, it can be done.

Drop a note, $1, and SASE to
Gene Wengert
Wood Doctor's Rx, LLC
2872 Charleston Drive
Madison, WI 53711

Ask for Forestry Facts No. 69.