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U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Log Scaling

A scaler measuring a log.

Scaling is the determination of the gross and net volume of logs. The primary purpose of scaling is to determine the volume by product or species that will be charged at a predetermined rate, also known as "scaling for payment".

Conventional scaling entails measuring log diameters and lengths, and applying an approved set of rules to deduct for defects. This process is to determine the gross and net volume of a given number (generally log truck loads) of logs. Every log in every load (1-in-1, or 100%) can be scaled, or any one of a number of approved sampling methods can be used, such as scaling a portion of the loads, 3P scaling, or sample weight scaling. Another method being used more frequently is weight scaling, especially on low value material where there is a single species/product, or where all the products being weighed are close to or of the same value. Scale volume may be expressed in terms of cubic feet, board feet, cords, tons, linear feet, or number of pieces.