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Glossary for Sawmilling Terms H – Z

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If you have had enough of wondering what certain terms mean when looking up information on sawmilling or even forestry, we have you covered. Here is a glossary for some of those words for letters H through to Z.


Hardwood – A word used for mostly broadleaf trees that are very often deciduous which includes elms, oaks, ashes and maples.

Head rig – When a log goes through a machine to be tuned into flitches and cants that is a head rig.

Heartwood – The core inside a tree is the heartwood.

Husk – The circular saw mill head saw framework is a husk.


Kerf – When a cut is made by a saw into a piece of wood that is the kerf.

Knot – Where a branch melds into the body of the tree is a knot.


Live Sawing –  This is a method of cutting. You cut halfway down a log on the sawmill then flip it 180 degrees and saw more until the log is done. It is also known as through and through or slab sawing.

Loader – The equipment used to move lumber and logs onto a transportation vehicle.

Log – Lengths of a tree cut into pieces of 8 feet or more.

Lumber – When the wood has been processed it is referred to as lumber.


MC (Moisture content) – How much water in the wood is called moisture content. A living tree has a moisture content of more than 75%.


Planer – The smooth surface on wood is created by a machine called a planer.

Porosity – How many pores hardwood has is referred to as its porosity.

Pulpwood – When wood is cut with the intention of it becoming wood pulp to be used as fiberboard, paper and such it is referred to as pulpwood.

Pruning – When trees, dead or alive, need to have some branches and such removed it is called pruning. It produces better quality wood that is knot-free.


Quarter sawing – A sawing method that creates quarter-sawn lumber.


Rip-cut – When a cut is made following the same direction as the wood grain it is called a rip-cut.


Sapling – Trees that are small, usually below 30 feet.

Sapwood – In a growing tree, the sapwood is the outer part that stores nutrients and carries water.

Saw guide – When a band saw or circular saw needs steadying this is a saw guide.

Sawline – The mark where you can see the wood has been cut is the sawline.

Saw mill – May refer to the machine used to do the cutting of logs, or to the facilities where you can bring wood to be cut or buy it.

Seasoning – This is the process of drying out lumber or wood whether naturally or artificially.

Slash – After you have logged, pruned and performed any other forestry operations the items left on the ground like bark, branches and such are called slash.

Stand – A group of trees that are in the same area and are similar in age and condition are called a forest stand. A pure stand has 80% of the trees of the same species, and a mixed stand describes the rest.


Timbers – Logs and cants that are used to build with.

Top saw – On a head rig the upper part of the two circular saws.

Treated wood – When wood has been preserved chemically.


Veneer – These are thin wood sheets often used in plywood and for making furniture.


Windfall – When a tree has been broken or uprooted by the wind it is referred to as windfall. It can still be put through a sawmill and used.

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