The sawing volume of specialty wood is very low compared to the production of industrial sawmills. Instead of quantity, quality is characteristic of this sector. Carpentry industry is the main user of specialty wood. Quality wood is also used more and more in building, mainly for interior decoration details.
A carpenter’s viewpoint on his raw material
- Felling time The main rule is winter felling. Alders can make an exception, because their colour intensifies when felled in the summer.
- Sturdiness A sturdy log provides more sawn-timber free of knots. In addition, the proportion of heartwood in a sturdy log is large, which is an important feature, especially for those tree species whose heartwood is dark.
- Annual rings The annual rings of deciduous trees should be broad but even. The annual rings of coniferous trees, on the other hand, are narrow and even.
- Defects Large branches, reaction wood, large cracks, curviness, large amount of branches and rot, or warping are not acceptable. Minor crookedness is not a hindrance if the log is sawn properly. Small amount of rot in the heartwood is also acceptable in a sturdy log.
- Determining the cutting points and cutting into sections The linear measures preferred by industry sawmills can be forgotten. A carpenter seldom uses very long pieces of wood. However, for example floor and boat wood make an exception to this rule. To ease transportation it can be practical to bring the wood as long pieces to the sawmill where the final cutting is done. The main rule is to buck the log into short lengths. This improves both the quality and the quantity of the sawn timber, because the defective parts of the trunk are removed. One large defect is a branch which grows in line with the trunk and which starts lower in the pith than it appears on the surface of the trunk. Bark pockets, which contain bark of a branch, also appear very deep in the trunk. However, defective parts are not always waste wood. Various crooks and branches are, for example, valuable for boat carvers. Sturdy, crooked and branchy oaks that are unqualified for actual sawn timber may indeed be dream wood for boat carvers. Cutting trunks like these is a real specimen of skill.
- Correct sawing A good log can be ruined with wrong kind of sawing. However, even log of lower quality can provide quality wood in the hands of a skillful sawyer.
- Correct drying As wood dries it cracks radially from the pith and a notable portion of the sawn timber may go to waste. Brushing the ends of the planks with glue or oil paint can prevent this. The most effective way is to brush the ends of the logs before sawing. After sawing the wood is gathered into a timber storage pile, where it becomes air-dry. With good air-drying the humidity of wood decreases to 15 percent. The wood preferred by carpenters usually has a humidity of about 5-7 percent, which requires oven drying or a long period in warm interiors.