About half the volume of sawlogs ends up as sawn and planed timber. The rest is lost due to drying shrinkage or is turned into by products. As the raw material is a major expense for a sawmill, it is important to reduce waste.
To investigate how much the volume yield in the production of sawn and planed timber could be increased by reducing the target dimensions in the sawing stage in a sawmill, two groups of sawn timber were planed under similar conditions. One group consisted of sawn Scots pine timber with a large variation in twist. The other group consisted of sawn Norway spruce timber planed under different pressure settings. Using X-ray images, the minimum dimension for avoiding planer misses was calculated for each board, to find the smallest green target dimension. This was compared to actual measured dimensions.
It was found that most sawn timber had unnecessarily large dimensions, and it was also found that a reduction in the target dimensions could increase the volume yield for sawn and planed timber by more than 3 percentage points. Boards with large twist would however need a higher planing allowance. The effect of the planer pressure setting was negligible.