Glossary for Sawmilling Terms A – G

Tired of having to look up terms and words as you read about the wonderful worlds of forestry and sawmilling? Below is a glossary for some of the common terms you might come across running from A to G.


All-aged forest – A place usually man-made where trees of all sizes and ages grow together.

Angiosperms – Plants that flower and produce seeds which includes hardwoods.

Annual ring – Also called the growth ring, each ring indicates a year of growth. It is how we estimate the age of a cut tree.


Band saw – A power saw that uses a long sharp continuous blade saw stretched between several wheels.

Barking drum – Using abrasion it removes the bark from the trees.

Board – The product you might use a portable chainsaw mill to generate from trees used in construction. Softwood boards are usually 2 inches wide and 1 inch thick and hardwood boards are under 2 inches thick and 2 inches or more for hardwoods.

Bole – The tree trunk.

Bolt – Squared timber cut from a tree log or a short log.

Boring – Cutting the log from the center.

Buck – Cutting a log into shorter pieces.


Cant – When the log is sawed on all sides.

Cant sawing – The action of cutting a log on all 4 sides to square the center log.

Check – A separation of the wood that goes lengthways across the growth rings, often due to mechanical stress as part of the drying process.

Chips – Small pieces of chopped wood.

Circular saw –  A round saw used to cut logs into lumber and to create other wood products.

Conifer – A tree that is cone-bearing and an evergreen.

Cord – A collection of stacked and cut wood you might have used your portable mill on, that is 8 foot long, 4 inches wide and 4 inches high.

Cross-cutting – Cutting wood across the grain.

Crown – The branches and leaves of a tree

Cull – A log or tree that is the right size to market but has no value often due to something like cavities, rot, too many branches or crookedness.


Debarker – A machine that is used to take the bark off logs.

Deciduous – A tree that loses its leaves at a certain time every year.

Dimensional Lumber – When lumber is finished to standardized measurements.

Dry kiln – A chamber that is humidity controlled and closed temperature to lower the content of moisture in the wood.


Edgewise – Using equipment like a portable chainsaw mill and putting the wood on its narrow side so it has a depth that is more than its width.

Even-aged forest – All the trees are within 20 years of each other.


Feed rate – How far the log is fed per unit of time.

Flatwise – The opposite of edgewise, so the wood is placed on its widest side so the width is more than the depth.

Flitch – Part of a sawn log that is not good for finishing due to defects.


Grade – Final products are given a grade rating and the better the grade the better the wood.

Grade sawing – A method used with a portable mill or other saws where the log gets turned up to 5 times to saw at each face.

Grade stamp – When wood is finished it is inspected and gets a grade stamp.

Grain – The direction of the log or board’s fibres.

Green – When wood has not been dried it is green. Soft lumber if it has a content of moisture more than 19% is also called green.

For more common milling and forestry terms from H to Z see our next article!

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