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Career Profile: Log Graders and Scalers

Grade logs or estimate the marketable content or value of logs or pulpwood in sorting yards, millpond, log deck, or similar locations. Inspect logs for defects or measure logs to determine volume.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 4,500 people employed as log graders and scalers in the United States. The median annual salary is $37,820. Entry level employees earn approximately $28,830 per year and senior employees earn approximately $59,240 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Drive to sawmills, wharfs, or skids to inspect logs or pulpwood.
  • Saw felled trees into lengths.
  • Tend conveyor chains that move logs to and from scaling stations.
  • Evaluate log characteristics and determine grades, using established criteria.
  • Record data about individual trees or load volumes into tally books or hand-held collection terminals.
  • Measure felled logs or loads of pulpwood to calculate volume, weight, dimensions, and marketable value, using measuring devices and conversion tables.
  • Paint identification marks of specified colors on logs to identify grades or species, using spray cans, or call out grades to log markers.
  • Jab logs with metal ends of scale sticks, and inspect logs to ascertain characteristics or defects such as water damage, splits, knots, broken ends, rotten areas, twists, and curves.
  • Identify logs of substandard or special grade so that they can be returned to shippers, regraded, recut, or transferred for other processing.
  • Arrange for hauling of logs to appropriate mill sites.
  • Weigh log trucks before and after unloading, and record load weights and supplier identities.
  • Measure log lengths and mark boles for bucking into logs, according to specifications.
  • Communicate with coworkers by using signals to direct log movement.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
4,500
Annual Openings:
700
Increase in Openings by 2031:
4%
Annual Salary Range:
$28,830 - $59,240
Education Requirements:
High school diploma