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UMaine Hosts Grading Workshop for Students

The University of Maine’s School of Forestry hosted a 2-day grading workshop on May 19 and 20, with 20 students and School faculty in attendance. NELMA’s Director of Inspection Services, Matt Pomeroy, and Senior Lumber Inspector, Don Pendergast presented grading information on both Dimension and Eastern White Pine grades in a condensed format. The course included classroom presentations atPhoto3 Nutting Hall coupled with hands-on instructions provided at the University Forest, using the School’s portable sawmill as an integral part of the program to show students how grades develop from tree to log to lumber.

Using samples of 2-inch thick Spruce-Pine-Fir lumber, they learned the basics of evaluating the major characteristics important to grading structural lumber such as measuring knots for cross section displacement, shakes, splits, and slope of grain. The grades of Select Structural, No.1, and No.2 were the focus for instructional purposes. And for Eastern White Pine, students learned the basics of evaluating characteristics in 1-inch boards, such as knot type and quality, pitch & pitch pockets, stain, skip and wane that determine the grades of Select, Finish, Premium, Standard, and Industrial.

In addition, the group heard from Russell Edgar, Sr. Lab. Operations Manager at UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center, who provided an update and insight into their Photo1current project of developing strength properties for Norway Spruce lumber. Students were also introduced to the NELMA Grader Academy that included examples of instructional videos embedded within the academy.

“We were impressed by the students’ high-level of engagement and their targeted questions during each segment of the course”, stated Matt Pomeroy. “They certainly came away with a greater appreciation of the knowledge and attention to detail necessary to accurately grade lumber.”

NELMA would like to thank Douglas Gardner, Professor of Forest Operations, Bioproducts, & Bioenergy at the UMaine, for requesting and coordinating this type of on-site, introduction to lumber grading program for students. We look forward to working with the University to make this an annual 2-day event!


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