Monday, February 14, 2011

Cant touch this... not or is it knot?

So the puzzler was to determine what circumference pine tree would be required to obtain a 12" square Cant? As with all technology I told my students that they should get credit for taking a foreign language. I mean after all if we learn "this language" won't we communicate, working and doing business with new people in a different culture and become productive citizens? 

Cant is a sawmill term used to describe the first timber piece that is sawed from the log as "slabs" are cut off. You have heard of the saying, "You can't put a round peg into a square hole?" Sounds like an Odyssey of the Mind (OM) challenge if you ask me. If you think about it all you have to do is cut off the sides of the round peg (log) to make it a nice square and the problem is solved!  Great care needs to be taken when positioning a tapered 10, 12, 14... foot long log on the sawmill to get the largest square Cant from each log. Then the sawyer must start critically thinking of how to turn the log and make the best cuts to get the desired boards from each Cant. More complex than it looks. All done with computers by the "real" lumber companies.  Maybe I'll promote the foreign language thing by adding a technical word or two to each new post. 

It would require a 37.7" circumference log to yield a 12" square Cant.
It took me years to realize that the "check mark" on my Casio calculator was for square root. I am a D- math person and I have the grades to prove it! The only thing I am worse at is spelling.

Some formulas and short cuts that could be used for the calculation -
- Square Cant size wanted * 3.14 = required tree circumference  needed
- Diameter of Log you have * .707 = Maximum square Cant size that can be cut from this log
- Square Cant size needed * 1.414 = Diameter of log to select

Puzzler - Calculate the total number of Bd ft of wood (not just the Cant)  in a log 8" in diameter and 10' long?

Tech Word - Wane


  1. 41.9 board feet!

    And here is how you do it using google.^2+*+pi+*+10+ft)+in+board+feet

  2. 41.9 board feet!

    And here is how you do it using google.