The current Canadian Lumber Properties (LP) program was established to support multi-year research on topics judged by the industry to be critical to the safe and viable use of Canadian dimension lumber in structural applications. This program, in combination with the National Lumber Grades Authority’s grading rules and the accredited third party grading agencies, form the backbone of the Canadian lumber quality system. This system enables Canadian lumber producers to grade and ship Canadian lumber for use in North American and overseas structural building applications.
When initiated in 2005, the program focussed on five areas. The effort is now focussed on three areas: 1) maintenance of existing lumber design values by means of an ongoing lumber properties monitoring program; 2) working with the US/Canada task group established to guide the development of standard procedures published in ASTM D1990 and used in the establishment of lumber design values; and 3) liaison with university-based research groups to leverage research suitable for addressing longer-term research needs in the area of lumber properties.
In 2010/11, the ongoing monitoring program was initiated for SPF. This follows the 2-year pilot monitoring program, which was also carried out on SPF. Due to the late start, no testing was carried out this year. The start-up of the program was timely because in August 2010, the American Lumber Standard Committee (ALSC) directed the Lumber Properties Task Group (TG) to draft mandatory lumber monitoring procedures for implementation in ASTM D1990. Work done to date on the Pilot study and previous monitoring studies well positioned the FPInnovations, CWC and the NLGA to participate in the TG discussion.
Planned work with the TG and the US Forest Products Laboratory, Madison (USFPL) on new species grouping procedures for ASTM D1990 was suspended. The TG recommended that the work continue under ASTM as opposed to under the TG. Although next steps were discussed with the USFPL, these have been put on hold until the work on implementing lumber monitoring procedures in ASTM D1990 is substantially complete.
A new study to examine the application of machine grading to sawn timbers was initiated under this program. The study, if successful, will lead to a detailed study plan for developing new design values for timbers based on a hybrid “machine” and “output” controlled approach. The information would also be used as a basis for a new NLGA Special Products Standard.
Finally, funding for the second year of the NSERC Collaborative Research and Development (CRD) grant for the UBC/SFU Forest Products Stochastic Modelling Group was approved. This has permitted some of the longer term lumber properties issues to be presented as topics for Graduate Research Assistantships for the summer of 2011, leading potentially to MSc or PhD studies in the fall.