Timber’s term of the Week: Green Chain

Green Chain


The assembly line where (primarily) men pull green lumber off the conveyor and stack into piles for drying. Each puller will have a given size and quality assigned to him for removal from the green chain. The work is physically demanding because green lumber weighs much more than the dried version.

According to US Forest Service (1919) Technical Note B15 Average weights of various species of wood, a cubic foot of conifer (pines, firs, larches, cedars, etc.) will weigh between 25-55 pounds. An 8 foot 2×4 contains around 5 cubic-feet. There are 7.48 gallons per cubic-foot. So an 8 foot 2×4 could hold 35 gallons. If the two by four is only one-quarter water, thats about seventy pounds (plus the weight of the wood). This puts an 8 foot 2″x4″ piece of wood between 125 and 275 pounds.

I put in a full day pulling green chain.

See a mill and real green chain here:

The Green Chain is also the name of a Canadian movie. I love the tag line and wished I’d used it first, “Nothing is ever clear cut.”


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