lumber, term for timber that has been cut into boards for use as a building material. The major steps in producing lumber involve logging (the felling and preparation of timber for shipment to sawmills), sawing the logs into boards, grading the boards according to defects and intended use, drying, and finishing the rough boards into smoother products. Among the leading lumber-producing countries in the world are Russia and the United States, which together produce over 50% of the world's lumber supply. In the United States, Maine early took the lead in production, but as the industry spread the forests of the West acquired increasing importance and Oregon, Washington, and California became leading producers. More recently, the forests of the S United States have taken over a large share of lumber production. Lumbering was one of the first industries in North America—its first exports were ship timbers. Logging was a frontier industry, the work being rough, dangerous, and difficult. Romantic, exaggerated stories and legends of the feats of the lumberjack are a colorful chapter in U.S. folklore. For lumber cuts and preparations, see wood.
See N. C. Brown, Lumber (2d ed. 1958); R. E. Pike, Tall Trees, Tough Men (1967); L. Blanchard, The Lumberjack Frontier (1969).