A log grader is a person who works in the logging industry. His primary responsibilities are to inspect the logs for imperfections and signs of rot or other decay. He will then make a determination about the marketable value of the wood as well as the most appropriate markets for that wood. While it is not necessary to obtain any particular level of education to become a log grader, one's chances of finding employment in the field are greatly improved if he has completed a high school education. Some graders even take part in a college program or certificate.
The job of a log grader starts with an inspection of the logs taken into a yard. He may also work at sawmills or other logging locations. Once on site, the log grader may sort through many logs and even physically move them into separate piles according to grade. Lower-grade wood will be grouped together so it can be sold to certain markets, while higher-grade wood will be sorted and transported to other markets. High-grade wood is used for making furniture, musical instruments, and even some types of veneers, while lower-grade wood might be used for framing buildings and other applications in which the wood will not be visible.
The log grader may also be responsible for transporting the logs to other locations or loading and unloading trucks. The grader will need to learn how to use heavy machinery safely and efficiently. Before transport, the log grader will often weigh the load to find out how much wood is going to certain locations; he will also make notes as to the quality of the wood, any imperfections present in the wood, and any necessary actions that need to be taken before the wood can be sold.
While other members of a logging team may perform some of these tasks, a log grader may also participate in the process of cutting felled trees to proper lengths and skidding them out of the woods. This process can be difficult and dangerous, so the grader will need to undergo on the job training to ensure he can work safely and efficiently in such environments. He must be able to communicate with other team members to ensure logs are cut and moved properly and all members of the team are safe during the cutting and hauling process. Like other members of the team, he must wear appropriate safety equipment throughout the process.