Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Shmulsky, Rubin

Committee Member

Borazjani, Abdolhamid

Committee Member

Montague, Iris B.

Committee Member

Hunt, Kevin M.

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

MSU Only Indefinitely

Document Type

Dissertation - Campus Access Only


Forest Resources

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Forest Resources


Department of Sustainable Bioproducts


In or around 2010, a nationwide reevaluation of the allowable properties for southern pine dimension lumber was initiated. This led to a 2013 reduction in the design values of visually graded southern pine dimension lumber and a resulting decrease in its commercial and utility value. This change compelled researchers and industry professionals to ponder what could be done to shore up the value of solid-sawn southern pine products going forward and potentially increase design values if appropriate. In pursuit of this question, this dissertation looks closely at three areas: 1) the possibility this reduction in mechanical performance is not merely limited to southern pine structural lumber but can also be observed in other solid-sawn softwood products and species, 2) flaws that might exist in commonly utilized statistical models for estimating allowable properties in lumber, and 3) the feasibility of using existing technologies to begin to compensate for the economic and/or utility losses attributed to the recent reduction in design values. This work is comprised of an introduction, a conclusion, and three independent content chapters utilizing a variety of statistical techniques to investigate whether strength and stiffness reduction might also be occurring in southern pine (and Douglasir) utility crossarms, evaluate the propriety of using a Weibull distribution model for estimating allowable properties in dimension lumber, and gauge the suitability of nondestructive testing methods for potentially identifying high-value premium grades in solid-sawn softwood products.