Western Juniper Composites

Development of Composites from Western Juniper Residues

Presentation slides from 3/18/2020 webinar

Significant work has been done to foster market development for solid wood products from western juniper.  For example, engineers require published design values for a species before they can specify this species in a structure.  These design values have now been developed for western juniper.  However, profitability of sawmills often hinges on their ability to achieve ‘full utilization’ of their resource.  That is, viable markets are needed for solid wood as well as residues like edgings and trim ends (material removed in trimming a board to width and length, respectively), slabs (half-round shapes produced as logs are first sawn from round shapes into squares), sawdust, and shavings.  There are however, still quite limited market opportunities for such residues from western juniper.  Common residues and their current market options are shown below.  

Explored in this project



Current Market(s)



From outer diameter of tree, predominantly sapwood with bark




Generated as boards with rough edges are trimmed to width; heartwood and sapwood, some bark

Often burned as fuel at sawmills


Peeler shavings – with bark


Garden mulch


Peeler shavings – without bark

Produced by pole peeler, primarily sapwood

Can be sold to particleboard mills



Includes sapwood, hardwood, and some bark

Note: the geometry of these particles varies with the type of saw used



Planer shavings

Sap heart

Very limited production (from secondary manufacturers using juniper)



Generally left in the forest when the trees are harvested


No (perhaps in phase 2?)


Generally left in the forest when the trees are harvested

Essential oil

The primary objectives for this phase of the project were to develop and test the material properties of prototype panels (conventional particleboard and strandboard) from a variety of western juniper residues, i.e., those noted in column 1 of the table. 

This first phase of the project will involve completion of 2 tasks:

  1. Manufacture and testing of properties of particleboard from juniper sawdust; comparison of juniper panels with those produced using materials (Douglas-fir) used by the Arauco particleboard mill in Albany, OR
    • Pilot test for feasibility of producing particleboard on a lab-scale hot press at OSU; analysis of sawdust particle geometry and evaluation of mechanical and physical properties of test panels
    • Based on results of part a, production of panels with varying levels of wax, with a custom particle size classification, and evaluation of mechanical and physical properties
  2. Strandboard – manufacture and testing of properties of strandboard (similar to OSB, but without attempts to orient the strands) from strands produced by slicing juniper slabs and edgings.  Panels were compared to those produced using commercially available aspen strands, the species commonly used to produce OSB in the Lake States region of North America

Results of these efforts will be reported on this website as they become available.





This project is being managed by Sustainable Northwest via funding received as a Business Oregon High Impact Opportunities Project (HIOPs).