Quality, reliability and the lowest possible cost
We supply utilities throughout North America with the highest quality poles and crossarms. We deliver to your site on time. And we work to keep costs low.
Although there are a large number of species used for poles, McFarland Cascade supplies four which we believe to be the best: coastal douglas fir, southern yellow pine, western cedar and pinus sylvestris. Each has unique characteristics:
Coastal Douglas Fir:
Grown primarily in the northwest section of the United States, it is widespread, abundant, and globally secure. Coastal Douglas fir is remarkably knot free, strong and light. It is considered to be one of the best known softwood timbers. Readily available in lengths from 20 - 130 feet, sapwood is easily treated. Some utilities gain additional penetration of the preservative by requiring penetration enhancements, such as through boring, deep incising, or radial drilling. Coastal Douglas fir is pressure treated.
Grown in the Scandinavian countries of Finland and Sweden, it exhibits exceptional strength properties; it is also straight and has very few knots; distribution size poles (25’ - 45’) are the most common; poles grown in Sweden and Finland exhibit strength values similar to coastal Douglas fir and southern yellow pine.
Southern Yellow Pine:
Grown in southeast section of the United States; consists of shortleaf, longleaf, slash, and loblolly pine (all have similar strength and characteristics); grows up to 100 feet in height, but poles of this species are predominantly distribution size (25’ to 55’); has thick sapwood; and is easily treatable once it is dry.
A premium pole species; grown in the Pacific Northwest and Canada; available in lengths from 20 - 110 feet; light weight; thin sapwood; heartwood naturally resistant to decay; may be pressure or thermal treated, either full length or butt; easy to climb.
Pole & Crossarm Information
Coastal Douglas Fir
Southern Yellow Pine
Coastal Douglas Fir
Treated .45 Penta
Treated .60 Penta
Southern Yellow Pine
Treated .45# Penta SYP
Butt Treated 1.0 Penta
Full Length Treated 1.0 Penta
Full Length Treated .60 CCA
Attention to quality control is everyone’s job. We take it very personally.
In every location, at every step of every process, we use only our own employees, systems and materials so we can ensure the quality and control the cost.
- We maintain on-site laboratory facilities to ensure accuracy.
- We play a leadership role in the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) Wood Pole Committee.
- We’re long-time members of the AWPA (American Wood Preservers' Association) Technical Committee.
- We operate an approved JAS (Japanese Agricultural Standard) facility.
- We work in accordance with Rural Utility System WQC plant certification.
- Our production is inspected by independent agencies under the AWPB quality control program, including ALSC.
- Statistical quality control procedures are in place, with many of the disciplines demonstrated in ISO 9000.
Incising is the perforating of the pole with small knives or pegs to open up avenues of penetration to insure uniform and adequate preservative distribution. In cedar, this is done to a depth of 3/4” to 1” in the area of the ground line. Typically the area of incising is:
- One foot above and two feet below the ground line for distribution poles; and
- Two above and four feet below the ground line for transmission poles.
Incising cedar poles at the ground line ensures a full-cell treatment in this crucial area where decay and insect attack are most likely to occur. Above the ground line, a relatively superficial treatment is adequate to ensure against development of sapwood decay, which while not a particular concern to long service life, can constitute a hazard to line personnel using gaffs to climb poles.
In fir, two types of incising are of benefit: full-length and ground line. Fir heartwood is not decay resistant as is cedar and is difficult to penetrate with preservative. Decay can find its way into checks, which develop in the above ground portions of the pole after treatment. For this reason, thorough seasoning is advisable so that the pole will have all checks well developed at the time of treatment and all exposed surfaces are thoroughly treated. As fir checks in an uneven fashion, a well-seasoned pole may evidence wide (1/2” - 1”) checks, which can constitute a climbing hazard. If poles are full-length incised to a depth of approximately 5/8” at the time of peeling, numerous smaller checks will be formed rather than a few large ones. This incising must be done while the pole is still “green,” usually at the peeler. McFarland Cascade routinely full-length incises all transmission poles at the peeler.
Often the ground line area of the fir poles is deep incised (2-1/2” to 4-1/2”) to insure additional preservative penetration in this crucial area. Properly designed incising teeth are required to prevent splintering the wood.
Radial Drilling: A boring pattern of small diameter (5/16”) holes in the ground line area to the same depth and in the same pattern as the incising teeth will accomplish the same result as deep incising; however, drilling does remove wood fiber while incising does not.
Through boring is a final enhancement procedure required by some utilities. This involves drilling small holes (7/16”) completely through the pole at the groundline area tangent to the annual rings of the pole. Properly done, complete penetration of the bored cross section is achieved and little possibility of decay establishment exists at this point. Although loss of fiber is experienced, many utilities believe that the benefits of the additional preservative penetration at the ground line outweigh the possible loss of strength.