Why Do We Choose Douglas Fir?

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Douglas fir is our go-to material because of its ability to withstand the harshest elements, its strength and durability and its wonderful workability. We rely on these qualities to ensure that our outdoor structures and timber frames are the strongest and most durable that they can be; adding peace of mind to each project we work on. 


We work primarily with No.1 grade, rough Sawn, Free of Heart Centre Douglas fir. What this means, is that the timbers we provide on each and every job are of the highest quality. Having zero heartwood within the dimensions of each piece, and the rough texture on its faces, the timbers absorb our stain better, which ensures each piece is best protected against the elements.


Not only do we focus on its inherent qualities for construction, but we also look to Douglas fir for its production and sustainability. We stand firm in knowing that we have to be conscious in today’s climate, and to use a sustainable, high-yielding product from a forestry managed plantation is the first step in doing so. 


Working with Douglas Fir


Our shop loves the ease of workability when it comes to Douglas fir. From plantation to our sawhorses, it is predictable and seamless. Coming from Western Canada, and its experienced mills, our lead times on supply can be narrowed down to a small window - and knowing how high-yielding it is, we know stock will always be on hand. 


With each shipment, we unload and separate it, storing our most common dimensions inside. This allows our crew in the shop to always be working dry timbers for our posts, beams, rafters and braces. With dry timbers, the crew will get more accurate markings, easier cuts and a better finished product during prefabrication. 


Once each piece is cut, we will sand and - in most cases - stain it. Douglas fir has a beautifully rich grain that is accentuated once we sand it, and even more so once stained. The wood itself accepts our oil-based stain easily, which adds to the durability and weather-resistant qualities of the species. 



Douglas Fir as a Building Material


Douglas fir is known for being an incredibly resilient softwood species. It holds one of the highest strength-to-weight ratios, and is dimensionally stable - which means that as it dries, it is less likely to warp or shrink. These qualities have seen Douglas fir become the main choice for architects and engineers who are looking for load-bearing lumber. 


Architects and engineers turn to Douglas fir because of the fact that it has high grades in tension parallel-to-grain, horizontal shear and compression. This allows it to be incorporated in large, clear-span trusses or structures that can be used for a multitude of different projects that would call for them.


Douglas Fir’s Sustainability


Douglas fir as a species is used extensively in forestry management practices as a plantation tree for softwood timber. Globally, it is one of the highest yielding timber producers, and in North America, it is the go-to. Through forestry management, and decades of sustainable practice, dramatic increases in the yield have been seen. Plantation farming has created an easy, renewable and environmentally conscious way of harvesting timber that has surpassed that of logging old growth forests. Sustainable timber is something that is important to us here in the shop.  Keep your eyes peeled for a writeup on our sustainable efforts made here in the shop!


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Matt Whittemore
Name: Matt Whittemore
Posts: 3
Last Post: April 22, 2024